Here We Are Again…

Good Day Readers:

Well, here it is, once again.  The end of one year and the process of embarking on yet another.  If  you are reading this now, I am truly glad that God has brought us this far and am equally happy that you took time to stop by and check out how things are progressing.  Like everyone, this year has been chock full of turmoil, sadness, heartache, dissention, suffering, and loss.  However, it has also been a year chock full of gladness, happiness, faith, renewal, freedom, awareness, prosperity, love, joy, honesty, and reconciliation.  In other words, my friends, this past year had been chock full of LIFE.  I say that because we each have gone through every single experience that I have mentioned.  If you have not, you still have a few more days…lol. 

That being said, I want to take this time to look forward to 2012 with a sense that there will be some adventures ahead.  I won’t say whether they will be good or bad because that isn’t up to me.  I will say that you will definitely encounter some of life’s experiences and I can only hope and pray that you learn from the bad ones and be thankful for the good ones because, either way, they’re coming!  The question is simple.  Are you ready?  I pray that you are. 

If you haven’t already noticed, my theme has changed on the blog site.  I figured that since this year is coming to an end, why not try something different.  I definitely like this new theme and I hope you do as well.  We’re always getting to a point where we are letting go of things that have lost their luster or changing things in order to get a fresh perspective.  Well, this is my turn.  I guess it’s more of a symbol of things that I wish to accomplish. Don’t get me wrong, I have accomplished a great deal in 2011 professionally, spiritually, and in my ministry.  This time however, I plan on continuing to press on toward the mark and always look for that brass ring.  I’m not saying that I won’t be happy or am I saying that I will be ungrateful.  I just know that there are blessings as well as lessons out there that are awaiting my arrival into 2012.  I say, let them come.  Bring it on!  I still have my faith in God and that, in itself has had some issues.  Meaning, it has undulated much like a weak bridge on the verge of collapse but, Thank God that he has not lost His love for me otherwise, well, you know the rest…lol

So here is to 2011.  Thank you for what you have shown me and I appreciate all that you have done, good and bad.  To 2012, I’m coming soon, and I challenge you to challenge me but, keep in mind and, be advised, I have God with me so, well, you know the rest…lol

 

Until Next Year

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The Plan, The Order, The Victory

Good Day Readers:

It’s coming close to that time of year again.  The CHRISTmas season.  Yes, purposely place CHRIST in caps because He, after all, the reason for the season.  Yes, that is a very cliche phrase but it really has a lot of meaning to it.  He is the greates gift anyone could ever receive.  I hope you feel the same way I do.  If not, I encourage you to reconsider.  The following is what I will be speaking on this coming Sunday.  Normally, I shoose the day after to post my sermons but, this one I couldn’t wait to share with you.  We all need encouragement and I hope that you are encouraged reading it as I was writing it, and will be even more encouraged preaching it.

Until Next Time…

Joshua 6:1-5

And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

 

When we look in to this passage of scripture, we see that the city of Jericho was on, what we call, “Lockdown” or, what the United Sates Military calls, Defcon 3.  You will recall in recent history beginning with the attacks on September 11, 2001.  This country was, and has been,  in an ever present state of increased readiness.  There are actually 5 levels of DEFCON or Defense Readiness Condition with 5 being the lowest state and 1 implying that nuclear war is imminent.  However, for the sake of today’s thought, we can assume that Jericho was at DEFCON 3 which meant that there was “an increase in force readiness above that required for normal readiness.  The reason for this state of readiness was due in part to the Children of Israel.  If we go back to Chapter 5 of this book, we see that Joshua was given orders by God to circumcise all of the males.

2At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.

3And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.

4And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.

5Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.

6For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

In other words, because the generation that God had brought out of the land of Egypt were not obedient to God’s will, it was now time for a new generation of God’s people to rise up and fall in line to what God had laid out in His plan for His people.  If we study our history, we will see that even though, our parents and grandparents fought and fought HARD, so that we would have the luxuries that were not readily available to us back then, and even though they gathered to “sit in”, marched for miles upon miles, and subjected themselves to various forms of brutality, a lot of those solders are no longer with us today so, now it’s time for a NEW generation to make an impact on the world provided that we are obedient!  We also see here in chapter 5 that the children of Israel had crossed over the River of Jordan and were now camped in front of the city of Jericho which, in fact, was the strongest and most strategic military outpost of the Canaanites.  The reason why they were in this place was simple: They needed to be in a place where they would have to fully trust in God.  Sometimes, as I have stated previously, God will put you in a position in order to get your attention.  Think of the Verizon commercial where the man in constantly asking the question, “Can you hear me now?”  God does not like any other interference when He is speaking so He will get you in a place where His signal is at its best so He can ask you, “Can you hear me now?”

Fast forward to Chapter 6 and we see that Israel is now at the very doorstep of the city of Jericho.  It was at this time that the Lord had spoken to Joshua in verse 2 – 4:

2And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

3And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

4And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

There are a few lessons we can learn from these verses.  First we have to realize that God has a battle plan that is drenched in victory for your life.  If you recall in the beginning, I stated that Jericho was on full alert and were ready to defend their city at all costs.  From the human perspective, they were ready, willing and very able to defend their city and, by all accounts, were going to win swiftly because, from Jericho’s perception, Israel was not capable and ill equipped to withstand the brute force or the shock and awe that would come down on them from Jericho’s army.  This is where we have to realize that even though the battle looks like it’s unwinnable, even though it looks like the score is one-sided, even though that test that you are about to take looks like certain doom for your GPA, keep in mind that there is a battle plan that is already in place and, most importantly, said battle plan is not yours to begin with.  We have to rely on God because He and He alone is the Master Strategist, and His strategy is the only strategy that will win against whatever war you are in the midst of.  In Psalm 27, verse 3 and verse 5 say:

3Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

5For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

AND WE ALL KNOW WHO THAT ROCK IS!!!

Joshua knew that the battle was the Lords and all he and the children of Israel had to do was to be obedient and wait on God to do what He does best…WIN.  Don’t worry about how it may look on the outside.  Don’t worry about what the score is.  Don’t worry about that GPA.  God has the battle plan that is drenched in victory so if you are obedient, you will win every time.  Remember I said that you have to be obedient so that means:

If being obedient means to study for your test – Be obedient

If you really want to help your team win you need to practice – Be obedient

Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is RIGHT.”

If you want to win the battle you need to be obedient!

 

We have to remember that God has a battle plan that is drenched in victory but, in the process of doing that, we also have to remember to focus on the victory instead of the difficulty.  In Verse 3 the Lord to Joshua to tell the men to march around the city once a day for six days. Now I can assure you that looking at this at face value does NOT make any sense whatsoever.  That’s because we are looking at is at face value  To take something at face value means that we accept something because of the way it first looks or seems, without thinking about what else it could mean.  The children of Israel were told to march around Jericho once a day for six days and I’m almost willing to bet my last dollar that SOMEBODY asked the question, “Joshua, what in the world are we going to accomplish just by marching around the city?  I thought you said God told us we were going to take this city.  I thought God told you that this city is going to be ours.  Now you have us marching around looking all kinds of crazy knowing FULL WELL that these folks in Jericho ain’t playin!!!”  How many times have we found ourselves thinking the very same thing?  How many times have we asked those same questions?  How many times have you asked God, “How am I supposed to do this when I have all of this stuff in front of me?  What am I supposed to do when all this stuff wrong?  You mean to tell me I need to me I have to go up against this?” Well, if you know like I know, and I am truly speaking from experience, most times God doesn’t is not going to tell you right away how to get over this difficulty you’re facing.  He simply wants you to keep stepping.  Don’t worry, child.  I got this.  You just keep stepping.  God didn’t tell Joshua to tell Israel to storm the gates, send a barrage of artillery over the walls of the city.  He simply told Joshua to tell the children of Israel to march around the city once a day for six days.  In other words, God said, “Do what I told you to do and keep stepping. “

When you know you just can’t get over that hurdle – Keep stepping

Just when you think your life is over – Keep stepping

When you feel no one is listening to what you’re going through – Keep stepping

When that hole you’re in just keeps deeper and the rough place keeps getting rougher and that crooked place more corners than you can turn, just do what you were told to do in the first place and KEEP STEPPING!!!

 

God has a battle plan is drenched in victory and all we need to do be obedient when he gives us His plan.  When we have His battle plan, we also have to focus on the victory keep stepping through the difficulty.  When we have done all of this the only thing left to do is to start shouting because the victory is ours.  Joshua gave the order from God in verses 4 and 5:

4And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

5And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

All that needs to be said here is that when you know that you have the victory, all you need to do is SHOUT.  Yeah, God has given you the plan and surely he told you to keep stepping right through that difficulty but now,  you can see the victory right there in front of you so there is nothing left to do but SHOUT!!  Once again, God has come through for you.  Once again, that way you were in was both mighty and long but now, God has brought you through it so, now it’s SHOUTING TIME!!!  The children of Israel got their orders from God and they were obedient.  Even in the face of certain defeat and even though they faced a Jericho that was not going to let them take their city, the children of Israel kept stepping.  But on that seventh day, they marched around the city seven times and the priests blew the trumpets.  When Israel heard the sound they ALL shouted and Jericho fell!!  They shouted because they knew they had the victory.  That’s all God is trying to tell you and I.  Don’t worry about the battle.  Don’t worry about struggle.  The victory is yours so SHOUT.  Give God all the praise.  He’s given us victory.

The Word said:

 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.   That’s VICTORY!!

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  That’s Victory!!!

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.   2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.   That’s VICTORY!!!

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.  That’s VICTORY!!

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  That’s VICTORY!!

See, we don’t have anything to fear because we already have the victory.  All you need to do is believe that you have the victory.  Believe that Jesus died for you and you will have the victory just as the songwriter said:

When we all get to Heaven

What a day of rejoicing that will be

When we all see Jesus

We’ll sing and SHOUT THE VICTORY!!!