Posts tagged ‘Joshua’

March 6, 2012

Courageous Faith

by pastortimfowler

In our men’s Bible study last night we finished the Courageous study based on the movie Courageous. I was not thrilled about teaching it because I have not seen the movie and probably will not see it. I don’t like movies, even if I see them with my wife. But the study was not really the movie, but the life of Joshua and the courage he had to stay true to God. I love his story and his faithfulness.
At the end of the study we were told to read this: 1 Peter 3:15 But dedicate your lives to Christ as Lord. Always be ready to defend your confidence in God when anyone asks you to explain it. However, make your defense with gentleness and respect.
The challenge was to be courageous enough to share what God was doing in our lives on a regular basis. I love this verse and was thrilled when it was part of our closing for this study. The first thing it tells us is to dedicate our lives to Christ as Lord. Not to a Savior, although He is, but to a Lord. That means a master or ruler. We rarely have a problem submitting to authority. Sure there are a few folks who do, but your average person has no problems following the rules. If a policeman tells us to do something we do it because they have authority over us in certain situations. We do what our boss at work says and expect to be rewarded for when we do a great job and for the consequences when we don’t. But for some reason when God says do something we find a million excuses why we shouldn’t. That is not faith and it certainly is not courageous faith.
Next we are told to be ready to defend our faith. It is hard to defend what you don’t put into practice.The sad reality is that most Christians like the Savior of Jesus but not the Lord. We would much rather do what feels right or good and leave the tough Christian stuff to the professionals. We argue that the Bible really doesn’t say what it says and listen to people who have no formal training in the Bible as if they were the experts. We don’t ask our pastor because He might tell us what we don’t want to hear. That leads to the next part of this verse which always makes me uneasy about my own obedience. It says that we should be defending our faith to those who ask. Are people asking you about your faith. Not your church, but how you are acting because you are acting on what God says even if you don’t understand it. I have faith in the chair I sit in. It never fails me, although it could. I don’t know how it was made, and could not make it myself, but I trust it will support me, not just based on what the manufacturer says, but on how people have sat in chairs for years and now me too. That is faith. An action base on real belief not a wish and a desire to go to heaven. If Christians did what the Bible said, and believed that the Bible was the words of our Lord, not just our Savior, we may have more people asking us about our faith in God not our opinion of what the preacher says or an opinion about a church.
It is also very hard to explain something that we don’t really believe or understand. That is usually because we have not tried to understand it. Years ago I began to learn how to scuba dive. Now I am very proficient at it and can explain about anything you want to know about it. I can tell you exactly what you need to do to become a diver and I believe in the training that I received to save my life and yours if you chose to follow me. But I did a lot of study and training before I actually dove and still refresh my mind in the basics every time I go diving. I ask lots of questions of my instructor and those who I dive with me who have more experience. I never go to someone who only tells me that diving is dangerous and never trust someone who tells me my instructor is wrong. That could get me killed. I want to know who and what I am putting trust for my life in to. Who are you trusting to learn the Bible? How much effort are you putting into learning it and living how God says to live and what God says to believe?
Finally it tells us to be gentle and respectful while defending our faith. This is hard when you don’t really know what you believe. But if you are confident and like Joshua, have trusted God time and time again and seen Him come through for you, you will be confident and be able to be gentle and respectful. There is a difference in being gentle and respectful and being  pushed around because you aer weak in your faith. Jesus was a master at defending who He was and what He was teaching with amazing gentleness and respect. But He never let a religious nut mess with Him and teach something that was wrong. Jesus had courageous faith. Do you?

April 13, 2011

You can trust him

by pastortimfowler

Today I started reading the Old Testament book of Joshua. One of the saddest events of the Bible happens just before this in Exodus as Moses dies without going into the Promised Land. It was really incredible to read that Moses was well over 100 years old when he died but the Bible says that he never lost strength nor did his eyesight ever go bad. I would be happy with either one of those even right now.
For 40 years, Moses lead Israel through the wilderness. He was the greatest prophet ever and talked to God in person. Don’t even ask me to explain his favor with God, but that statement makes me want to study how he lived his life to so win that favor. Moses was allowed to see incredible miracles of God, and incredible rebellion from his people. He interceded for them over and over and at one point told God that if He would not forgive the people the he (Moses) would prefer to be stricken from God memory. That is one incredible leader.
So Moses dies and Joshua is appointed the leader. I feel for Joshua. What huge shoes to fill. On top of everything else, the people he was to lead were not the same that followed Moses for 40 years, they were the children and they had heard all the stories of the great things Moses had done. Sure they knew that God was the power behind it all, but still, they knew Moses was the instrument and not Joshua. But now they were going to have to trust this new leader and they were about to go into a land that they had not seen and about to go to war to take the land.
People always say that trust is earned and this was not different. I have read all this before and I know the great leader that Joshua becomes. But putting yourself in the position of the people at that time, it had to be scary. Joshua had not earned their trust. But…
God had earned their trust, over and over again. He rescued them from captivity on Egypt. He parted the sea and destroyed the pursuing army. He had given them endless food and endless water without them planting and digging. He had defeated enemies that they encountered during the journey. He showed Himself in pillar of fire and a pillar of smoke. At the end of the journey we are told that their clothes and shoes never wore out. They knew that they could trust God.
So why the problem trusting the leader that appoints? Sure humans can and do make mistakes but when the will of God is at stake and the people of God seek Gods will, God will ensure that the right leader is in place. Matthew 6:33 says: But let your first care be for his kingdom and his righteousness; and all these other things will be given to you in addition. God wants our trust. Trust Him and you have nothing else to worry about.
You can trust Him on that.