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
8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. – 1 Cor. 1:8 NLT
Paul reminds the Corinthians and us of what God has done for and is doing for all of us. Because Jesus died for them and us, we are saved by grace. Not only have we been saved, we have already been given access to heavenly knowledge and speech. All this to confirm the testimony that Christ is alive and lives in us. Just as the Corinthians had access to every spiritual gift they needed, so do we. As they waited and we wait for the return of Jesus, there is nothing we need that is not available to us now. And we can add to all that, the fact that Jesus has the power to keep us blameless until He returns. That is His promise to us and God has never failed to deliver on His promises.
12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.—2 Tim. 1:12 (NIV)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. — 2 Cor. 11:2-4 NIV
Paul continues to warn the Corinthians about impurities in the church. These warnings apply to us in today’s society as well. In the first century, the people had gods of every description. They built temples in honor of them and offered sacrifices to them. Everyone did what was right in their own minds. We have the same thing happening In our society. We are conditioned to be tolerant of the beliefs of others. While this is good from a worldly viewpoint, it leaves us open to hearing false teachings and to being bullied by those who don’t believe this. But the down side of tolerance is that we get used to whatever we are being tolerant toward. Once we do that, we lose the ability to see it as the enemy of Jesus. Then we are open to accepting a “new” revelation, a “new: gospel and yes, a “new” Jesus. The deceptions blind us to the truth. There is only one way to heaven. That has always been true, is true today and will be true forever.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. — John 14:6
We must be alert and diligent to keep those teachers and teachings from being taught in our congregations. These people who sneak in and try to pervert the pure Gospel have a place reserved for them in eternity.
12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. — Jude 12, 13
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. — 1 Peter 1:6, 7 NIV
We have to go through trials and tribulations here on earth. This should not surprise us, Jesus said “in this world you will be offended”. There is a specific reason that God allows us to go through these times of testing. And, amazingly enough, it is not to prove to Him how much we love Him, He already knows the answer to that question. No, these tests are so we can know where we are on our journey with Him. The suffering does allow us to realize whether or not our faith is genuine. If it proves to be genuine and our works withstand the fire, that is worth more than anything money can buy. Everything on earth can be and will be destroyed by fire except our faith and our hope. Because we have hope eternal, we can praise Jesus Christ and give unto Him the glory and honor He so richly deserves. It is then that we will realize the truth of what Paul tells us:
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. — Romans 8:18, 19 NIV