Reading #1 – Numbers 13
Reading #2 – Psalms 73
Reading #3 – Proverbs 12
Reading #4 – Matthew 8
Reading #5 – 1 John 3
Numbers 13 – Exploring Canaan. The Lord tasked Moses with picking one leader from each of the tribes to scope out the new land. It is funny how even one person with a bad message can filter through a community and cause it to quake. The cluster of fruit was proof of how fertile the land was. Out of 12 people, only Joshua and Caleb said “let’s go up and take the land”. Caleb was not saying, “there are no giants” rather, “let’s go up to face them”. When we come to the Lord and are forgiven, our giants do not magically disappear only our perception and life’s direction changes. But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. –We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them, we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too (31-33).!
Psalms 73 – Walking in the Spirit. One of the hardest battles we will ever fight will be the enemy within us that is our will, our fears, envy, doubts, hurts, and pain-points. I used to look at my dad and see this towering individual who was adept at talking to people, his subordinates feared him and was always able to rise to the top. So, he was my hero and I wanted to be like him. Like the writer, I felt very inferior to my dad and just about anybody which made me a “doormat”. When I became a Christian, it didn’t make like “Bruce Almighty” able to bring down blessings and cursings, it helped me face my monsters with the power of the Holy Spirit and win. Each time I tried to run away as Jonah did, I ended up coming back full circle to deal with them again. 8 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do (28).
Proverbs 12 – Our Words as a Power Tool. Power tools are built for a specific purpose. In the hands of a professional, these power tools are an extension of their hands. In the hands of a novice, these tools can be dangerous. In the same way, our words can either be an extension of our life that builds up people or a bulldozer that brings ruin. The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives (6). When we open our mouths, we must be careful how or when we speak. American born author and speaker said, “Think before you speak and read before you speak”. Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing (18). As children of G_d, we are called to live above earthly standards and that includes the words that we speak and the attitude of our heart.
Matthew 8 – Even if it is Just One. In his short lifetime, Jesus reached lives for the Kingdom of G_d not with swell sounding words or vague promises. Jesus came with the power of the Kingdom and the authority of its owner, G_d, and by it changed whole communities, restored broken and sick people. Jesus was not sent to proselytize people, he was sent to be a healer, encourager, and restorer of the Kingdom. Of all people that were affected by Jesus oddly enough, it was a gentile that would see his servant healed. We are not able to save the world but, we can save one person. There are costs to following Jesus one of which we may never consider until we open our mouth. When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake. Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their dead (18-22).
1 John 4 – Life in the Modern World. It is an old cliché’, “when in Rome do as the Romans do”. While this helps us get along with other people, it does little for our character. When I was in the military, we were told, “you are Ambassadors of the US”. How we carried ourselves, the choices we made, and the things we did either brought credit or discredit to the US. “Be careful how you live because you may be the only Bible people will ever read” (William J. Toms).