Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

1/10/2018

Randall Caselman

 

Spiritual Success in 2018

 

  The Book of Joshua is about fresh starts and new beginnings. It’s an outstanding example of how God can use ordinary men and women like us. Those willing to submit in faith. Moses is dead! Now, someone, an ordinary, must step up and lead Israel. Will that be you? Me? Who? Read Joshua chapter one again.

 

  Listen to God. He's still saying: "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. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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... Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

  Standing on the banks of the flooding Jordan, Israel faces afresh a new life they had not known for hundreds of years. In many ways 2018 finds God's people standing on a flooded Jordan. The world, America, is turning more and more against God and His people. Christianity is no longer popular, no longer the favored religion. What do we do? How do we live?

 

  First, we must hear God’s call. Do you believe God is calling people today? I hope you do! We'll never respond to His voice if we don't believe He is speaking to us, calling us.

 

  Peter told his Jewish audience in Acts 2.39: "The promise of forgiveness and gift of the Holy Spirit was for all who are far off, for all whom the Lord our God will call."

 

  God has a purpose for your life and mine. No, He's not looking for talent. He gifts and equips us as He wishes: Ephesians 2.10 "God is at work in us more than we can ask or imagine." Philippians 1.6 "Be confident that He will finish the work He has started in you."  4.16 "He will meet all our needs according to His riches." The Hebrews Writer says God stands ready to equip us for every good work. Listen! Listen! Be a Joshua, an Isaiah: "Here am I Lord use me."

 

  We must be strong and courageous. Joshua had some weaknesses. We all do, so God reminded him to be careful in these areas of his life. Notice: Joshua 1.6 "Be strong and courageous in leadership. Take My people to the Promise Land." Verse 7, "Be strong and courageous in doctrine, do all according to the Law I gave Moses."Verse 9, "Be strong and courageous, don' be afraid for I am with you." "We too can say with confidence, The Lord is my helper... I will not be afraid of what man can do to me" (Hebrews 13.6).

 

  Be faithful to the word. Read Joshua chapter one again. Note that God challenges Joshua to do four things with His Word:

 

  Know it! There's no way we can be God’s people and person without knowing His will in our life. Biblical literacy is a real problem in our culture. So it was in Joshua’s time. Do we really know enough Bible to be spiritually successful? Sobering question! Make a commitment to be into the Word daily in the new year.

 

  Meditate upon it. To a large extent, meditation in the Word is a lost art, or at least, misunderstood. When we hear the word, we see someone sitting cross legged, hands folded, in some kind of trance. God wants us to study. Meditation is thinking about what we're reading. Thinking about how He would have us apply His principles to life. Paul admonishes us to "Study to become approved unto God...Rightly dividing the word of truth." WHY? "Because you know the holy Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3.15 & 2.15). No wonder Paul admonishes us to... Study to show yourself approved.

 

  Obey it completely. Spiritual success is not departing from the Word, to the right or to the left. Wouldn't it be great if we would stop engaging in the argument of liberal and conservative, and just be a people and person of the Word? Genuine spiritual success is allowing each person to be convinced and convicted by the Word to simply walk as God asked us to walk. When will we learn to simply do as God asked without insisting on either a new hermeneutic, tradition, or old paths, but God's path? Amen?

 

  Do not let it depart from your mouth. God reminds Joshua and us that we are to share Him with others, be teachers of the Word. We're commissioned and expected to share the good news of God’s blessings and commandments with others. The primitive church understood this; They went everywhere preaching the Word. Question?... How many times this week did the Word of the Lord find its way to our lips?

 

  Have a sense of God’s presence. "For the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go" verse 9. No matter how dark the road, how difficult the path, how uncertain the future, how fierce the opposition, God is with us: Even in the shadow of death. Jesus promises "until the end of the age." The Hebrews' writer has God repeating, "I will never leave you, I will never forsake you." Understanding this Emmanuel Principle, having a sense of His presence, will accomplish three things: It will make us better people because we hide nothing from God, He sees all. Understanding His omnipresence, omniscience, is a tremendous force, a powerful motivation for us to be better. Having a sense of His presence helps us overcome our fears. God says: Joshua, Randall, (Your Name) don't be afraid, don't be terrified." If we live, He promises to work all things out to our benefit. If we die, we go to be with Him forever. Talk about a promise of success!

 

  Be ready to claim God’s promises. God has made us some great promises that are ours if we'll be like Joshua. Two of our promises: Matthew 6.25-34 "Don't worry about what you shall eat or drink, what you shall wear for the pagans seek after these things. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these thing will be given to you as well." John 14.1-6 "In My Father’s house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again to take you where I am."

 

  Indeed, our world is turning away from Jehovah God. Our religious faith is being mauled, mocked, and shamed; God's Word is no longer the basis for our laws. Our courts no longer uphold His principles. However we can still be spiritually successful in the New Year. Let's let Joshua speak on our behalf: "Choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24.15).

 

—Randall Caselman