Monday, November 23, 2009

Joshua ch.1-5 (some thoughts)

The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh received their inheritance of the Promised Land on the east side of the Jordan River. However, they were not allowed to enter their rest (land) until they had helped the rest of Israel get theirs on the west side of the Jordan River. Did the rest of Israel really need their help? No (aside from maybe some moral support), God was the one winning all the battles, and often in some pretty amazing ways. I think as Christians today we too often view our salvation as an individualistic/personal goal or promise. It’s true Jesus died for me, and that God loves ME more than I could probably ever know. This is all true and more than wonderful, but then we seem to, instead of living this new life of hope for His name, tend to forget that we are one body in Christ. That Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and that all who believes will have everlasting life. So if we are one body though individual members of it, we must by faith use the gifts we’ve been given for the building up and sustaining of the body (Church). We must lift up the fallen, supply the needy, encourage the persevering, and care for and love all those who call on His name. Just like in our bodies the heart pumps the blood, the lungs provide the oxygen, and our body’s parts work together for the whole. What happens if there are some rogue cells acting on their own; caring only for themselves, and living in the body propagating cells that are likewise renegade? We call them cancer and the whole body suffers for their sake, until it’s cured or the cancer removed.
We mustn’t ignore other believers who are struggling like the rich man did to Lazarus (Luke 16:19) regardless if they are on our door steps or half way around the world. We have been given a measure and if we freely give we shall freely receive. Sure we may say true things like, “God will help them. After all He loves them too, besides He doesn’t need me. And realistically speaking I couldn’t do much of anything anyhow.” But the bride of Christ Jesus is a collective and just like this passage in Joshua we must join together as Christ’s church/body, together claiming His promises until we all receive of His goodness upon His return. So let’s not be selfish and ignore His word.

Matthew 25:31-46 31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. 34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.' 37"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? 39When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?' 40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.' 41"Then He will say to those on His left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, I needed clothes and You did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and You did not look after Me.' 44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help You?' 45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.' 46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

So then we in Christ will bear good fruit. Don't be afraid of your old self and fleshly lusts but remember that in Christ we are a new creation, so put that old nature to death (so to speak) let us not be deceived by the enemy and become selfish lay bouts who are too caught up in our society, in its worries, pleasures, and riches that we bear no good fruit. The Fruits of His Spirit are Love, joy, Peace, Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are gifts from Him that we bear not produce. Let us do the good, which we can now by His grace do, and together rejoice in the love of God!

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