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18 May - Joshua 2; Isaiah 8; 1 Thessalonians 3; 4


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Posted 18 May 2008 - 12:15 PM

First Portion

Joshua 2


2:1 Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, including Jericho.” They went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and slept there.

2:2 The king of Jericho was told, “Behold, men of the children of Israel came in here tonight to spy out the land.”

2:3 The king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered into your house; for they have come to spy out all the land.”

2:4 The woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I didn’t know where they came from. 2:5 It happened about the time of the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went, I don’t know. Pursue them quickly; for you will overtake them.” 2:6 But she had brought them up to the roof, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof. 2:7 The men pursued them the way to the Jordan to the fords: and as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate. 2:8 Before they had laid down, she came up to them on the roof; 2:9 and she said to the men, “I know that Yahweh has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 2:10 For we have heard how Yahweh dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and to Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 2:11 As soon as we had heard it, our hearts melted, neither did there remain any more spirit in any man, because of you: for Yahweh your God, he is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath. 2:12 Now therefore, please swear to me by Yahweh, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a true token; 2:13 and that you will save alive my father, my mother, my brothers, and my sisters, and all that they have, and will deliver our lives from death.”

2:14 The men said to her, “Our life for yours, if you don’t talk about this business of ours; and it shall be, when Yahweh gives us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.”

2:15 Then she let them down by a cord through the window; for her house was on the side of the wall, and she lived on the wall. 2:16 She said to them, “Go to the mountain, lest the pursuers find you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward, you may go your way.”

2:17 The men said to her, “We will be guiltless of this your oath which you have made us to swear. 2:18 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which you used to let us down. You shall gather to yourself into the house your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 2:19 It shall be that whoever goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood will be on his head, and we will be guiltless. Whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand is on him. 2:20 But if you talk about this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless of your oath which you have made us to swear.”

2:21 She said, “According to your words, so be it.” She sent them away, and they departed. She tied the scarlet line in the window.

2:22 They went, and came to the mountain, and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had returned. The pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but didn’t find them. 2:23 Then the two men returned, descended from the mountain, passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun; and they told him all that had happened to them. 2:24 They said to Joshua, “Truly Yahweh has delivered into our hands all the land. Moreover, all the inhabitants of the land melt away before us.”

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 12:16 PM

Second Portion

Isaiah 8


8:1 Yahweh said to me, “Take a large tablet, and write on it with a man’s pen, ‘For Maher Shalal Hash Baz;’ 8:2 and I will take for myself faithful witnesses to testify: Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.”

8:3 I went to the prophetess, and she conceived, and bore a son. Then Yahweh said to me, “Call his name ‘Maher Shalal Hash Baz.’ 8:4 For before the child knows how to say, ‘My father,’ and, ‘My mother,’ the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away by the king of Assyria.”

8:5 Yahweh spoke to me yet again, saying, 8:6 “Because this people have refused the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son; 8:7 now therefore, behold, the Lord brings upon them the mighty flood waters of the River: the king of Assyria and all his glory. It will come up over all its channels, and go over all its banks. 8:8 It will sweep onward into Judah. It will overflow and pass through; it will reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, Immanuel. 8:9 Make an uproar, you peoples, and be broken in pieces! Listen, all you from far countries: dress for battle, and be shattered! Dress for battle, and be shattered! 8:10 Take counsel together, and it will be brought to nothing; speak the word, and it will not stand: for God is with us.” 8:11 For Yahweh spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, 8:12 “Don’t say, ‘A conspiracy!’ concerning all about which this people say, ‘A conspiracy!’ neither fear their threats, nor be terrorized. 8:13 Yahweh of Armies is who you must respect as holy. He is the one you must fear. He is the one you must dread. 8:14 He will be a sanctuary, but for both houses of Israel, he will be a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 8:15 Many will stumble over it, fall, be broken, be snared, and be captured.” 8:16 Wrap up the testimony. Seal the law among my disciples. 8:17 I will wait for Yahweh, who hides his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom Yahweh has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from Yahweh of Armies, who dwells in Mount Zion.

8:19 When they tell you, “Consult with those who have familiar spirits and with the wizards, who chirp and who mutter:” shouldn’t a people consult with their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 8:20 Turn to the law and to the testimony! If they don’t speak according to this word, surely there is no morning for them. 8:21 They will pass through it, very distressed and hungry; and it will happen that when they are hungry, they will worry, and curse by their king and by their God. They will turn their faces upward, 8:22 and look to the earth, and see distress, darkness, and the gloom of anguish. They will be driven into thick darkness.

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 12:17 PM

Third Portion

1 Thessalonians 3; 4


3:1 Therefore, when we couldn’t stand it any longer, we thought it good to be left behind at Athens alone, 3:2 and sent Timothy, our brother and God’s servant in the Good News of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith; 3:3 that no one be moved by these afflictions. For you know that we are appointed to this task. 3:4 For most certainly, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we are to suffer affliction, even as it happened, and you know. 3:5 For this cause I also, when I couldn’t stand it any longer, sent that I might know your faith, for fear that by any means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor would have been in vain. 3:6 But when Timothy came just now to us from you, and brought us glad news of your faith and love, and that you have good memories of us always, longing to see us, even as we also long to see you; 3:7 for this cause, brothers, we were comforted over you in all our distress and affliction through your faith. 3:8 For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. 3:9 For what thanksgiving can we render again to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sakes before our God; 3:10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face, and may perfect that which is lacking in your faith? 3:11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you; 3:12 and the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we also do toward you, 3:13 to the end he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 12:18 PM

4:1 Finally then, brothers, we beg and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, that you abound more and more. 4:2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 4:3 For this is the will of God: your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, 4:4 that each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 4:5 not in the passion of lust, even as the Gentiles who don’t know God; 4:6 that no one should take advantage of and wrong a brother or sister in this matter; because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as also we forewarned you and testified. 4:7 For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification. 4:8 Therefore he who rejects this doesn’t reject man, but God, who has also given his Holy Spirit to you.

4:9 But concerning brotherly love, you have no need that one write to you. For you yourselves are taught by God to love one another, 4:10 for indeed you do it toward all the brothers who are in all Macedonia. But we exhort you, brothers, that you abound more and more; 4:11 and that you make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, even as we instructed you; 4:12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and may have need of nothing.

4:13 But we don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you don’t grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 4:15 For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep. 4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, 4:17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever. 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 12:03 PM

18 May 2009

Joshua 2
Isaiah 8
1 Thessalonians 3; 4

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 03:52 AM

18 May 2010

Joshua 2
Isaiah 8
1 Thessalonians 3; 4

STRONG … COURAGEOUS

Four times in Joshua 1 we have these words, “Be strong and courageous” [Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18]. The first 3 times they are the words the LORD speaks to Joshua, for Moses is dead. The fourth time Joshua uses these words in speaking to the people. They would be very conscious of how their parents failed to be strong and courageous and, as a result, died as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.

Today, Joshua 2 is how Joshua sent spies to survey the land and inspect the defences of Jericho. The local king is on the alert and learns there are a couple of spies around. Fear is in the air. God saw to it that they were preserved by means of a woman who has faith in Israel’s God and is prepared to risk her life to preserve the lives of the spies. The spies are able to report back, “Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands … the inhabitants are in fear because of us.” [Joshua 2:24]

Today we see our promised land just ahead, but we are in need of the faith of Rahab who we know is listed in Hebrews 11:31. Like Rahab we live in a world that knows not the true God. The whole atmosphere in which we now live seeks to undermine the true faith at every step of the way with its utter godless attitudes leading to depravity that attracts the most basic instincts of fleshly minds. How bad will the next generation be if the Lord remains away!?

We have a different kind of river to cross! More than ever we need to read and reflect on God’s word and ever more earnestly pray for help to keep back the flood tide of the word’s filth and so cross on spiritual ‘dry land’. The inhabitants of this world are in fear for a different reason to that of Jordan. I was talking to a mother at our ecclesia on Sunday who said her teenage daughter told her that her school friends do not think they will live to grow old. They are so “wired” to the concerns of the world, climate change and awesome weather ahead, not to mention things like nuclear weapons and the Middle East. Let us be strong and courageous, developing a greater and greater relationship with God and His Son, so that we can face the future with confidence praying “those days will be cut short” as Jesus said [Matt. 24:22] Let us make sure we are ready.
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Posted 18 May 2011 - 05:14 AM

18 May 2011

Joshua 2
Isaiah 8
1 Thessalonians 3; 4

"ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER WITH THESE WORDS"

As this world grows more godless it becomes ever more necessary for believers to encourage each other. The greatest source of encouragement is in the words of God which is our reason for reading them each day. There are verses in our Thessalonians reading today that are probably going to be fulfilled in the lifetime of most of those reading these thoughts.

Some, to whom Paul was writing, were unclear about the fate of those who had recently died. Paul says they should "not grieve as others do who have no hope" [1 Thessalonians 4:13]. He then writes, "For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first." [1 Thessalonians 4:15,16]

Paul then says that those who have not died "will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words." [1 Thessalonians 4:17,18] Notice how it says, "so we will always be with the Lord" – so where will the Lord be? There are lots of scriptural passages which say he is coming back to reign on earth from Jerusalem as we read 5 days ago, for example, in Isaiah 2:1-4. It may well be that those who are alive will be taken away from "the tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world …" [Matthew 24:21]

Today, in Isaiah 8, we saw how Isaiah was living in a godless society similar to ourselves. He quotes the LORD's warning to him, "not to walk in the way of this people … do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread." Note what he next says, "But the LORD of hosts, him you shall regard as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread." [Isaiah 8:11-13] While we love God, we are in awe of all he must be! But notice the strong words in Isaiah 8:20, "to the teaching and the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn." The world is in spiritual darkness and many religious leaders do not speak according to God's word, so there will be no dawn bringing light into their minds when Jesus returns. Let's make sure we have the teaching and the testimony to give us true light.
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Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:31 AM

18 May 2012

Joshua 2
Isaiah 8
1 Thessalonians 3; 4


"ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER WITH THESE WORDS"

What do we find encouraging in our lives? Some would find this a difficult question – our Godless world has threatening storm clouds on the horizons – and many are fearful of how serious they might become. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians with which our chapters today conclude contained a positive message, this was that they should not grieve over any of their number who die.


Paul writes, “… we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as do others who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” [1 Thessalonians 4:13-14].

He then explains how this will happen, “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we too who are alive, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” [1 Thessalonians 4:15-17]

As Jesus was about to ascend to heaven he told his astonished disciples, “It is not for you to know the times and the seasons that the Father has fixed …” [Acts 1:7]. Time has progressed onward for almost 2,000 years and men and women of a great many generations have died. We have to accept this as God’s timetable; it was about 2,000 years from Abraham to Christ – and now – in God’s scheme for human life - another 2,000 years has elapsed.

However, for those who, as Paul puts it, “fall asleep”, let us realize that none of them are conscious of the passage of time. When our Lord descends from heaven – at that time there will be a great awakening and all who have died with this “hope” will, from then on, “always be with the Lord” – and our Lord, as so many scriptures tell us, will be reigning over all the earth. With this understanding we can see how meaningful the last verse is – “Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

Do you feel encouraged? When your loved one’s ‘in Christ” die may “you not grieve as do others who have no hope.” If this is not going to be the case – now is the time to do what you can, seeking God’s guidance in prayer and through his word, to create a more encouraging expectation.
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Posted 18 May 2013 - 12:40 PM

18 May 2013

Joshua 2
Isaiah 8
1 Thessalonians 3; 4

“BLAMELESS IN HOLINESS”

Many parts of the world indulge in what is called ‘the blame game.’ Very few admit anything is their fault – and lawyers become very wealthy! There is less and less genuine honesty in our world: men and women may deceive one another – but God is never deceived!

In Paul’s 1st letter to the Thessalonians he is exceedingly anxious for news of them. He worries as to whether they are standing firm in the faith. His letter to them, we read today, shows he is relieved “that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love …” [1 Thessalonians 3:6], adding, “we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.” [1 Thessalonians 3:7-8]

What causes us to “live”? Is it the same as what causes Paul? He is keen to visit them and see them “face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?” [1 Thessalonians 3:10] Is anything lacking in our faith? Those striving to be true believers today have greater and greater challenges that threaten to undermine their faith.

We particularly noted Paul’s next words, ”may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness” [1 Thessalonians 3:12-13] That word “establish” indicates a strengthening so your heart, your outlook on life becomes ‘fixed’ How fixed is your mind?

It is very interesting that it is the same Greek word as Jesus used in warning Peter of the ordeal he would face in and after the Garden of Gethsemane. He told Peter, “but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” [Luke 22:32] We all need to strengthen our hearts so that they are established and become “blameless.” The Greek word here is first used in Luke 1:6 about the parents of John the Baptist that they were “walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord”

Our reading, meditation and prayers on God’s word are the source of the ‘glue’ to fix our minds - that will “establish” our “hearts blameless” - so that when “the Lord himself (will) descend from heaven with a cry of command with the voice of an archangel… then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up … to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17] And where will the Lord be? He will establish a world-wide kingdom as we read on Monday in Isaiah 2:2-5.

Paul ends his letter with another pressing appeal and prayer, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord … He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” [1 Thessalonians 5:23-24] He will surely do it, - so let us “establish” our “hearts.”.
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Posted 18 May 2014 - 01:33 PM

18 May 2014

Joshua 2
Isaiah 8
1 Thessalonians 3; 4

“ESTABLISH YOUR HEARTS BLAMELESS IN HOLINESS”

The last 2 verses of today’s 3rd chapter in 1st Thessalonians is specially thought provoking. “… may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus …” [1 Thessalonians 3:12-13] Read that again slowly! Can you imagine your heart being “blameless in holiness?”

What is the process by which he will establish our hearts in this way? One thing Paul is telling us is that this establishing of our hearts is the result of the way we “increase and abound in love for one another.” Love comes, as Paul sees it, in different qualities and quantities! Paul did not know when the Lord would return, just as we do not, but the expectation has grown increasingly high in recent years. We take note also that the establishing of our hearts “blameless in holiness” is “before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord…” It is what the Lord is looking to see at this wondrous time!

At the beginning of his Epistle Paul commends them for their “work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope” [1 Thessalonians 1:3] But note what we read in 1 Thessalonians 3 today! After being encouraged by “the good news” of their “faith and love” that Timothy [1 Thessalonians 3:6] brought to him, Paul writes, “we pray earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face” – and there is a particular reason for this earnest prayer! It is so that he could then “supply what is lacking in your faith” [1 Thessalonians 3:10]

From what we had previously read we would have thought they had demonstrated a really good faith! Let us remember the emphasis in James’ epistle on this vital quality believers must possess. “You know,” James writes, “that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” [James 1:3-4]

It seems that what was “lacking” in their faith was some testing! They had done works of faith, but Paul knew it needed testing to make sure it would remain “steadfast” – a vital factor in establishing our “hearts blameless in holiness before our God” A vital lesson for us today! A faith testing time is coming on this world – there is no doubt about that – but is your heart established blameless and strong ready for that time of testing? We need to do a lot of heart searching: remember and reflect on our thoughts yesterday.
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