"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:8-9
Every Sunday morning as I drive by the lake on the way to church, even in the winter, there are always guys out on their boats fishing for fish they can't eat (because of mercury in the water), and most often, so small they have to throw it back into the water anyway. If there ever was a pointless exercise, this is it.
From Spring to Fall, the brand new sports complex, with its six baseball/soccer fields, are packed with children and their minivan-driving parents playing the town version of little league baseball, or some community soccer thing. Sunday mornings are their favorite time to be overflowing with humanity. Afterwards, they may go through the Steak and Shake drive-thru for burgers and shakes and head home to relax for the next week's activities.
Golf courses are full on Sunday mornings. The over-priced Starbucks and others like it are packed with brunch-eaters and their electronics. The upscale set visit their favorite brunch or lunch place at the Crowne Plaza or the local Eatery or Bistro. Some just sleep in from the Saturday night hangover, or the late night movie watching so they can watch sports all day, cuss at the TV and eat nachos.
This is Western "Civilization". There is the alternate universe- people who are saying for all the world to hear, that their islam is NOT "the religion of peace", are systematically wiping out God's Elect - Christians - across the Middle East and Africa, Asia and Southeast Asia. This is happening in full brutal color while the turban-clad sad excuses for humans persecute the "people of the Cross", thinking they are getting back at the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The two parallels do not sync in the human consciousness. Most westerners, including presidents, prime ministers and kings, pretend the one thing (anti-Christian bigotry) does not exist and therefore, the residents of the west do not care either, about the barbarism from a violent 1400 year old religion. That includes the majority of celebrity American and other western church leaders, from Jakes to Osteen to Warren to Stanley to Brian Houston in Australia...none are even asking for prayer for the persecuted! They WILL be held accountable (by God) for that more than any secular politician, who calls themselves a Christian because "Christian" is a respectable title.
But for the people of the Book in persecuted Third World, Arabic and other nations and increasingly here in the west where the United States Supreme Court may soon legalize the persecution of Christ's church, God has the final word. He also has the same word He had because He never changes. The Words of God are written forever in the Heavens. They are written down in 66 Books of the Bible. They are real. They are powerful. They are real powerful and they are the Truth.
When Yahweh (I Am Who I Am, the real name of Jesus Christ) brought His people (Israel) out of slavery and captivity and into the Promised Land after a long time in the wilderness, He gave them this encouragement from Joshua Chapter 1 (see the two verses at the top of this post). This, as is emphasized by Paul, is NOT just for Joshua, but for all peoples of all times who are released from the bondage of sin, despair, death and hell by repentance and acceptance of Jesus as Messiah, Lord and ruler of our lives. This promise above stands firm, true and in effect for the following:
- The saints who are being murdered for being Christians since 2003 in Iraq and across the entire Middle East.
- The saints, from little kids in Christian schools in Nigeria and Kenya to entire villages in India and Pakistan, who are being tortured and burned alive by "men" of the "religion of peace".
- The saints who are slandered and worse in Ireland, England, Canada and increasingly in the United States, which was actually founded on Christian principles.
- The saints of the coming Tribulation. These are those who will be left behind when the "harpazo" or "taking up" or the "rapture" (from the Latin word for "taking up") happens before Revelation Chapter 6. There will be several million saved during the Tribulation but they will not survive after their conversion as the anti-Christ will be in charge of the world, when Christ takes His Elect home.
These words can be relied upon. The takeaways from His Promises in Joshua 1:8-9
**This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth - If you are truly born-again and know it and Christ lives in you, through the Holy Spirit, you instinctively know that this is true, that the Bible is true and His Promises are REAL!
** You shall meditate on it day and night - Because all His Words/Promises are true, embed it in every fiber of your being and it cannot help but shine through you as you live, walk, talk and operate as He would. There is NO other way to do this than through Prayer, Pleading, Pondering on and Proclaiming His Word.
** Be careful to do according to all that is written in it - This is not a passive, mindless religion with fictional benefits if you do "x, y or z". This is REAL....and really interactive. Be careful means - be obedient. The man or woman or child of God, through Christ, will automatically want to do what He said....and even when we fall short (sin), our consciences bring us back to the Cross in repentance and liberating joy! Only Jesus can do that!
** Be strong and courageous - this is a difficult one for real Christians in the west, when we see what is coming to our own countries. We see what it has cost people in China, North Korea and all the islamic and Hindu countries. But the most subtle persecution will be coming from those who call themselves Christians in the west, but are actually working against God. The only way to stand in this and be strong and full of courage is Radical Faith in the Son of God. Surrender to Christ equals standing in the face of danger and modern evil.
** Do not tremble or be dismayed - it is natural to tremble and shake in the face of rampant evil in the world today. But we are in the realm of the Supernatural. The Spirit Who raised Christ from the Dead on Resurrection morning, lives in every truly born-again believer. This is a cause for calm, contentment, certainty and courage in the face of what is happening now and the worse, which is yet to come.
God gives the bottom line to all of this in the final phrase of Joshua 1:9 and it is the reason for our Hope, Our Faith and our Standing. Yahweh says (in light of all of what He said previously in Verses 8 and 9), "for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go'.
I believe Him.
As for the Sunday morning do-nothing crowds in restaurants, ball-games and lakes, they have a relatively short time to wake up and see what is ahead of them, if they refuse to recognize Jesus, in this life, is their Lord and Messiah. Eternity is a long time to be separated from Him.