Joshua and the Walls of Jericho

“By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith, Rahab the harlot, did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.” Hebrews 11:30-31

Joshua, the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, was the one chosen after Moses’ death
to lead the Israelites into the promised land, by direction of God’s own breath.

“Only be strong and very courageous…and meditate on the law day and night.”
These instructions were given by God to Joshua, so that events would turn out right.

Joshua told the officers to tell the people–that they should begin to prepare,
to move on out in three days time, knowing God’s faithfulness would surely be there.

A “mountain” that needed to be overcome was the turbulent Jordan River for one–
then the great walls of the city of Jericho needed to be conquered before their work would be done.

Joshua sent two men there as spies, and they came to a house built on the city wall.
Rahab hid them in the house, from the King’s spies, who wanted to search it all.

Later, letting Joshua’s men down from a window, she had them swear that her favor would be returned. They promised her that a scarlet cord in her window would be a sign of the protection she’d earned.

They arrived back at the Israelite camp, with confidence that the country would be theirs. But how the people and animals would cross the rushing river became the next item of their cares.

Joshua, however, trusted in God, and gave the order for the priests to lead the way.
They carried the ark of the covenant in and, thus, the waters were miraculously
kept at bay.

Safety was afforded for all to cross over–then Joshua said a stone should be gathered for each one…of the twelve tribes of Israel. The stones were needed to build a memorial to what God had done.

Then came a time of consecration, and they remembered the Passover, another instance of God’s delivering hand. The day after that, just before God’s manna ceased, they began to partake of some of the produce of the land.

As Joshua contemplated the attack on Jericho, he suddenly beheld a man with a sword…drawn in his hand; and he proclaimed to Joshua that he was captain of the host of the Lord.

He told him to remove the sandals from his feet, for he was standing on holy ground.
Joshua did so immediately, knowing it was a heavenly visitation; and he already had bowed down.

Joshua was obedient to follow the Lord’s instructions and, therefore, said there should be seven…priests to march with trumpets of rams’ horns, followed by the ark of the covenant–the presence of the God of heaven.

Armed soldiers were part of the procession as well, as had been originally planned out.
They all made the journey around the Jericho city walls, once for six days throughout.

On the seventh day, they marched around seven times–then the priests made their trumpets blow. Next came the much anticipated “Shout!”–after which, those great walls were laid low.

The Israelites marched in, captured and burned the city–but Rahab was remembered and spared; And, in Joshua, the Lord had provided a strong new leader–his fame only with Moses was shared.

To be strong and courageous and depend on God’s anointing is vital to remember still today. “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!” reminds of “walls” that will come down after we pray.

…which, of course, includes worship and praise!

(Quote by Kenneth E. Hagin: “Praise gets the job done!”)

P. A. Oltrogge

(from the book of Joshua)

https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/the-walls-of-jericho/

The Benefit of Blinders

Photo by Paul Kehrer

Photo by Paul Kehrer

I’m hoping that this poem makes a little bit of sense–
I’m reminded today that it’s not good to be tense.
But it’s best to look to Jesus in situations big or small,
for He’s the problem solver, we know, after all.

I’m thinking of those who race horses and know a lot about
keeping a horse calm, despite the crowds that shout,
and from distraction by other horses that are running in a race–
they use blinders to keep the horse focused to better win first place.

I want to look to Jesus only and keep thanking the Lord,
for faith pleases Him; and those who seek Him find reward.
“The battle is the Lord’s” was David’s decree against the giant–
faith in the Almighty made a “Goliath” problem be compliant.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:5-6

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

(Blinders, also known as blinkers, have been shown to help some horses stay focused in a race.)

 

The Way to Please God…

So many religions speak of various ways
To address pleasing God all of your days.
Five times a day, you could be down on your knees,
With prayers to the god you hope to please.
But, really, these things are ritual merely
And can’t please Him, no matter if done so very sincerely.
But there is a way to come to God,
And it’s by looking to the road that Jesus has trod.
He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
He paved the way for you through much strife…
Released upon Him as He went to the cross,
Where He suffered in pain so you wouldn’t be lost
To the God who loves you and calls to you now
To embrace His Son, Jesus, to Whom one day every knee will bow.
But only grace through faith is involved—all works are in vain.
Through Jesus’ righteousness, our salvation is made plain.
You may want to fall to your knees when you recognize all that was done
By a God who loved so greatly, He gave His only Son.

P. A. Oltrogge

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:6

“Therefore, also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him, the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9

Jesus, the Way to Blessing

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (words of Jesus in Matthew 5:1-12)

In case you’re among those who have happened to come here,
who were raised in a totally different spiritual atmosphere–

If you’re grieving about causing your beloved family some pain
by embracing Christ’s Gospel, which to you has become plain,

remember His words, that “blessed are those who mourn.”
Trust there will be blessings in your being spiritually reborn.

Jesus said He didn’t come to bring peace once you’ve taken that stand–
There will be a sword of division when family members don’t understand.

Your heart of love is good, but you cannot love them more than loving Him;
To do so, will cause the light on your spiritual pathway to dim.

You must take up your cross, following Him as your Savior and Lord;
For it’s only in doing this, that you’ll have His guidance and reward.

Those who seek to find their life will lose it, and are misled.
However, if you lose your life for Jesus’ sake, you will find it instead.

Showing love by His Spirit within, and praying for your father or mother,
sisters, brothers–any you love, can open their eyes to see no other…

than Jesus Christ, our Lord.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it. He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:32-42

The Light of the Gospel of the Glory of Christ

From an account in Matthew 9:27-31

When someone’s not qualified to lead another, we say it’s “the blind leading the blind.”
The Bible gives an account of such an occurrence, but of a very positive kind.

One day two blind men were following Jesus, knowing that the vision which they sought…could surely be realized through His miracles, which they had heard
He’d wrought.

“Have mercy on us, Son of David!” was their heartfelt, earnest cry for His touch.
When He entered into a house, they may have wondered if He’d even heard
them much.

But they were bold to enter the house then, where at the time, Jesus was staying–
They were ready to receive the healing, for which they’d both been praying.

“Do you believe that I’m able to do this?” Jesus questioned the pair;
They answered Him, “Yes, Lord,” for they knew–that He’d done great miracles everywhere.

So Jesus touched their eyes, saying that according to their faith it was done;
Then their eyes were opened to see perfectly—a new life for each had begun.

Though they’d been blind, they’d helped each other, on a pathway of which they felt sure. Their faith in Jesus and readiness to receive brought about their miraculous cure.

Though Jesus charged them to let no one know, they couldn’t help sharing their story–
Of how Jesus Christ had given them sight, and they gave to Him all of the glory.

There have been testimonies in these days, too, of people receiving their sight–
I praise God to hear of it and for His heart to heal those who face any health fight.

There’s darkness of an even greater kind, that seeks to keep people from following Christ’s way; In such cases, they need someone who’s spiritually-sighted, to lead them to the Light of day.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  John 8:12

“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”  John 9:5

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Matthew 5:14-15

“In whose case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  2 Corinthians 4:4

“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:38

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” Proverbs 4:18

For miracle testimonies of today, just to name a few ministries, refer to:
http://www.cbn.com
http://www.awmi.net
http://www.oralroberts.com

Questions on Authority and the Chief Cornerstone

from Luke 20:1-18

One day Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts, proclaiming to all the good news…. when the chief priests and teachers of the law and the elders came up to question His views..

“Who gave you this authority?” they asked, for He’d just driven out all who would buy or sell.  He’d said they’d made the temple a den of thieves, rather than a house where prayer could dwell.

Jesus answered them back with a question of His own about whether they could recognize…if John the Baptist’s ministry was of his own initiative–or was it divine in God’s eyes?

Before they answered, they debated among themselves on which answer would be best.  If they said it was from heaven, they knew He would ask why they then hadn’t believed John was blessed.

But if they said John was acting only on his own, they feared they would actually be stoned… for all the people felt that John had been a prophet, and such an answer wouldn’t be condoned.

So their final reply on where John had gotten his authority was that they really didn’t know–  Then Jesus answered them that neither would He reveal the source of His ministry’s flow.

************************

Jesus went on to tell the story of a man who planted a vineyard and decided to rent it out.  He journeyed to a distant land for some time, but sent one of his servants back on the route…

to collect his share of the harvest one day; but the renters beat him, and he returned in lack.  The vineyard owner sent a second, then a third servant, who also received the same kind of an attack.

So he came to consider that he would send his only son–surely, they’d give respect in that case–   Well, they not only beat him, but they killed the heir as well, thinking then they might own the place.

Jesus asked what they thought the owner would do to those who had done this thing…. He said he would come to destroy them in turn and give the vineyard to others whom he would bring.

This upset the chief priests, teachers, and elders as they realized he was speaking of them in the story.  Some said no one would do such a thing, but Jesus brought up scripture that spoke to them of His glory….

What was the meaning, then, He asked, of “The stone which the builders rejected–
this became the chief corner stone” — Of course, therein His own life and ministry were reflected.

You see, the Jewish nation was the vineyard; the chief priests and others like them were tenants of the land.  Through the years they’d not heeded God’s servants, the prophets–now His Son they were rejecting on every hand.

This parable speaks of God, the Father, who sent His prophets, then His Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Lord–  As in the parable, He’ll return through His Son–and those who’ve put faith in Him will have great reward….


Maranatha!  Our Lord is coming!

P. A. Oltrogge

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.”  Psalm 118:22



Out of the Ashes

A pause from the poetic for some prose…
by J. Vetter

Only a year ago, a tornado swept through our town, and trees became missiles of destruction. They slammed against houses, fences and vehicles with an angry vengeance.

This morning I took the time to investigate the new walking trail that was built in our area. Joy crowded into my heart and it overflowed with gratitude as I recognized that the pathway had been created with the remains of those fallen trees. Then, at the end of the trail, the joy that I felt gave birth to overwhelming revelation of new life!  There, amidst the trees, an outdoor chapel had been built. There was a simple wooden cross, a pulpit, and there were six wooden benches.

Even though no one was standing behind the pulpit, I heard a message spoken loudly and clearly into my spirit.  It was “Never give up! Never give up!”  In spite of what may look like devastation, God declares, “There will be new life – trust Me!  Learn to expect the good, for I know how to bring it about.  Take your eyes off the distraction of loss and begin to expect the beauty of renewal.”

The Lord has much to say about being one who overcomes.  I personally believe it thrills God’s heart when we choose to allow Him to rebuild what has been devastated or broken.  It may not look the same; but in fact, often it can be even better.  I’m thinking, for example, of the times people have had a water pipe break or some other kind of flooding.  At first, it’s just a mess, and not very many people start out being thankful. However, after the insurance company pays for new flooring and restoration, it’s easy to forget the sense of frustration about the incident.

If only we could always see a snapshot of the finished project!  But wait–God has something to say about that–how about, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

I remember reading about a woman whose son was severely injured. She was praying for his healing and happened to look up and out of her kitchen window and saw a vision of him riding his bike over the lawn. Time went by, and he was healed.  One day, she actually saw that exact picture of him on his bike, just as she had seen in the earlier vision.

Many a person, when keeping faith in the Lord, has found that the loss of a job has yielded an even better one or a new situation that is more satisfying for them.

Sometimes, as in a personal experience of my own, a loss can be very hard–the loss of a precious loved one. Yet, I can give thanks for having had the joy of having known and loved that one, knowing the comfort that he is with Jesus; and I have found peace through Him, which passes all understanding.

If difficulties strike, I believe we can keep our hearts from being overwhelmed. In Psalms we read, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)  From the vantage point of that “Rock,” our Lord Jesus Christ, we are able to rise above any negative circumstance.

And Nicodemus Came Also

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus answered and said to Him, ‘How can these things be?’ John 3:1-9 (from John 3:1-21)

Photo by Zaimoku

Photo by Zaimoku

And Nicodemus Came Also
(God’s continual creative flow of new birth…)


Sometimes a photograph captures a scene
of overwhelming beauty like none you have seen;
The Lord has created so many beautiful things…
for us to enjoy, with the sense of awe that they bring.

The arrival in springtime of little young lambs;
new shells on the seashore from oysters and clams…
the arrival of a baby that makes a family grow–
all are a part of the Master Designer’s creative flow.

Blossoming cherry tree branches leaning over a lake;
a rainbow after rain or the first winter snowflake…
early fog around a mountain or a newly formed stream–
all point to the Creator and His “new birth” theme.

A Rabbi named Nicodemus wondered, “How can these things be?”
when Jesus said he must be born again by water and the Spirit to be free.
Of course, Jesus meant spiritually, not physically being born twice.
Thankfully, the Bible indicates, that Nicodemus took Jesus’ advice.

Nicodemus thought for himself, being bold to question what he’d been taught–
If you can’t say with assurance your faith brings you what it ought,
then learn from the example of a Rabbi back in Jesus’ day…
Take hold of the Gospel of Christ and receive new birth as you pray.

P. A. Oltrogge

“So there arose a discourse in the multitude because of Him (Jesus). And some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, ‘Why did you not bring Him?’ The officers answered, ‘Never did a man speak the way this man speaks.’ The Pharisees, therefore, answered them, ‘You have not also been led astray, have you? No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he? But the multitude which does not know the Law is accursed.’ Nicodemus said to them, (he who came to Him before being one of them), ‘Our Law does not judge a man, unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?’ They answered and said to him, ‘You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.’ And everyone went to his home.” John 7:43-53

“And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. He came, therefore, and took away His body. And Nicodemus came also, who had first come to Him by night; bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. And so they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore on account of the Jewish day of preparation, because the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:38-42

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

If one is suffering, we all suffer

Many of  you are aware that the Bible speaks of believers in Jesus as being “one body–Christ’s body.”  Here is a segment on the topic:

“But now there are many members, but one body.  And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’  On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary, and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, whereas our seemly members have no need of it.  But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.  Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”  1 Corinthians 12:20-27

 

If One is Suffering, We All Suffer….
a prayer
 

There are some in the body of Christ right now who are suffering very much;
We ask, Lord, that You visit them with Your divine and healing touch.

We agree with Your Word that says You give Your mighty angels charge
Over any situation–what seems small, and what we know is large.

Since we realize we are all one body in the Lord’s church across the world,
We pray for those who are suffering from evil darts the devil’s hurled.

We pray for those who are persecuting them for their faith in Jesus, the Lord–
That You will open their eyes to find You’re the God of love and not the sword.

P. A. Oltrogge

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and every one who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  1 John 4:7-10