Don’t Worry

shutterstock_424352959.jpgMatthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


What worries you today?

Is it your health?  Your kids?  Your marriage?  The election?  Finances?  Eternity?

There are a million things we can try to lean into when we are worried.  But given enough time we will realize that there is only One thing that stands the test.

God is faithful.  God is good.  God is able.  God loves you.

What are some of your “go to” solutions when you are worried?  Are any of those solutions from God?  Are there any of those “solutions” that aren’t from God?

There are a number of ways we can seek God’s kingdom when we are worried.  God has given us the gift of prayer to join in conversation at any moment with the One who spoke the universe into existence.  God has given us the gift of His Word, the Bible, written and preserved for thousands of years and full of His wisdom.  God has also given us the gift of godly others.

Talk to God today about whatever worry or anxiety you are carrying.  Be honest with Him knowing that He cares for you.

A Good Father

shutterstock_128862511.jpgJudges 2:11-16

11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.

16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders.


What does the love of a father look like? A dad takes time off to go fishing with his son. A daughter tells her friends her dad bought a beautiful dress just because he loved her. Words to describe a good father are kind, giving, protecting, and the list can go on.

But words like disciplinarian, or judge don’t usually come to mind. We like to think of the soft side of the love of a father, but not the hard side of his love. But the hard side of a father’s love is love too.

Joshua, the leader of Israel, died. The people continued to follow God. Unfortunately, the next generation forgot him. They worshipped false gods. God would have been just to walk away. But he didn’t. He loved them.

His love kept him close, but he didn’t manipulate the rebellious people into following him. His love allowed them to walk away. He didn’t want puppets. His loved watched as they went backward. His heart was broken. But he kept on loving even when they hit rock bottom. Then they turned back and called to him.

He could have laugh from a distance as they wallowed in the consequences of their own choices. But he didn’t. In his love, grace, and patience as soon as they called out he responded. He sent a Judge to deliver them. And the cycle of rebellion, suffering, and rescuing happened again and again.

His love is patient even in your rebellion. You make wrong choices. Those choices become habits, and those habits become a lifestyle. But the love of God is waiting for you to turn away from sin and back to him.

Are you running from God right now? The loving father is waiting for your first moment back to him. Call out to him. He will rescue from your sin.

Can you remember a time when God, the loving father, rescued you from your sin, when you turned to him? Take a moment to thank Him.

Maybe Tomorrow

shutterstock_241260808.jpgJudges 2:6-10

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.

Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten.And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.


Do you know what I have nightmares about? Procrastination. I have nightmares about being back in college, and having a paper due that I haven’t started yet. I wake up in a cold sweat and with a giant pit in my stomach. It’s a feeling I know all too well, because that’s basically how my entire college career went. I graduated! And on time! But it was done pulling lots of all nighters. And now I have nightmares, even though I haven’t handed in a late paper in more than a decade!

Solomon talks about not putting off til tomorrow what can be done today in Proverbs 6:4. This is such a great reminder as we read this verse about the death of Joshua. How is it that only one generation after the amazing feats of Moses and Joshua, that no one knew of the Lord or all the work that he had done for Israel? One generation! That’s madness! This isn’t a terrible reflection on Joshua, but on the people around Joshua who should have been proclaiming the name of the Lord from the rooftops of the Promised Land that Joshua led them into.

How are you passing on the goodness of our God to this generation, and the next?

If you are doing something amazing – let us know in the comments! We would love to hear about it! And if you, like myself, and so many before you, and around you, are a procrastinator at heart, and are putting off til tomorrow what NEEDS to be done today – repent! Change your ways today! Tell someone about what God is doing in your life, and has done. Your testimony is a powerful tool that God has given to you to glorify Him. Do not let procrastination be a nightmare that haunts you, and cause you to play the coulda woulda shoulda game, at the cost of people’s salvation, and people knowing about who God is.

Lord, I repent for not always doing what you are asking me to do. Help me to know what I should be doing to glorify you, and to make your name famous in this generation and the next. Amen.

As for me and my house…

shutterstock_150303686.jpgJoshua 24:14-18

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! 17 It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”


Have you ever struggled to make a decision?

At least twice a week I have the same conversation.  It goes like this: “Where do you want to go for lunch?”  “I don’t care.”  “Me neither.”  “Well, just pick a place.”  “I really don’t care. Everything sounds good to me.”  “Okay, Chipotle.”  “No, I just had Chipotle yesterday.”

The more people that are involved in this decision, the more frustrating this conversation can become.  Usually, I get to a point where I crack and yell, “JUST CHOOSE!”

Joshua is doing that here in this passage.  The people have been wavering on whether or not they will follow God.  They may SAY that they want to follow God, but when it comes time to take action they don’t actually DO anything to obey Him.

We all run the risk of falling into the same trap.

Where have you been wavering on whether or not you will follow God?

Jesus gives a message to the church in Revelation 3…

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Jesus, help me to choose this day Whom I will serve and to follow it up with my actions.  Amen.

Last Words

shutterstock_240726889.jpgJoshua 23:1-3,6-8

After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man, summoned all Israel—their elders,leaders, judges and officials—and said to them: “I am very old. You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was theLord your God who fought for you. 

“Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.

 


A number of years ago, my mother-in-law passed away after a battle with cancer. Before she passed away, she gathered her children around her. They sang songs together, they shared memories, and she gave some last minute requests to them. As she passed away late that night, there was a very real awareness that the last words she spoke had great meaning because she was aware that they would be the last she spoke in this life.

In this passage, we see Joshua in a very similar situation. He has lived his life, and has led Israel for many years as they conquered the Promised Land that God gave to them. He is aware that the time has come for him to pass on his leadership, and to make a final challenge to the people of Israel before he dies.

The theme to Joshua’s message before all the people of Israel: Remember what God has done, and commit to follow God for the rest of your life. This challenge is repeated many times throughout the last part of the book of Joshua. Remember and Commit.

Many followers of Jesus want to make a “one-time” commitment to live for Jesus that will inoculate us from ever wandering. That is not how the broken human heart works. We wander and then have to recommit to follow God with our lives. The opportunity we have daily is to recommit to following Jesus. To ask God daily to work in our lives and cause us to hunger for Him.

This past weekend, we saw 196 people get baptized at all our Sun Valley campuses. Each person made a public profession that it is their desire to follow Jesus all the days of their lives. That desire comes down to a day by day, moment by moment decision.

What is your commitment today?

“Jesus, thank you for dying for me. Today I choose to live for you. Amen.”

Stones of Remembrance

shutterstock_212291194.jpgJoshua 3:14-4:7

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”


God’s people need reminders.

The problem with forgetting is that we don’t know that we have forgotten.

God knows that we are fickle, quick to forget all the amazing things that He has done and demonstrated.  Because of this reality, God established a tradition of setting out reminders to create conversations with the next generation.  In this case, He had the people stack stones to commemorate God’s miraculous provision.

Take a moment to think back on moments of God’s faithfulness.  Perhaps it was an answered prayer.  Perhaps it was the day you said “Yes” to Jesus.  Maybe it was celebrating somebody who you love getting baptized.  Whatever the moment, don’t underestimate how easy it is to forget.

What would it look like for you to create a “stone of remembrance”?

Is there a sign you need to place in your home?  A calendar reminder? A picture?  An actual stone to commemorate the moment?

The stones were meant to be a reminder for Israel but also a conversation starter for the next generation.  How can you tell the story of God’s faithfulness in your life to the next generation?

Father, help me to never forget Your faithfulness.  Thank you for rescuing me.  Amen!

Making Your Life Count

shutterstock_64661470.jpgJoshua 1:1-9

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”


There are a lot of things that bring satisfaction in life. For some it’s a career. For others it’s adventure and the list can go on. But there is one thing that brings greater satisfaction than any of the others.

Moses led Israel to the Promise Land. At the end of the journey he didn’t get the privilege to lead the people into the promise land. But in another sense he did.

In the wilderness wanderings, Moses was training, mentoring, and preparing Moses Jr. His name was Joshua. Joshua couldn’t have led the Israelites without what Moses modeled before him. As you read the book of Joshua, you see so much of Moses in him.

Moses led the people through the struggle. Joshua led the people to victory. One built on the other. I am sure Moses looked down from heaven with a smile on his face, “That’s my boy!”

Who around you can you influence to carry on the mission of Christ beyond your generation?

What’s one more step you can take to model a life of dependence on God that can empower others to follow Christ?

You don’t have to lead a great movement. You can impact a single person who can impact the next generation. There’s no more satisfying investment.

Father, help me to invest well into the next generation.  Amen.