Overcoming Obstacles

joshua6Joshua 6 records the Victory that the Nation of Israel had when God gave them victory at Jericho. From this chapter and other scriptures there are 7 ways to overcome the obstacles that keep you or your church from being where God wants you to be.

  1. Realize that God has a PLAN. Joshua 6:2-5, Jeremiah 29:11
  2. Understand the place of PURITY in your life. Joshua 3:5, Joshua 5:2-10
  3. Exercise you FAITH in God. Joshua 6:7, Hebrews 11:1
  4. Practice PATIENCE on the Journey. Joshua 6:15, Psalm 40:1
  5. Control your SELF. Joshua 6:1, Proverbs 16:32
  6. Claim the PROMISES of God. Joshua 21:45
  7. Have confidence in the Spiritual LEADERS in your life. Joshua 6:27
Living with Assurance

Living with Assurance

Living with Assurance

2 Peter 3:1-18

Assurance is hard to come by. We hope the economy will get better, but there is no guarantee. We hope for good health, but sickness comes. We hope our relationships will be strong, but many time we struggle and hurt those we care about. Some of the things we hope for either don’t happen or don’t happen on our time schedule. When Jesus was talking to His disciples about the hard times they would experience when He would be betrayed, falsely convicted, and killed on a cross He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16: 33) Jesus is our source of peace and hope. Peter was there when Jesus said those words. Now at the end of 2 Peter, he is writing as “reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking” and to remind them what the Word of God says (2 Peter 3:1-2). By searching and studying the Word of God, we can live with assurance that God is in control and hold the future in His hand.

Peter warns the reader that there will be “scoffers” in the last days. Scoffers are individuals who show contempt for the Word of God and the people of God. During the time of the writing of 2 Peter, these scoffers challenged the second coming of Jesus saying, “Where is this coming he promised?” (2 Peter 3:4) Peter is continuing to defend the faith and the Word of God and offers the answer to this question. He reminds the reader that God created the Heavens and Earth. He is in control of creation and sets the timeline of history by His pleasure and plan. Peter describes how this creation is being reserved for a day of judgment and will see the destruction of ungodly men.

These scoffers question God’s timing and the validity of the claim that Christ will come again. The way we experience time is different than the way God experiences time. Peter writes, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) This verse is sometimes used to interpret the length of days of the creation account in Genesis. In the context of this passage, Peter is not explaining the length of creation, but how God is above time. We live in the confinement of time, but God does not.

Peter then writes, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Once Jesus comes again, the opportunity for people to repent of their sins and place their faith in Him will be over. For this reason, Peter writes about God’s patience with those who don’t know Him. Believers in Christ live to share the Gospel with a lost and dying world while looking forward to His coming.

Peter describes the “Day of the Lord.” New Testament writers used the term “Day of the Lord” to point to Christ’s final victory and the final judgment of sinners. (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary) Pastor Hank will be describing this day during his series through the book of Revelation.

Since this day of judgment is coming, Peter describes the kind of people we should be when he asks the question, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?” (2 Peter 3:11)

Peter answers this question:
Believers ought:

  • To live holy and godly lives. 2 Peter 3:11
  • Look forward to the day of God. 2 Peter 3:12, 14
  • Speed his coming by sharing the Gospel with all nations. 2 Peter 3:12
  • Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him. 2 Peter 3:14
  • Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men. 2 Peter 3:17
  • Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

Peter’s love for the church is evident as he writes to “stimulate” the church to wholesome thinking and action. Relying on the Word of God leads to assurance that God is in control. His is neither early nor late. He is perfectly on time and His purposes and His people will endure whatever future holds.


Hope, Love and Redemption

The book of Ruth in the Old Testament is a compelling story that contains hope, love and redemption.

During the time of the Judges, there was a famine in the land. The book of Ruth is the story of Naomi and Ruth making a pilgrimage back to the Promised Land where they encounter their Kindsmen-Redeemer, Boaz.

Elimelek, Ruth, and their two sons traveled to Moab to find food during the famine. While they were in Moab, their two sons married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. After the father and two sons die Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth are widows with a bleak future. Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem. During this journey Naomi tells her daughter’s-in-law to return to Moab where they can remarry and live out peaceful lives. Orpah decides to return, and Ruth refuses by expressing her commitment to Naomi and to her God.

Ruth 1:16-17 says,

16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”

This amazing confession represented Ruth’s commitment to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and a decisive rejection of the pagan religion of the Moabites. This is a bold statement of her faith in the God of Israel.

When they arrive in Bethlehem, Ruth begins gleaning in a field owned by Boaz. Ruth has a face to face conversation with Boaz which starts the most famous love story found in the Bible.

This love story becomes a representation of Jesus Christ and His relationship with His bride, the church. Like Ruth, we are lost and outside the covenant family of God. We are bankrupt with no hope of God’s mercy. But God took the initiative and provided a way for us to enter His family through faith in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Clear Application for Today

  • Commitment to family is valuable.
  • God blesses hard work.
  • God blesses His children in the midst of their circumstances.
  • God provided a Redeemer, His name is Jesus!


Judges 6-7  Gideon  The Reluctant Warrior

Judges 6-7 Gideon The Reluctant Warrior

Judges 6 – 7  Gideon – The Reluctant Warrior

In Judges 6, the people of God are once again turning their backs on God. To chasten His people, God hands them over to the Midianites. The chastening of God is evidence of His love for His people. The Midianites pillaged the land and destroyed their crops. This causes the Israelites to cry out to God for help. God raised up another Judge to deliver His people from the Midianites. His name was Gideon.

No one would have picked Gideon as a leader. He would not even have picked himself. His decisions were uncertain, and his faith was shaky. However, despite Gideon’s shortcomings, God used Gideon to bring glory to Himself and victory to the people of Israel. Gideon is a great encouragement to anyone who struggles with accepting themselves and believing that God wants to use them in a significant way.

After “fleecing God”, Gideon assembles an army to attack the Midianites. God leads him through a process of reducing His army down from 32,000 men to 300 men. God was making sure He got the glory for the victory. Gideon defeated the Midianite army and once again restored Israel.

Be Encouraged with this Clear Application

  • God listens to the cries of His people.
  • God uses ordinary, even reluctant, people to do His work.
  • Victory is not found in skill or number, but in the power of God.
  • Strategy and focus are important.
  • God is not done with us even though we fail.
A Soft Heart Towards God

A Soft Heart Towards God

Mark 4:1-20. In the Parable of the Soils Jesus identifies four different soil types and teaches a lesson on the condition of our hearts and how receptive we are to the Word of God.

The Seed = The Word of God

The Sower = Servant of God who shared the Word with others

The Soil = The human heart

The Hard Heart

  • Resists the Word of God
  • Easy for Satan to snatch away biblical truth before it takes root
  • Must be plowed up before it can receive seed
  • Represents a heart that is completely closed to the Word of God
  • The enemy of the hard heart is Satan

The Shallow Heart

  • Thin Soil with bedrock underneath
  • What ever is planted has no root and will not last
  • Receives the Word with “joy” representing an emotional response
  • The emotional response ends when the pressure of this life crash back in
  • The enemy of the shallow Heart is emotions that don’t lead to a changed life. Being “moved” but not “changed”

The Crowded Heart

  • Seed is sown among the weeds and the weeds choke out the Word’s work
  • “But the worries of this life, deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” v19
  • This is a person that hears about the “narrow way” but remains on the “broad way.” Matthew 7: 13-14
  • The enemy of the crowded heart is the things of the world

The Fruitful Heart

  • The True Believer and the person that has a soft heart before God and His Word
  • The only fruit bearing plant demonstrating true conversion and true change
  • Produces a crop well beyond the plants normal capacity
  • God causes the increase EXPLODING into a rich harvest

God, grant us soft hearts that You may do Your work deep down in our hearts.