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Joshua 15-17
Part 2 of 6

During one of my forays into making money as a single guy, I was putting up sheet rock. The skilled craftsman that I was assisting taught me a valuable lesson. He pointed out that the job of dry walling is made so much easier when the rough carpenter before us built walls that were square.

In my history readings the Colt Firearms Company designed the amazing M-16 weapon that was introduced during the Viet Nam War. Quickly it was criticized for jamming during battle. The company soon learned that training was necessary for the soldiers carrying the weapon so that they knew how to clean the gun. Once the soldiers were taught how to clean the rifle it lived up to the hype of being the modern dependable weapon that it was.

These two lessons converge on the same theme. Make good choices now for the lingering affects later. Those affects not only impact our lives but the lives of many who follow.

In the spiritual realm the same truth applies. Our choices today as they relate to our walk with Christ will have severe implications on our tomorrow. Decisions on morality between a young couple, choosing to be honest in testing, consciously selecting which friends to influence our lives, acting on conscience not to steal or meddle in the privacy of others sets the course for our tomorrows.

More later…

Joshua 11

From a military perspective, the Northern kings had a formidable force to throw into battle. It was a collection of the best that armies in its day could hope to muster. They put their confidence in numbers and weapons of might.

Joshua had courageous fighting men. They were now experienced in war. Their history in battle had been only recent but they knew what it was to win in a fight.

However, down to a man they believed that their success was not in iron, spear or sword. Instead, it was the moral and spiritual component that knitted their confidence together. As a people, they believed in the God that they followed and the God who had appointed their leader, Joshua, to command them.

God gave Joshua two words of great encouragement. First, God told Joshua not to be afraid of his enemies. This is certainly worth noting because God only tells us not to be afraid of our enemy when they are frightening.

Second, God gives a prophetic promise. He tells Joshua that He will hand the enemy over to him, dead. They will be defeated and defeated soundly.

God never leads us to do something for Him without giving us all that is necessary to make us succeed. One of the most fundamental spiritual dynamics is that Christians living in obedience fight from victory not for victory.

More later…


Dec 2013 031Grand parenting is a special treat.  My wife is totally absorbed into being a grandmother.  She looked forward this role with great anticipation.  Nothing about this season of life has disappointed or surprised her.

The biggest surprise has been my role.  I was not expecting any of it.  Sure, when I saw little children and heard their laughter, I enjoyed it.  Yet, when your own flesh and blood introduces the next generation, it is remarkable.

When my daughter placed her firstborn son in my arms I was hooked.  The warmth of the touch, the sound of the breathing, the movement of a little life finding a comfortable place and the eyes searching for satisfaction for its curiosities is hypnotic.

It surprised me how such a little life could feel so good.  Maybe I forgot how special it felt from the years of our own children cuddling next to me.  Yet, even when I search for long ago memories, this is still very different. Maybe it is the years of dealing with adults contrasts remarkably with a little infant snuggling comfortably in my arms.

At six months he has started smiling with his eyes. There is exuberant life in his infancy that displays itself with bounty.  An old Chinese proverb explains it: “The eyes are the window to the soul.”

Life sparkles in his eyes.  Curiosities are forming an endless appetite for exploring, touching, tasting, feeling and living.  I am looking forward to being a part of that learning.

We have not had a conversation yet.  My grandson and I just sit or walk together.  There are very few understandable words that are exchanged between us.

Nevertheless, a bond is forming.  He is secure in my grasp.  I hug him closely and it feels very good.

Maybe in the way that God creates us as humans, we naturally can feel that connection of love, devotion and protection.  From the warmth of that touch comes the sensation of trust, security and hope.  Those are magnanimous words that I look forward to explaining to him some day.

While he is cradled in my arms, he is safe.  I look forward to teaching him about the joys and dangers of the world.  Hopefully, I can pass on to him insights about people, smart ways to navigate through rough circumstances and how to invest in good choices.

Dec 2013 051

I look forward to having a part in nurturing his spiritual journey.  His pilgrimage with Jesus will be the greatest delight.  Our future holds countless conversations about the Savior.

photo credit: brucefong photography

The absolute worst part of filling the role of a leader is having to dismiss an employee.  It is a task that expends a lot of energy, consumes gallons of soulful capital and taxes a restful sleep for days.  Nevertheless, this unpleasant task comes with the territory.

Under-performing employees have a pattern.  They justify poor performance, shift the blame quickly and have excuses for everything.  When they feel the threat of scrutiny they will react with criticism of others.

Paul felt that with the Corinthians believers.  Practicing sin without remorse, they attacked the Apostle as a distraction to their own failings.  They questioned his credentials, minimized his accomplishments and maximized his shortcomings.

In response Paul exhorted these heady believers to perform a self-examination on themselves.  He was not questioning their positional salvation but their practical sanctification.  Simply, He wondered if they even could recognize if Jesus was in their lives.  That was the simple objective of this spirituality test.

Gently, the Apostle expressed his desire that a similar objective test would prove to them that he would pass their examination.  Jesus was certainly present in his life.  He displayed his commitment to sanctification with boldness.

With humility Paul expresses his hope that these believers would live a life consistent with right living.  Should Paul’s own shortcomings be apparent, he was desirous that these faults would not cause the Corinthians to stumble on their own journey toward righteousness.

At the heart of living a sanctified life is knowing the truth, living the truth and enduring because of the truth.  Paul affirmed that his whole life and ministry was committed to this end.  He would not be inconsistent with that devotion.  Subtly yet poignantly he modestly acknowledges his own weakness while complimenting their strength.

Boldly the Apostle declares his intention to the Corinthians.  He is praying for their eventual arrival at spiritual maturity.  He is not opposing them, he is favorably disposed toward them.

This letter of 2 Corinthians was the Apostle’s objective plan to encourage the believers to police themselves.  Even though he could not yet be there among them, his desire was for them to grow.  His desire was for them to be fruitful in their spiritual walk.

Soon, he would come.  It was in his plan to be present in their lives.  When he arrived he would exercise his spiritual authority.  While that influence was legitimate and could be exercised with severity, his objective was to be encouraging.

2 cor 13.5-10