9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 NLT
For years, Joshua had been the faithful assistant of Moses as they led the Jewish nation through the desert. Now, that Moses was gone, the role of leadership was passed to Joshua. This would have been a very trying time for Joshua or anyone who had just lost their leader and their mentor. But God had a plan for comforting and encouraging Joshua. The Lord spoke to Joshua. Now, instead of getting his directions from Moses, Joshua got them straight from the Lord. “Be strong and courageous”, “meditate on the Book of the Law day and night”, “be careful to do everything written in it” and “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. God has a plan for each of us, as well. When we are down in the valley after a great loss or for any reason, He speaks to each of us if we are willing to listen. He has the same message for us that He had for Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous”, meditate on the Holy Scriptures day and night. Be careful to follow the instructions given. Listen to and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Because God has given us the Holy Spirit to abide within us, He is always with us wherever we go. Jesus has been where we are now and He is already where we are going, so, let us lift up our heads and our hands and rejoice. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are assured of reaching our destination. No thing or no one can separate us from the love of God or from His protection. We can depend on God, He has never failed on any of His promises. “Be strong and very courageous”.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” — Acts 4: 12 NLT
This verse is probably one of the best known verses in the Bible. It may be very well-known but we had best not get complacent about it. Do we believe what this verse says? Is there really only one Name under heaven whereby we can be saved? Would you stake your life on it? In today’s society with its anti-Christian bent, we had better be sure we believe it if we are going to stand up for Jesus because there are thousands of our brothers and sisters around the world who are doing just that–giving their lives for Jesus. If we believe then why do we get so mealy-mouthed around the religious people of the world? There is not one religion that makes this claim, only Christianity. Our beliefs had better be rooted in Jesus and our lives built on Him. Otherwise, when the storms come and the winds of doubt and fear start beating us up, we will fall. If you read the full passage above, then you will know that verse thirteen says that the council of leaders knew that Peter and John “had been with Jesus”. Isn’t that what we want others to see in us? Enough of the likeness of Jesus that they will know that we have spent some time with Jesus. Jesus died for all sinners, we owe it to Him to let the whole world know. Are we ready to stand up, speak up and die if we have to? Let us all pray that if that time comes in our lives that we will be ready to meet the challenge and joyfully go home to be with Jesus.
3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.—1 Cor. 10:3-5 NIV
As the children of Israel traveled through the desert, they began to complain about the food, so God fed them manna from heaven. They complained about the lack of water, so God had Moses strike a rock and bring forth water for them to drink. The manna represented the body of Christ, just as the wafer we take at Communion represents the body of Christ. The rock is a representation of Jesus Christ and the water would be a foreshadowing of His blood pouring from His side when the soldier stuck his spear into His side. So, the Exodus foreshadowed our journey that we must make. First, they believed Moses would deliver them out of their bondage and they were baptized into Moses. Secondly, they had all the foreshadowing of salvation as represented by the baptism, the manna, and the rock. Thirdly, they had a hope of reaching the Promised Land. If we have accepted Jesus believing that He will deliver us from evil, follow His example of baptism and walk according to the Spirit, we have a hope of reaching the Promised Land, our eternal home in heaven. We, too, must make a journey and some of it will seem like a dry and thirsty land to us. Will we whine and complain or will we really, really trust Jesus and shout for joy in the midst of the storms? Not because of the storm, but in spite of the storm. Will we be Joshuas and Calebs or Dathans and Korahs?