Seize the Moment – Day 681

Caleb, a Wholehearted Man!

Joshua 14

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, January 27.

 

Are you willing to live wholeheartedly for God even if you must wait a long time to receive God’s reward for your faithfulness?

 

After 45 years of waiting, Joshua 14:13-14 was a significant moment in the life of Caleb, the faithful spy who stood for God and received the promise to survive the forty years of wilderness wanderings, and to find rest in the inheritance of the Promised Land:
 
“So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully.”

 

Caleb was forty years old when he was sent out to spy the land. Upon returning, after forty days, he gave his faithful report to Moses in Numbers 13:30,
 
“We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”
 
From their generation only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to enter it, but even that promise took a long time to unfold, as Caleb reminded Joshua in Joshua 14:10-12, when he made his request for God’s promise to be honored:

 

Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. … Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day.

 

Though rejected by man, Caleb was accepted by God and continued to live a faithful life. Caleb was a wholehearted man who followed God fully! Paul exhorts us to do the same in Colossians 3:23,
 
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”

 

Seize the moment and be a wholehearted person!

God bless you!

 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 

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Seize the Moment – Day 680

A Better Investment!

Joshua 13

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, January 26.

 

Are you investing?

 

In Joshua 13:14 and 33, it was emphasized that the Levites did not receive an inheritance of land:

 

Only to the tribe of Levi he did not give an inheritance; the offerings by fire to the Lord, the God of Israel, are their inheritance, as He spoke to him. … But to the tribe of Levi, Moses did not give an inheritance; the Lord, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as He had promised to them.

 

History would prove that the inheritance of Levi, who did not receive land, was far better, and more secure, than that of the firstborn Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (7-32). Like Lot had done in Genesis 13:11, they chose as their own what appeared to be the best of the land, and like Lot before them, there were consequences to their choice:

 

Their territories had no natural boundaries to the east and were therefore constantly exposed to invasion by the Moabites, Canaanites, Arameans, Midianites, Amalekites, and others. And when the king of Assyria looked covetously toward Canaan, Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh were the first to be carried into captivity by the Assyrian armies (1 Chron. 5:26).[1]

 

While the Levites had no inheritance of land, their inheritance of the God of Israel could not be taken from them and would ultimately be the only source of hope for the nation of Israel.

 

In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus teaches His followers to make better investments:

 

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

Seize the moment by choosing to make a better investment!

God bless you!

 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 
 

FOOTNOTES

 

[1] Donald K. Campbell, “Joshua,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 356.

 

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Seize the Moment – Day 679

Get a Lay of the Land!

Joshua 12

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, January 25.

 

Do you like maps? I do and, still, I get overwhelmed by all the locations in the Bible. Keeping it straight is like trying to remember the location of the 92 counties in Indiana, and I still get lost in Henry County!

 

Joshua 12 gives you a lay of the Promised Land. While verses 1-6 reviewed the land that Moses conquered to the east of the Jordan River, verses 7-24 cataloged the conquest of the western side of the Promised Land:

 

Now these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the sons of Israel defeated beyond the Jordan toward the west, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon even as far as Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir; and Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their divisions (7).

 

Now, pull out a biblical map because verses 9-24 list the 31 cities and their kings that were defeated: 16 in the southern portion and 15 in the northern portion.[1] Surprisingly, to us today, these kings were more like a group of disjointed mayors who reigned over city-states with only local authority. In all, these 31 kings ruled over a land approximately 150 miles for north to south and 50 miles from east to west, which averages about 252 square miles per king. By comparison, Indiana has a maximum dimension of 250 miles north to south and 145 miles east to west with 92 counties in it with Henry County being 392 square miles.

 

Imagine how much harder it would have been on Israel had these 31 kings forged an alliance and worked together, instead of only protecting their own local self-interest.

 

Seize the moment and take time to get a lay of the land in today’s divided world. Pray!

God bless you!

 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.
 
 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] Reference the map adjacent to this blog (“Extent of the Conquest,” Biblical Places Map. Logos Bible Software, 2009).

 

 

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Seize the Moment – Day 678

The Defeat of the Giants!

Joshua 11

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, January 24.

 

Is there a “giant” from your past that needs to be defeated so that you can answer God’s call upon your life?

 

Joshua 11:21-23 concludes the conquest of the Promised Land with the defeat of the giants – the Anakim:

 

Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained. So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Thus the land had rest from war.

 

This was a necessary conclusion to the conquest. Numbers 13:32-33 records how it was the Anakim who struck such a fear in the spies that they gave the bad report, causing the people to rebel against God and their forty years of wilderness wandering:

 

So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

 

In Deuteronomy 9:1-3, God spoke directly to the people’s fear of the giants when they stood at the entrance of the Promised Land. God knew of their historical fear and was pledging His protection, which he fulfilled in Joshua 11:21-23.

 

Seize the moment and do not fear any of the “giants” from your past. Trust God and watch Him win the victory in and through your life today.

 

God bless you!

 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Train to Live on Mission Today! (Overview Week 3)

The Training Routine of a Christian Soldier!

2 Timothy 2:1-4 (NAS95)

 

The Scripture lesson for today and the theme verse for the 2022 sermon series is found in 2 Timothy 2:1-4:

 

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

 

In the first two weeks, I covered the first two verses of this passage to learn how we are called to grow strong in the grace of God and how we are to live with a missional focus as good soldiers of Christ Jesus. These are the first two of four messages that lay a firm foundation for our study of the book of Proverbs. Today, I continue by examining the third verse of our theme passage: “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”

 

We are invited to learn how to train ourselves, according to God’s wisdom, to grow strong in God’s grace so that we can live on mission for God and not be distracted by that which is not God’s priority for our lives. While every book of the Bible can be used in a soldier’s training routine, I have chosen to focus upon the Old Testament book of Proverbs because of its direct approach to laying out the wisdom of God. Proverbs, like an Army field manual, unapologetically seeks to command you to align your thoughts and actions with the Commander’s (God’s) directives. Sid Buzzell explains this overall purpose of Proverbs in The Bible Knowledge Commentary:

 

Of the several words for wisdom and related synonyms used in Proverbs, the primary and most frequent one is ḥokmâḥ. It occurs 45 times in Proverbs. In the Old Testament ḥokmâh is used of the skill of craftsmen, sailors, singers, mourners, administrators, and counselors. These workers and others, being knowledgeable, experienced, and efficient in their areas of expertise, were considered skillful; they were therefore “wise.” Similarly in the spiritual realm a person who possesses ḥokmâh in reference to God is one who is both knowledgeable and experienced in following God’s way. So in the Bible’s Wisdom literature being wise means being skilled in godly living. Having God’s wisdom means having the ability to cope with life in a God-honoring way. … To be wise in the biblical sense one must begin with a proper relationship to God. To fear the Lord means to respect Him for who He is and to respond to Him in trust, worship, obedience, and service. If God is not honored and His Word not followed, then wisdom, as the Hebrew sages defined it, can never be attained. The purpose of the Book of Proverbs then, is to develop in others, especially the young, a wise, skillful approach to living, which begins with being properly related to the Lord.[1]

 

Just like with athletes who must learn the team playbook, soldiers must commit themselves to learning their field manuals. For example, as an infantryman, we had to learn FM 7-8, which covers all the basic doctrine around how to make decisive actions as a member of an infantry squad and platoon. It teaches you what are called battle drills. Army doctrine teaches that battle drills “are the ‘fundamentals’ that must be constantly rehearsed until they are second nature for all Soldiers.”[2]

 

What are the fundamentals of living a godly life that must be constantly rehearsed so that they are second nature and will be thought and lived decisively regardless of the stress or circumstance? That is the emphasis of our 2022 study of Proverbs – to learn God’s battle drills and train these fundamentals of the faith into our lives so that living on mission is second nature to us as good soldiers of Christ Jesus.

 

Furthermore, Army doctrine teaches that a “battle drill is a collective action executed by a platoon or smaller element without the application of a deliberate decision-making process.”[3] In other words, the action of both the individual soldier and his or her fellow soldiers must be vigorously trained into every soldier as a collective unit until they know it in their bones. Therefore, both the unit and each soldier must commit to the following training routine:

 

1) Know the manual.

2) Train together as one unit.

3) Seek the commander’s approval.

4) Live on mission.

 

Soldiers must participate in a strenuous battle drill training routine so that this all happens without a deliberate decision-making process – it must be trained so that it is a habit of grace! In other words, there are some things that just don’t require a committee meeting or congregational vote: We do these things because the Bible, our manual, commands us and we train them into our lives, our family’s lives, and into our church’s life so that we do what we know we are supposed to do, as individuals and as a unit, every time, regardless of the circumstances. We don’t need to second-guess the manual; we are to live according to the wisdom of God!

 

“SUFFER HARDSHIP WITH ME”

 

Just as Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:3, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” As every athlete and soldier has learned, to win the victory and accomplish the mission you must be willing to suffer hardship. Training godliness, as we learned in last year’s sermon series, which capitalized on Paul’s athletic imagery, requires a level of suffering that is commonplace in the life of an athlete, just as it is in the life of a soldier. Paul knew this and that is one of the reasons he leveraged this imagery for being a follower of Jesus. The daily reality of the training routine of both an athlete and a soldier are found in 1 Timothy 4:6-10:

 

In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

 

We not only see this in the athletic and military imagery of the Bible, but it is also in the familial imagery that is used so often. Listen to how the author of Hebrews teaches us to submit ourselves to the Father’s discipline in Hebrews 12:7-15a:

 

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God.

 

The training routine of a good soldier of Christ Jesus, just like the training regimen of an athlete on a championship team, or a child to a parent to be an effective and fruitful adult, requires suffering alongside of those who partake of the training with you. The form of the Greek word used by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:3 is only used in one other location, 2 Timothy 1:8. It means to partake in suffering together with another person. This is essential to realize as we develop the training routine of a good soldier, because Paul was not Rambo or the Lone Ranger, both of which are American icons that mislead adults in our culture from understanding the biblical view of maturity, which requires a cooperative view of life.[4] Learning to train on mission today means doing so with the other members of the unit. Paul explained this to his protégé in 2 Timothy 1:7-14:

 

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

 

Suffering hardship is about living according to a set pattern of life, established by God, and entrusted to His people, to be passed on to others who will then pass it on to others (2 Timothy 2:2). It is living according to the mission of God, which is focused on training others to live on mission as God has established for His people of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). The example of Moses is leveraged to make this point in Hebrews 11:24-26:

 

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.

 

The reward for faithful living can only be given by God (the Commander); therefore, every soldier must fix their eyes on that one reward: the Commander’s words, “Well done, good and faithful [soldier]” (Matthew 25:23). It is for this reason you have been enlisted. As the leading lexicon of the Greek New Testament, commonly called BDAG, explains about Paul’s usage of the Greek word for “soldier” in 2 Timothy 2:3, “[it is being used figuratively, but with] the major component of allegiance to a commander in the central [meaning] of ‘soldier’ as [its] defining aspect στ. Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ a soldier of Christ Jesus.”[5]

 

“AS A GOOD SOLDIER OF CHRIST JESUS.”

 

In 2 Timothy 2:3-4, Paul exhorts his protégé to be a good soldier, faithful to the mission of God with complete allegiance to the Commander, clearly being Jesus Christ:
 
“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”

 

It has become clear from our study of this scripture that both the Church of Jesus Christ and the individual members of the body of Christ, like good soldiers of Christ Jesus, must train to live on mission today according to the same training routine of any good soldier:

 

1) Know the manual – the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2) Train together as one unit – we are members of the one body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5).

3) Seek the Commander’s (God’s) approval – Jesus is the Head of His Church (Colossians 1:18-20).

4) Live on mission – the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

 

It is clear from Paul’s words in Philippians 2:19-22 that Timothy successfully committed himself to this training routine, under Paul’s supervision, to the point that Paul could send Timothy out on mission with full confidence:

 

But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.

 

It is important that we commit ourselves to this same task as Paul and Timothy did, and Paul commanded Timothy to carry on, and through that same command, we are instructed to carry on until the Lord returns or we go Home to Him. The author of Hebrews in Hebrews 12:2-3 exhorts us to do live the mission today:

 

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. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

The same forces of evil that raged against Jesus and proudly nailed Him to the Cross, are at work in the world today as Jesus taught us that “the thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). Paul expressed in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, to a church in the trenches of the battle in first century Corinth, a city under siege by the evil forces that are still seeking to destroy God’s Kingdom and usurp His rightful rule over the nations in the same ways today:
 

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

 

With an enemy like this, it requires a training routine that embraces suffering, not for the sake of suffering, but for the sake of learning obedience to the Commander who calls us to complete of the mission of God and live for the approval of the one who enlisted us. We cannot be distracted by lesser things nor disunified by lesser loyalties. We must train to live on mission today – we are the hope of the nations! Paul explained the purpose of the rigors of the training routine to the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 2:9-11:

 

For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

 

Do not be deceived, my brethren, and my fellow soldiers in Christ Jesus, we have an enemy who seeks to divide us, the people of God, and distract us from the mission of God. The mission is real! It is the purpose of your enlistment – it was for this that you have been saved! The enemy is real, but we neither need to fear him nor ignore him, for the victory is ours in Christ Jesus. For you, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, are invited to learn how to faithfully live by giving your full allegiance to Jesus Christ, submitting your life to His training manual, learning to work together as one unit, seeking God’s approval alone, and train to live on mission today.
 

Allow me to finish by praying over you Peter’s words from 1 Peter 5:6-11:

 

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Amen!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

You can listen to Pastor Jerry’s message here:

 

You can watch the video by clicking HERE.

 
 
 
 

FOOTNOTES:

 

[1] Sid S. Buzzell, “Proverbs,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 902.

[2] “The Importance of Battle Drills” by Risk Management Magazine on January 25, 2019. https://www.army.mil/article/216557/the_importance_of_battle_drills (accessed December 16, 2021).

[3] Ibid.

[4] These cultural icons have also fueled a misunderstanding of masculinity in our culture that has led to a discussion on toxic masculinity and misogynist leadership the American church. This is a popular topic of public discourse, especially with the viral success of Christianity Today’s “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill” podcasts (https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/podcasts/rise-and-fall-of-mars-hill/).

[5] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 948.


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Seize the Moment – Day 675

God Honors Integrity!

Joshua 10

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Friday, January 21.

 

In Joshua 10:6-7, Joshua demonstrated the highest form of integrity in his sacrificial decision to uphold the treaty with the Gibeonites even though the Gibeonites made the treaty using deception (Joshua 9):

 

Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us.” So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors.

 

Joshua faithfully responded and, in turn, God honored his integrity by giving him a successful military campaign, including the conquest of a substantial section of the Promised Land, as summarized in Joshua 10:41-43:

 

Joshua struck them from Kadesh-barnea even as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen even as far as Gibeon. Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. So Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.

 

All because Joshua let his yes be yes. Read Joshua 10 and you will be amazed at God’s supernatural intervention to bring about the victory. But the most amazing miracle of this story is not in God sending the large hailstones (11) or the stopping of the sun and the moon (12-14), but, rather, the integrity of a man named Joshua to honor his promise and lead his army in the defense of Gibeon. God honored Joshua’s integrity!

 

While many marvel at these supernatural events and pray for God’s direct activity in today’s world, I pray that God’s people would live with the integrity of Joshua.

 

Seize the moment and let your yes be yes (Matthew 5:37)! God will respond!

 

God bless you!

 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Seize the Moment – Day 674

Ask God First!

Joshua 9

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Thursday, January 20.

 

Have you ever been duped, swindled, hoodwinked, deceived, defrauded, or cheated?

 

Joshua and the leaders were hustled by the Gibeonites after Israel’s victories at Jericho and Ai. A large coalition of neighboring peoples was forming against the Israelites to fight (1-2), when a caravan arrived at their camp. Joshua 9:4-5 describes what Joshua and the leaders found upon inspection:
 
“worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins worn-out and torn and mended, and worn-out and patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and had become crumbled.”

 

Joshua and the leaders did their due diligence to inspect and to interview them. Everything seemed to line up with their story of being from far away and the people persuasively flattered the Israelite military victories and God’s miraculous powers. So, Joshua made a treaty with the Gibeonites.

 

The Israelite leaders seemed to have done everything they should have done to make an informed decision. But that was their error, they were trusting in themselves to make the decision! Joshua 9:14 clearly states where they went wrong,
 
“So the men of Israel … did not ask for the counsel of the Lord.”

 

Did Joshua get caught up in his role as a military commander and forget his spiritual responsibilities? Why did he forget to ask God?

 

When Joshua was commissioned for his leadership role in Numbers 27:18-21, he was commanded to inquire of God:
 
“Moreover, he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the Lord.”
 
This was his primary responsibility, as it is for every spiritual leader – to pray and seek God in every decision!

 

Seize the moment and ask God first! Before you make any commitments or decisions, seek God in the Word and through prayer.

God bless you!

 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Seize the Moment – Day 673

Obey God!

Joshua 8

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Wednesday, January 19.

 

Have you ever wondered why some things are permissible, while others are not? While I’m a rule-follower at heart, I do find it very interesting that in my lifetime I have watched things called evil be deemed good and that which used to be considered good now become morally wrong. It can be confusing, especially if you are focused on our everchanging culture.

 

The Israelites are facing the city of Ai after suffering a defeat because of the sin of Achan. Joshua has received a new battle plan from God. Joshua 8:1-2 captures a significant change in God’s commands between the battles of Jericho and Ai:

 

Do not fear or be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king just as you did to Jericho and its king; you shall take only its spoil and its cattle as plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it.

 

After the punishment of Achan, and the people’s willingness to root the evil out of their camp, God promised to give them the city of Ai. This time the Israelites were allowed to take plunder. If only Achan had waited upon the Lord to provide the increase!

 

In 1 Samuel 15:22-23a, Saul justified his disobedience to God’s battle plans, but Samuel explained what was most important:

 

Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.

 

Seize the moment and obey God! Submit yourself to His ways as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

 

God bless you!

 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Seize the Moment – Day 672

A Startling Defeat!

Joshua 7

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Tuesday, January 18.

 

Have you ever held a grudge or lingered on a hurtful thought? I have hidden things in my mind and heart that are not of God, and they have caused me to become weak and discouraged.

 

Joshua 7 is a sad story that starts with the startling defeat of the army of Israel at Ai (1-5). There was no military reason for their defeat, especially after the amazing victory at Jericho. The defeat was a spiritual one.

 

Listen to Joshua lead the people back to God in verse 13:

 

Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the Lord, the God of Israel, has said, ‘There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.’”

 

The defeat was caused by the sin of Achan, who coveted after the spoils of war and greedily hid in his tent that which God forbade (16-26). What he thought would go unnoticed and had justified in his mind and heart to help his family survive, caused great devastation.

 

The startling defeats often begin in our heads and hearts. Consecrate yourself to God and dedicate your heart and mind to Him by dwelling on thoughts that are worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

 

Psalm 139:23-24 teaches us the prayer of examen so that we don’t fall into the same trap of Achan:
 
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”

 

Seize the moment and consecrate yourself to God. Invite the Holy Spirit to inspect your heart and mind of anything that should not be there. Surrender it to God.

God bless you!

 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

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Seize the Moment – Day 671

Absolute Trust!

Joshua 6

 

Good morning! This is Pastor Jerry Ingalls from New Castle First Baptist Church and today is Monday, January 17.

 

Do you understand what it means to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus?

 

In today’s story, Joshua exemplified what Jesus praises in the centurion (Matthew 8:5-13) and how Paul exhorts Timothy (2 Timothy 2:3-4). Joshua received the battle plan from the “captain of the LORD’s host” (Joshua 5:14-15), and he executed it with great faith, even though it was unusual. God’s plan would have been unlike anything Joshua had ever heard. God directed him in Joshua 6:3-5 to lead the army to walk around the city wall of Jericho for seven days, once per day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day. Upon completion of which the priests were to blow seven trumpets and the people were to shout out with a great shout. Then the wall of the city would fall flat.

 

I can only imagine how Joshua, an experienced military leader, could think of all the reasons this plan would not work. And if this was Joshua’s burning bush moment, wouldn’t he, like Moses, second guess and argue against every point of God’s plan (Exodus 3:10-4:13)? But he doesn’t! Listen to verses 6-7 as Joshua executes the word of God:

 

So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” Then he said to the people, “Go forward, and march around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the Lord.”

 

The battle for Jericho was a decisive victory that brought great glory to God and fame to Joshua (27). All because Joshua believed God and acted with absolute trust in His Commander.

 

Seize the moment and like a good soldier, believe God, submit to His authority, and obey His Word in your daily life.

God bless you!

 
If you would like to receive a personal phone call today, all you have to do is dial the phone number below right now and one of us will call you soon.
 

YOUTUBE:

If you prefer a video, Pastor Jerry reads his devotion on YouTube as well. Click HERE to visit the page.
Videos are posted about a week after the devotion appears in the blog.

Read more...
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