Friday, March 3, 2017

Achin' because of Achan

I gotta tell you, I am so glad we live under the economy of grace and not under the law! Had I lived in Old Testament times, by now I would have been stoned, ran through with a sword, hanged on a tree until evening and had my eyes poked out. And that's all before dinner. The standards were exacting, no room for error.
Thank God for grace!

So here's the end of the trail for Achan...

Joshua 7:18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. 20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: 21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. 22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. 23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. 24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger.

We are pretty hard on Achan, and rightfully so. His selfishness and disobedience put millions of lives at risk. Indeed, several innocent men died because of his actions. Israel had lost God's favor because of this one heinous act.

Before we are too hard on him, let's think about his mindset. He had been in the wilderness for decades. He had only known one set of clothing, one pair of sandals. The goodly Babylonish garment was quite the temptation. Imagine having to wear one tattered outfit everyday and then getting the chance to snag an Armani suit!

And then he laid eyes on the gold and silver, multiplied thousand of dollars worth of it. Everyone was about to get a new start in the promised land. He must have considered how he could set up shop with a nice home, a good business and some influence being this flush with cash. After all, the wilderness was nothing but deprivation for him and his family.

And so, he saw, he was tempted, he took, he sinned, and he died.

We gotta confess, most have justified a lot of bad behavior in their lives. We have felt cheated, denied, deprived. We've been tempted to bend truth, enrich our coffers in less than ethical ways, cover up sin, get ahead by harming others, and lust after loot.

For these selfish sins, Christ gave Himself. He paid a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay.

Because of our guilt, we deserve to be dragged to Achor's valley, stoned with stones and have a heap of rocks piled upon us. But Jesus' life was forfeited so we could go free to enjoy the Promised Land by the righteousness of our Savior.

Sin destroys. Jesus heals.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

When I see the blood

When the children of Israel were about to exit Egypt, it was the blood placed on the doorpost and the lintel of believers that's saved that household from destruction.

 And when the Jews entered into the Promised Land, it was a red cord hanging from the window of Rahab the Harlot that kept her household from being destroyed.

Both of these instances signify to us the importance of the blood of Christ covering the believer. When the Judgment of God Falls, it is the blood of which delivers us from destruction.

It is as the song writer said, Christ Our Redeemer died on the cross, died for the sinner, paid all his due. Sprinkle your soul with the blood of the Lamb, and I will pass, will pass over you. When I see the blood, when I see the blood, when I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Moses, A life Amazing.

Born and raised in Egypt, Moses lived 80 years in the desert and the wilderness, and ultimately died on a mountain in Moab.
He is considered the greatest Jewish prophet, but not technically a prophet.
He is the only person ever who spoke to God face to face.
Was Moses perfect? No! He had an anger control problem, yet he was as meek as can be. He had a speech impediment, he was a stutterer, yet he was a spokesman to millions.
It is also obvious he possessed feelings of inadequacy.
At the end of his 120 very unique years, he claimed he could no longer go out and come in, but God said his natural force was not abated.
And then there is Deut 34, the account of his passing. Did Moses write his own epitaph?

Following is what his life teaches us, or, Moses's other top ten:
1. God is sovereign. (Seen in his birth, his mother as his wet nurse, his life in the palace.)
2. God can use us in spite of our inadequacy. (Anger, speech impediment)
3. God can make leaders out of introverts.
4. Mistakes CAN be fatal, but God still wants to use us. (Striking the rock, rather than speaking to it).
5. Intercessory prayer is extremely effective. (If not for Moses repeatedly falling on his face on behalf of Israel, there would be no Israel).
6. God's promises are sure, even if it takes 40 years, or 1500 years. (Moses appeared with Elijah and Jesus on a mountain IN the Promised Land).
7. Being alone in a desert place might not be a bad thing. It's easier for God to get our attention in obscurity. (The burning bush).
8. People will miserably fail you, but you have to keep on serving the God Who will never fail you.
9. God wants to use that which you have even though it may seem inconsequential (Moses's rod, Samson's jawbone of a donkey, etc).
10. You and God are a majority.

PS. God always recompenses His servant.

Moses...Great man, great example, great servant of a great God.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Blessings of Delayed Gratification - Or, God Isn't Done Yet.


We are prone to be pretty demanding of God. I'm like many people, when I have decided what I want or perceived what I need, I want it sooner, rather than later. Today would be okay, thank you!

Of the many things I lack, three are stark: 1. Judgment. 2. Timing. 3. Patience.

I am not always afforded a survey of the big picture. Life comes to me in pieces rather than the whole lump. And so I try to assemble my life's puzzle without ever looking at the finished picture on the puzzle box.

That's where trust comes in. Though I might attempt to imagine how my finished project ought to look, God, no doubt, has a much better end for me in mind. To bring me to that end, I will experience a myriad of agenda adjustments.

Though this brings me a tremendous amount of frustration, especially when my truster is not functioning properly, God's eyes are not on my comfort, but on the completed me.

Look, what's a roller coaster with out peaks and valleys and loop-de-loops? Nothing more than a kiddie ride.

And what is a good novel or a movie without hopes and dreams and plans, then hopes dashed, dreams crushed and plans averted, then "they lived happily ever after?"

And what is life without crashing and crushing and dashing, followed by unspeakable glory?

So, look what happens to the great Moses. He is called to lead a few million whining, petulant adolescents out of Egypt and toward the land flowing with milk and honey.

Along the way there are dozens of setbacks. The desert never seems to cooperate with an easy passage to the Promised land. Then there are the uncooperative land owners, the murmurings of the mixed multitude, the rebellion of siblings and others, the idolatry of the calf-worshipers, and oh, the list goes on.

"Why can't we just take Highway 40 north out of Cairo straight to Jericho with the wind at our backs and set up shop in Canaan next week?"

That's how a 21st century American would expect things to transpire. Expect? No, demand!

I believe the children of Israel had similar expectations. They thought it would be easy. No doubt, Moses hadn't expected a hundred and fifty mile journey to take a third of his life.

And then we read Deuteronomy 4:22 "But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land."

What a punch to the gut!

You mean he had to face down the most powerful despot on earth, 10 times, pick up a cobra by the tail, cross through the ocean, dragging millions with him - plus cattle, water everybody from a rock, feed them all with angel food flakes, cure them from serpent bites, act as their judge and/or psychologist from sunup til past dark everyday, train them in warfare, plead with God not to fry the entire lot to a crisp, lead them to the very brink of the Promised Land... finally, he gets to view the panorama of the land from Mt. Pisgah, and then this!!! "Moses, thanks for all your hard work, but you ain't going in because you threw that one hissy fit."

It just seems all so...unfair.

But not every piece of the puzzle is in place yet. Remember, people like me and Moses have difficulty with judgment, timing and patience. But God sees the whole roller coaster. He authors, produces and directs the entire flick.

Let's fast forward 1500 years to another mountain, this one inside the Promised Land that is now Israel. This is one of the peaks Moses had seen on the distant horizon as he surveyed the land from Pisgah. He had longed to step foot on this mountain. In his mind, he should have victoriously led Israel to the foot of a mount like this and declared victorious completion of a finished task. Here, the puzzle would be complete. But God had a dramatic twist to the plot that culminated in unimaginable glory, so fantastic that the disciples of Jesus fell to their faces, unable to even fathom the glory.

We read about the completion of the puzzle, the end of the movie, the pulling in of the roller coaster to the station, and the perfection of God's judgment, timing and patience in Matthew 17.

1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

Well, look who finally made it I to the Promised land! And with what glory?


1. Moses is not 120 years old, but in a glorified, youthful body.


2. His seemingly dashed hopes and dreams and agendas are now met in a way that 1000 times exceed any expectations he could have ever had.


3. He's not savoring the fulfilled promise with whiny ingrates, but beside Elijah, venerated by apostles and in the very physical presence of the transfigured Messiah.

How's that for an unexpected ending that leaves you going home more than satisfied? 

Can I clue you in on something pretty special? Often, we are exasperated that our expectations are frustrated. Our gratification is simply being delayed for a much better ending that we never could have expected. 

Following is a promise in which God assures us He isn't through yet.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

Trust, my friend. Have faith in He who has already written your life's story, designed your roller coaster and prepared your Promised Land.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I am for the wall - posted 11/2015

I AM For the WALL!!! 

Originally posted 11/2015

Trump is right. There needs to be a wall.

It needs to be high and solid and impenetrable. Only citizens should be allowed in. In fact, I would go as far as to say, only Christians should be allowed. If your name isn’t on the registry, you don’t get in. Don’t get me wrong, if you are willing to get your name in the books, speak the language, leave your lies and wickedness outside the gates, you can enter. But again, let me be clear, if you are a terrorist, a druggie, a player, you don’t get in! If you are flashing the horns at the rock concerts or don’t know how to tell the truth, forget about it, you will be left outside the wall.

Additionally, when you get in through the gates, you need to be honoring God and giving praise to Him, or you are not welcome.

By the way, Mexico is off the hook. They can’t afford to build this wall. There’s not enough tacos in Tijuana or tortillas in Torreon to pay for this border fence.

Rev 21:10  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11  Having the glory of God: and her lightwas like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12  And had a wall great and high, andhad twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13  On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. 14  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15  And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16  And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17  And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and fortyand four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. 18  And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. 19  And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20  The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. 21  And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city waspure gold, as it were transparent glass. 22  And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23  And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26  And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neitherwhatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.


Rev 22:14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sorry Carcasses

Read Numbers 14;27-29

What is the saddest fate for any believer? There are many sad fates:
*No real relationship with Christ
*Life of disobedience
*No fruit produced
*Turning away from the Lord

But the saddest is most tragic, because of all that the Lord had intended for the believer - the promised land which flows with abundance, will never be reached in this life. 

It happened to Moses, to Miriam, to Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Korah, to a couple of million others. They didn't make the promised land.

Num 14:29 "your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness"

The Promised Land is the life of Victory, rather that vagabond, abundance, rather than manna, rest rather than deprivation, roots rather than tents. 

The Promised Land is not just heaven, but heaven here. 

It includes the life of the Spirit, of the fruitful vine and branches, and living under grace rather than the shadow of Sinai's law. 

Why didn't they make it? 

They concerned themselves with Egypt. They looked in the rearview, rather than the windshield. They longed for leeks, when God had grapes. They opted for onions, when God had milk and honey. They glorified their slavery of the past rather than their mastery of the future. 

In the face of difficulty, they murmured. When were made to wait, they got impatient. When their leader tarried on the mountain, they crafted an idol. At the times they should have worshiped, they danced like heathen. 

God was evident to them in the cloud and fire, yet they said, "what has He done for us lately?" (Besides give us air to breathe, food to eat, long lasting shoes and clothes, miracle after miracle, a meek and humble capable, caring and sacrificing leader)

And finally, when on the cusp of the Promised Land, when evidence of God's promise was brought to them, they believed an evil report and refused God's best! 

So their carcasses all dropped in the wilderness over the next three and a half decades where their corpses were eaten by jackals and buzzards and bugs. They could rather have chosen to obey God and praise Him when the temptation was to blame Him. 

Indeed, the saddest fate of any believer is to get to Kadesh Barnea, within shouting distance of Beulah Land, and opt to wander the rest of your days and die in the desert, rather than crossing into Canaan. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Delegate!

Exodus 18:14 And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?

Notice the phrasing. "What he did to the people." And "what are you doing to the people?"
In other words, your being a workaholic and taking everything on your shoulders isn't doing these people any favors! You are doing more harm than good to these people.

*You are diminishing your own abilities to minister to them. You are wearing yourself out.
*Many of them are capable of doing some of this work, but you are robbing them of the blessing of serving.
*You are training them to just let you do it.

In short, delegate dude!