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Change: Joshua 1;1-18

Mark Twain is quoted as saying “The only person who likes change is a wet baby.”  Someone else said “Change is movement and movement means friction.”  The ‘rub’ in chosen or unexpected change is that it usually involves loss and loss is difficult.  Without change there is not spiritual growth.  The Bible is a long story of change and bears plenty of wisdom on how to handle it.  When the Lord told Joshua to lead the people into the promise land, he gave these instructions.  Focus on the future and not on the past.  God, who never changes, promises to always be with them.  God en-courages us and commands us to be strong.  No matter how difficult the change, be a person of the Word willing to obey all of it.  When possible, be ready for the change that is coming.  Don’t go it alone, help the one next to you as you navigate unchartered waters and they will in turn help you.



Recognizing the time of His coming

When Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey he was fulfilling a prophetic word spoken 500 years ealier “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!  See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  His kingship speaks of position.  His righteousness speaks of His character.  Salvation speaks of his purpose and gentle speaks of the attitude of His heart.  Are you subject to this King?  Do you reflect the same character of righteousness?  Are you a messenger of the gospel?  Do you display the necessary attitude of heart….humility?  He is calling you to be like Him!



Failure’s Answer

Mark 9:14-31

Matthew, Mark and Luke contain the story of the young boy possessed by a demon.  Can you imagine being a parent of a boy that could not hear or speak, would go into convulsions, clench his teeth, foam at the mouth, go rigid into seizures, be in constant danger of death by being thrown into the fire or into the water to drown?  Imagine trying to shop, attend functions or even trying to get a good night sleep.  The disciples had been asked by the desperate father but failed to set the boy free.  Jesus arrived on the scene, learned what had taken place, shared his disappointment, called the boy to himself, commanded the spirit to leave and never return and gave the child back to his father.  In a private moment the disciples, who had previously been successful, asked “Why couldn’t we cast it out?”  Jesus answered that this type of exorcism required faith maintained in an attitude of prayer.  Those who want the Lord to work powerfully through them must ever be in communion with the Source through prayer.  Do you?  Will you?



Pathway to power: Mt. 7:13-28

Right after Jesus taught his series on the beatitudes, he healed a man of leprosy.  The gospel is to be expressed both with words and with power.  Jesus declared and demonstrated the Kingdom of God while on earth.   He expected the same for his disciples.  Jesus promised “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12-13  We are not meant to chase after signs and wonders.  They are supposed to follow us in confirming God’s Word.  Why is it that the church today lack in the demonstrations of the Spirit?  If we take a closer look at chapters 5 thru 7 you will find the overriding theme is one of humility.  Jesus was most humble and his Father chose to exalt Him.  We may want the power but how many of us want the necessary quality of true humility to demonstrate that power?



The “sex talk”

God outlines very specific sexual boundaries in Leviticus 18 and the punishments for crossing those lines in Leviticus 20.  God’s will is that sexual pleasure would be contained between one man and one women bound in a covenantal marriage for life.  Anything outside of that leads to death.  We are presently living in an over-sexualized society and the brokenness reveals itself in the daily news.  The latest tragedy involves a Doctor Nasser who molested over 250 young girls in the past.  In Proverb 5, Solomon gave his son wise counsel in this crucial area of life.  Stay as far away from the adulteress women and I would add, any questionable pop-ups on your computer, any suggestive pictures, any flirting with an office worker, etc.  His second advise to his son was to fully enjoy sexual intimacy with his wife and remain captivated by her alone.  Perhaps the best of all advise was to remind his son that the Lord’s watchful eyes are always upon him and to make choices in keeping with His will.  The world is looking for love in all the wrong places.  As Christians, let’s lead in this pathway of joy and be prepared to share why the Lord’s ways bring life.



The Basis of Every Good Relationship

Ecc.3:9-12 speaks of how two are better than one and how a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  The author is talking about relationships and ties in (pardon the pun) the idea of a braided three-strand cord.  Science proves that if two strands can each carry ten pounds before breaking, they will carry more than twenty pounds together.  In other words the math works in their favor.  Two oxen working together in unison will far outpull their combined individual capacity.  Relationships are crucial to the Kingdom and the only way to have great relationships with others is to have a very tightly fitted relationship with the Lord Jesus.  You may know doctrinally that God loves you but ask the question “How are things, really, between you and me Lord?” and let him love you more before you try it on anyone else.



Anticipation

With the Christmas season, comes much anticipation.  People expect to be with family, travel out, give and receive gifts, having meals together and a host of other things.  The Jewish nation had long anticipated the arrival of a Messiah because they had received over 300 prophetic messages pointing to his first coming.  Micah 5:8 speaks of the ‘watchtower of the flock’ and had been interpreted by one rabbi as “the place where king Messiah will reveal Himself at the end of days.”  Interestingly, under the tower Migdal Eder which was located between Bethlehem and Jerusalem was the special birthing place of paschal lambs to be sacrificed under the old covenant.  When these lambs were birthed, they would be swaddled in cloths and placed in a manger to constrain them until “they settled down” so that they would not bruise or harm themselves to be “without defect” as the law required.  Amazingly, Jesus was birthed, swaddled and placed in that manger as the Lamb of God without defect.  When the shepherds received the news of Jesus being born, they would have known exactly where to find him as this location was well known them.  The same God that attends to such fine details does nothing less for you and me!  Anticipate God’s love to be expressed towards you today.



The Seeing Go Blind -The Blind See

John chapter 9 is a about a man who was blind from birth healed to see on a Sabbath day.  The pharisees question him but never connect the dots that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.  Part of the messianic expectation was that deaf ears would hear and blind eyes would see (Is. 29:18, 35:5, 42:6-7) yet that escaped the Jewish leadership.  On the other hand, take a look at the progression of faith of the healed man ousted from the temple.   He starts in vs. 11 by stating his name ‘Jesus’, upon further questioning, declares him a  prophet, piecing more together he says in vs. 33 ‘one from God’, then Jesus reveals himself as ‘Son of God’, and finally he responds in vs 38 ‘I believe and worships’.  Lord, we give you our stubborn hearts.  Help us to see You today!



Standing Up In A Fallen World

John 8:1-59 reveals the growing animosity towards Jesus.  It starts with Jewish leaders wanting to trap Jesus and ready to stone an unnamed women who had been caught in adultery.  It ends with Jesus’s ‘I AM’ declaration and Jewish leaders picking up rocks to stone him.  This chapter gives us insight on what we should stand for in this present day.  Read the texts and see if you agree. We need to stand up against sin. (vs. 12-30)  We need to stand up and walk the talk. (vs. 31-32)  We need to stand up against false securities. (vs. 33-41).  We need to stand up for the truth. (vs. 42-47)    We need to stand up for Jesus. (vs. 48-59)



Follow Jesus’ Thankfulness

Jesus lived a life of thankfulness and, as followers, so should we.  There are four recorded events in which he gave thanks to the Father.  They are found in Mt. 16:11, 23, 15:36 where he fed the five thousand and the four thousand in Jn. 11:41 before raising Lazarus from the dead, in Lk 10:21 for revealing truths to “babes’ and in Lk. 22:17-19 at the last supper.  The first was for provision, the second for answered prayer and miracles, the third for revelation and wisdom, and the fourth was for his death that would provide salvation, healing and deliverance.  How about spending some time today recounting and thanking God specifically in those four areas He has touched your life in this year.