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Thursday, July 13, 2017

When I am weak, I am strong (2Co 12:9)

You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots. Joshua 11:6

In the military campaign against the Northern Kings prior to announcing the news to deliver the victory over them, the Lord issued an instruction to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.

The Lord's instruction brings up the question: "Why did the Lord ask them to get rid of these valuable items? Like aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, or Rockwell B-1 Lancer, they might be needed to defeat enemies in military campaigns in the days to come. Yet why did the Lord issue such an instruction?"

Perhaps Joshua understood the reason, and obeyed: the Lord did not want his people to fight the battle with their own means like horses or chariots, but rather by relying on Him who is the Lord. Had they kept the horses and chariots they would be tempted to use them and indeed win the wars and thereby attribute success to them. The end result will be losing the Lord. Losing (the faith in) the Lord is losing all (battles, wars, raging inside as well as outside, and your life) all the time. By the same token, living by faith in the Lord (or fighting the battles with and through the Lord) is the only way to win victories over all enemies, enemies inside, enemies outside, all the time!

When Jesus came to the Promised Land he himself set the example (and perfected the way for all to see and) win. He lived by faith in the Father who sent Him. Even while the enemies were driving nails to his limbs he still fought with His faith in the Father who had sent him. And lo and behold. He rose again, and thereby came to be seated at the right hand of the Father, becoming the Judge, King of kings!

He is still living and reigning, fighting the battles in and through those who put trust in Him (and His way).

And as one puts trust in Him and wages battles He works with his child so his child would be in complete victory, living in peace and joy.

The Lord's instruction to hamstring horses and burn down chariots points to fulfilling the ultimate purpose of the Lord, that is, for God the Father who sent the Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, to be all (all means literally 'all' that are good for life, not any life but true life, that is truly fulfilling) in all (all referring to all of his creation - even your pets and my pets [Nacho dog, Etta dog, Ebony, five kittens...]). For this reason King David said on his Psalm:"Kiss the son or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction for his wrath will flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him." Psalm 2:12

Similarly Solomon says: "I have seen something else under the sun: the race is not to the swift or battle to the strong." Ecc 9:11 (Cf. Gal 6:14)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Becoming More Than Human

* Human, too human

Watch a video clip - one of the BBC series, describing the gradual fall of Friedrich Nietzsche from God/religion to insanity.

* Conflicts everywhere

  - North Korea vs. Trump

     On July 4th this year when the U.S. celebrates freedom from oppression, North Korea still the communist regime sent a firework into the sky, the ICBM, to mock and put down the American spirit. When the newly elected Korean president Moon met Xi, Xi said, "North Korea is our blood brother." The same goes with Russia who still supports N. Korean regime.

Today the Morning Newspaper, Record-search Light, carried a column speaking of the Donald Trump's speech which he made in Poland five days ago.

- Battle/war inside

    The battle between the spirit and flesh goes on inside of all fallen men, just as the Apostle Paul crying out: "Who will save me from this body of sin?" Romans 7:24

    Or just as Rebekah cried out for the pain in her womb while the twin sons, Jacob and Esau doing a wrestling match.

  - Solomon stated the degree of pain well when he said: under three things earth trembles, and the first item on the list is a servant ruling a nation. Here a servant refers to flesh which is supposed to be in service of the boss, that is, the brain ruled by the Spirit of God.

* The same conflict is depicted in the battle of Joshua where Joshua faced with and fought against the five kings of Edom. The battle was so fierce, enemies so many, that the day light was not enough so he cried out, "You sun stand still, moon do not go down". The Lord listened to him so that day is regarded as a special day: A day when the Lord listened to a human being. Joshua 10:14

It is interesting to note that the Lord listened to a 'human' being. He listened to man/Adam, a mere chunk of clay/earth/dust, by letting one of the greatest luminaries, the SUN, so the sun did not go down the whole day, so did the moon! The expression 'human' indicates the Lord supporting according to his will and desire for Adam to rise above his earthen state to the state of a spiritual man created after the image of God.

* Spirit gives life to man; flesh counts for nothing. God is spirit. Edom represents flesh whereas Jacob man, then Israel the spirit. In Joshua it is written: on the day when Joshua fought against the five kings of Edom the Lord also fought for Israel by letting the Sun stand still moon not going down either. The Apostle Peter said that when one repents and turns to the Lord by faith in Him, the Lord gives him the gift of the Holy Spirit, so he would no longer live as a son of first Adam but of the offspring of Jesus the Lord, the second and last Adam. This is the way to rise above the Adamic man to a godly man after the image of the Son of God Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Driving out enemies inside out

In today's daily bread Joshua presented the presence of the living God at the Jordan River to convince 

For the list of the enemies in detail CLICK HERE for the link. 

★ fear of men
★ returning back from pilgrimage
★ pride
★ friendship with world
★ lack of self discipline
★ if you feel good do it/ love of money ★ pollute others with immoral life

The Seven Enemies
of Israel in
the Promised Land

After Joshua became leader the new generation of Israel entered in to the new land of Canaan as our Lord promised. God gave them an important commandment “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you—and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons”. (Deut.7:1-3 NIV)

First we can examine the types of enemies there were in Promised Land. Ancient peoples had a simple approach to their names. They would call people by an obvious trait like their character, tradition or occupations. These seven nations had significant reasons for their names enabling Israel to identify their enemy and find how to beat them (or defeat them) and we can do the same.
Researchers explain the meaning of those nations;Map of the Nations of Canaan

HITTITES - This name means terror. They were giants who brought fear, confusion and discouragement to others. This is our enemy too because as spiritual Israelites we should only fear God and not anything other than God and not man. Proverbs 29:25 (NIV) says “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe”.

GIRGASHITES - The meaning of the word “Girgashite” is as one who returns back from a pilgrimage. Therefore, they are people that go back and are earthly. They build their houses using clay which shows they are not stable in their mind-set. This is our enemy too because we have to be stable in our faith always based on Jesus Christ. In Isaiah 28:16 (ESV), “Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’...”

AMORITES. They were people who were arrogant and boastful in their speech, who were always challenging. They had high self-esteem and this pride led to finding fault in others. This is our enemy too because God is the only judge. So, if we judge others then we will also be arrogant before God. Proverbs 8:13 (NIV) says “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and perverse speech.”

CANAANITES. This name means merchants who humiliate. They were financial giants. The Canaanites were motivated by greed and lust for the accumulation of earthly and material wealth. This is our enemy too as we can’t serve two masters and this world’s possessions are temporary. James 4.4 (NIV) says “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

PERIZZITES. They were people who had separated themselves and lived in unprotected, unwalled villages. They had no discipline and restrictions. This is our enemy because we have to completely surrender ourselves to God’s commandments. Proverbs 25:28 (NIV) says “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”

HIVITES. They claimed to offer a good lifestyle, living by phrases such as “if it feels good do it”, “don’t worry what other people think” and “look out for number one”. They lived a very luxurious life. This is our enemy because our spiritual life is a sacrificial one. 1 Tim.6.10 (NIV) says “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

JEBUSITES. They were people who exploited and polluted others through immoral activities. This is our enemy because our body is a temple of our lord. Matthew 5:27-28 (NIV) says “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

These are The Sort Of Enemies That Were There In Caanan. And they are very similar to the enemies of spiritual Israel faces too.

But the question is, when we are born again by God, why does he let the sinful desires in our flesh remain? The answer is in Judges 3:1-4(NIV) “These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars...(he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience)…They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.” Through these nations He is teaching the Israelites how to attack their enemies, stay healthy and remain obedient.

So He left sinful desire in us to perfect us. In God’s commandment there is no compromise but to attack and kill these sinful desires completely. From Colossians 3:5 (NIV) we can see that we are to “put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry”.

There are many examples in the Bible but one of the best living examples is that of the soldier in the army; after they take a pledge they then keep their body and mind fit and continue to train hard and master the use of their weapons so they can be ready for the battle at any time. They must always be alert to make sure no enemies enter their border and if enemies try to occupy their homeland then they must attack. Even after that they must continue to watch and protect the border until their period of service is over. This is the duty of a soldier in the army. They follow and obey completely their commander in training and in the battlefield.

This is the reason apostle Paul compared us with a good soldier. In 2 Timothy 2.3-4 (NIV) he says “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.” So we have to show the same dedication. We should know to apply all our spiritual weapons to kill our enemies.
James tells us to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jam.4.7 KJV). So the complete unconditional surrender to God is our weapon and strength.
The apostle Peter advises in 1 Pet.1:14-16 (NIV) “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’.” We have to be holy because we are born again not by the perishable seed but by the word of our living holy God.

The Israelites were encouraged in Deuteronomy 20:1-4 (ESV) “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is He who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.”

In our spiritual race towards God’s kingdom, let’s remember the words of the apostle Paul who at the end of his life was able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing”(2 Timothy 4.7-8 NIV).

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Give Me A Sure Sign

In today's daily bread passage (Joshua 2) Rahab asked the spies for a sign saying, "Give me a sure sigh" (that you will save me and my family who are with me).

The spies gave them the sign, that is, a scarlet cord which was to be tied in the window of the house.

This sign is not for Rahab only but also for Joshua to see and save.

And according to the covenant of the blood, she tied it in the window, and Joshua spared her.

When Jesus came he said all scriptures (Moses) speak of him and his gospel (or good news) of salvation, as is visible in the patterns of the salvation through faith in the gospel:

- Joshua son of Nun: Jesus Christ, the son born of virgin Mary
- Jericho: this world where the ruler of this world/air reigns holding a tight grip on its inhabitants
- Rahab (and her family who shared faith with her): a sinner who repented and through faith in the Lord got saved
- Scarlet chord tied in the window: the blood of Jesus
- Oath/Vow/covenant made in blood ("their blood, i.e., the blood of the believer in the house) will be on our head" v. 19): this is the blood of the new covenant Luke 22:20

(Note: Jewish tradition says Rahab was 10 when the Israelite came out of Egypt, so that while running the house of brothel she might have heard the chronology of the work the Lord had done during the forty years of their journey to the Promised Land, affirming the truth of The Apostle Paul saying faith comes through hearing the message. Romans 10:17

Hymn song to sing: Beneath the cross of Jesus

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,-
the shadow of a mighty rock
within a weary land;
a home within a wilderness,
a rest upon the way,
from the burning of the noontide heat
and the burden of the day.

O safe and happy shelter!
O refuge tried and sweet!
O trysting-place where heaven's love
and heaven's justice meet!
As to the holy patriarch
that wondrous dream was given,
so seems my Savior's cross to me
a ladder up to heaven.

There lies beneath its shadow,
but on the farther side,
the darkness of an awful grave
that gapes both deep and wide;
and there between us stands the cross,
two arms outstretched to save,
like a watchman set to guard the way
from that eternal grave.

Upon that cross of Jesus,
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One,
who suffered there for me:
and from my smitten heart, with tears,
two wonders I confess,-
the wonder of his glorious love,
and my own worthlessness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
for my abiding-place;
I ask no other sunshine than
the sunshine of his face,
content to let the world go by,
to know no gain nor loss,-
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all the cross.

Imagine it is Rahab (or you) signing the hymn meaning what the lyric says. 

Useful link, click here for "a slim scarlet cord of redemption dangling in a window.