Sowing Seeds For The Future

Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses. … The Lord commanded through Moses that you give us [Levites] towns to live in… (Joshua 20:2; 21:2).

The Israelite leadership designated 6 cities of refuge and 48 Levitical cities. It was a big responsibility for the leadership of those towns to protect both the innocent person who was being pursued by the avenger of blood, and ensuring that the Levites were taken care of.

There is one city that particularly stands out to me: Hebron.

This city was formally called Kiriath Arba: so named after the biggest, baddest of the Anakite giants who had lived there. This is the strongly-fortified city that was inhabited by not one—but three!—giants that the 85-year-old Caleb defeated (15:13-14).

Hebron became both a city of refuge and a Levitical city. Caleb also secured Debir, which became a Levitical city too (15:15-17; 20:7; 21:11-15). Later on, Hebron would be David’s capital city for seven years until he moved his throne to Jerusalem.

A mark of a godly leader is one who sows the seeds that others will harvest.

What would have happened if Caleb hadn’t defeated those giants?

Or if he wasn’t willing to take on the added responsibilities for fugitives and priests?

Caleb conquered in his lifetime to benefit people for hundreds of years after he was gone!

God still needs these forward-looking, boldly-conquering servant leaders. I want to be a leader like that, and I hope you do too! 

This is part 46 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.

Thursdays With Spurgeon—Freed From Captivity And Fear

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Freed From Captivity And Fear

…The Lord has come from Sinai into His sanctuary. When You ascended on high, You took many captives; You received gifts from people, even from the rebellious—that You, Lord God, might dwell there. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, Who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death. Surely God will crush the heads of His enemies… (Psalm 68:17-20). 

     The Lord Jesus, by His glorious victory here below, has subdued all our adversaries, and in His going up on high, He has triumphed over them all, exhibiting them as trophies. The imagery may be illustrated by the triumph of Roman conquerors. They were known to pass along the Via Sacra and climb up to the capitol, dragging at their chariot wheels the vanquished princes with their hands bound behind their backs. Christ has vanquished all those powers that held you captive. Whatever form your spiritual slavery took, you are fully delivered from it, for the Lord Christ has made captives those whose captives you were. ‘Sin shall not have dominion over you’ (Romans 6:14). … 

     True, the flock of the Lord is too feeble to force its way. But listen, ‘The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it; their king will pass before them, with the Lord at their head’ (Micah 2:13). Easily may the sheep follow where the Shepherd leads the way! We have but to follow those heavenly feet that once were pierced and none of our steps will slide! Move on, O soldiers of Jesus, for your Captain cries, ‘Follow Me!’ … 

     How often we groan because the battle does not go as we would desire it! Yet there is no reason for dismay. God is in no hurry as we are. He dwells in the leisure of eternity and is not the prey of fear as we are. … He knows what He is going to do and we may lay our heads upon His bosom and rest quietly.

From Our Lord’s Triumphant Ascension

When we follow Jesus—The Ultimate Victor—we need fear NOTHING!

Listen to our Conquering God’s promise—You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves Me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name. He will call on Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.” (Psalm 91:13-19) 

As I’ve said before, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that to be a Christian and to be fearful is a sin. A fearful Christian gives God no praise, robs Him of glory, and paints God in a bad light. A happy, secure Christian knows the Lord is his strength, his comfort, his supply. A happy Christian lifts God high and invites others to know this All-Good, All-Happy King too!

Live in Christ’s victory today—and every day!

Thursdays With Spurgeon—Our Fight For Faith

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Our Fight For Faith

     Our faith at times has to fight for its very existence. The old Adam within us rages mightily, and the new spirit within us, like a young lion, disdains to be vanquished; and so these two strong ones contend, till our spirit is full of agony. …

     Christ alone was tempted in all points as we are, though without sin. No one man is tempted in all points exactly like another man, and each one has certain trials in which he must stand alone amid the rage of war, with not even a book to help him, or a biography to assist him—no man ever having gone that way before except that one Man whose trail reveals a nail-pierced foot. He alone knows all of the devious paths of sorrow. Yet even in such byways, the Lord is with us, helping us, sustaining us, and giving us grace to conquer at the close. … 

     So satan, loath to leave a soul, pursues it hotfoot. He will have it back if he can; and often, soon after conversion, there comes a time of dreadful conflict, when the soul seems as if it could not live. … 

     Once, when the tempter had grievously assailed me, I went to see my dear old grandfather. I told him about my terrible experience, and then I wound up by saying, “Grandfather, I am sure I cannot be a child of God, or else I should never have such evil thoughts as these.” 

     “Nonsense, Charles,” answered the good old man. “It is just because you are a Christian that you are thus tempted. These blasphemies are no children of yours; they are the devil’s brats, which he delights to lay at the door of a Christian. Don’t you own them as yours; give them neither house-room or heart-room.” 

From The Autobiography Of Charles Spurgeon

The apostle Peter says our adversary the devil continually prowls around looking for a follower of Jesus that he can devour. This shouldn’t be surprising to us since Jesus said that the devil’s agenda was to steal, kill, and destroy. (See 1 Peter 5:8-9; John 10:10.)

But the apostle Paul also tells us that we aren’t supposed to be unaware of the devil’s schemes. Instead, we are to capture every thought and make them obedient to Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5). That means, as Spurgeon’s grandfather counseled him, we recognize those evil thoughts as the devil’s brats and don’t allow them to take up room in our house nor our heart. 

Stand firm—those who are in Christ are more than conquerors! 

Thursdays With Oswald—Winning The Spiritual Fights

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Winning The Spiritual Fights

“The love of God in Christ Jesus is such that He can take the most unfit man—unfit to survive, unfit to fight, unfit to face moral issues—and make him not only fit to survive and to fight, but fit to face the biggest moral issues and the strongest power of satan, and come off more than conqueror.” 

“The devil is a bully, but when we stand in the armor of God, he cannot harm us; if we tackle him in our own strength we are soon done for.” 

“It is never wise to under-estimate an enemy. We look upon the enemy of our souls as a conquered foe; so he is, but only to God, not to us.” 

From Run Today’s Race

Run Today’s Race contains short statements from Oswald Chambers intended to stimulate Christians to ponder things like:

  • Have I disqualified myself from the fight because I view myself as “unfit”?
  • Do I know how deeply God really loves me?
  • Am I daily putting on God’s armor?
  • Am I trying to fight satan in my own strength, or in God’s strength?

Thursdays With Oswald—Out Of The Wreck I Rise

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Out Of The Wreck I Rise 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39

     The Apostle Paul is not talking of imaginary sentimental things, but of desperately actual things, and he says we are “more than conquerors” in the midst of them all, super-conquerors, not by our wits or ingenuity, our courage or pluck, or anything other than the fact that not one of them can separate a man from the love of God in Christ Jesus. … 

     The word “tribulation” has its roots in the Latin tribulum—a sledge for rubbing out corn; literally, a thing with teeth that tears. … 

     “Anguish” comes from a word meaning to press tightly, to strangle, and the idea is not a bit too strong for the things people are going through. … Can the love of God in Christ hold there, when everything says that God is cruel to allow it, and that there is no such thing as justice and goodness? Shall anguish separates us from the love of God? No, we are more than conquerors in it, not by our own effort but by the fact that the love of God in Christ holds. … 

     In every one of “these things” logic is shut up. … A man can go through tribulations which make you hold your breath as you watch him; he goes through times that would knock the wits out of us and make us give way to blasphemy and whimperings. He is not blind or insensitive, yet he goes through in marvelous triumph—what accounts for it? One thing only, the fact that behind it all is the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Spiritually, morally, and physically the saint is brought clean through, triumphant, out of the wreck wrought by tribulation, anguish, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and sword. Whatever maybe the experiences of life, whether terrible and devastating or monotonous, it makes no difference, they are all rendered impotent, because they cannot separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. “Out of the wreck I rise” every time. 

From The Saints In A Disaster Of Worldliness

Thank You, Jesus, that because of Your love “out of the wreck I rise” every time.

Poetry Saturday—See How The Patient Jesus Stands

See how the patient Jesus stands,
Insulted in His lowest case!
Sinners have bound the Almighty hands,
And spit in their Creator’s face.

With thorns His temple gored and gashed
Send streams of blood from every part;
His back’s with knotted scourges lashed,
But sharper scourges tear His heart.

Nailed naked to the accursed wood
Exposed to earth and heaven above,
A spectacle of wounds and blood,
A prodigy of injured love!

Hark! how His doleful cries affright
Affected angels, while they view;
His friends forsook Him in the night,
And now His God forsakes Him too!

Behold that pale, that languid face,
That drooping head, those languid eyes!
Behold in sorrow and disgrace
Our conquering Hero hangs, and dies!

Ye that assume His sacred name,
Now tell me, what can all this mean?
What was it bruised God’s harmless Lamb,
What was it pierced His soul but sin?

Blush, Christian, blush: let shame abound:
If sin affects thee not with woe,
Whatever life is in thee found,
The life of Christ thou doest not know. —Joseph Hart

Thursdays With Oswald—The Fight That Builds Strong Character

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Fight That Builds Strong Character 

     Morality is not something with which we are gifted, we make morality; it is another word for character. … Morality is not only correct conduct on the outside, but correct thinking within where only God can see. … 

     God gives us a new disposition, the disposition of His Son; then we have to work out what He has worked in, and the way we react in the circumstances God engineers for us produces character. … 

     Remember, morality is produced by fight, not by dreaming, not by shutting our eyes to facts, but by being made right with God; then we can make our morality exactly after the stamp of Jesus Christ. 

From The Fighting Chance

This book focuses on the passage in Romans 8:28-39, in which the Apostle Paul explains that despite any difficulty or uncertainty we face, nothing can separate us from God’s love.

When someone surrenders to God and invites Jesus into their life as Savior and Lord, God gives that person a brand new disposition. This new outlook on life, and this new strength within, allows the Christian to fashion a new morality and strength of character that he was unable to fashion before he was a Christian.

Don’t be afraid of the fight, because in Christ you are a conqueror. Don’t run from the fight, because it builds Christlike character. Don’t despair in the fight, because nothing will ever separate you from the love of God which put His Holy Spirit in you.

Your spiritual fight builds Christlike character in you like nothing else can!

The Profit Of Persecution

“Jesus Christ not only warned that persecution would come, He went further and said that it was profitable to go through persecution [Matthew 5:11-12; 2 Corinthians 12:10]. …

“No one understands your circumstances but God, and He has given you the fighting chance to prove you can be more than conqueror in all these things. Let God lift you out of the broken place, out of the the bedraggled place. Let Him put within you the Holy Spirit so that you can face the music of life and become more than conqueror in every place where you have been defeated. …

“The Apostle Paul seems to be never tired of comparing the Christian life to a fight, and a fight against tremendous odds, but always a winning fight. …

“We cannot be more than conquerors if there is nothing to fight! Our Lord Himself and the Spirit of God in the Epistles make it very clear that everything that is not of God will try its best to kill His life out of us; yet instead of doing that it makes us all the stronger. …

“The grace of God will make us marvelously impervious to all the onslaughts of tribulation and persecution and destitution because we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and cannot be awakened up to self-pity. God sends His rough weather and His smooth weather, but we pay no attention to either because we are taken up only with the one central thing—the love of God in Christ Jesus.” —Oswald Chambers, in The Fighting Chance

Thursdays With Oswald—You Can Be A Terror To The Devil

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

You Can Be A Terror To The Devil

      Jesus Christ came to fit men to fight, He came to make the lame, the halt, the paralyzed, the all but sin-damned, into terrors to the prince of this world. … 

     That is what Jesus Christ can do by His marvelous salvation; He can put into the man whose energy has been sapped by sin and wrong until he is all but in hell, a life so strong and full that satan has to flee whenever he meets him. Is there a man here who would not give his right arm, nay, his very life, if God would fit him to fight, and make him more than conqueror over sin and satan and circumstances? Thank God, He can do it! Oh, let me repeat it, I do not care how defaced you may be morally, how weak and backslidden, I do know that Jesus Christ can make you more than conqueror as you draw on His Resurrection life. … 

     Is tribulation making you wilt? making you swoon for sympathy? making you stagnate? It is an easy business to want to get away from tribulation, but fighting makes us strong, gloriously strong. 

From The Fighting Chance

Oswald Chambers says God wants to make you a terror to the devil … a warrior that causes satan to flee … an irresistible force for God’s Kingdom!

Paul said we are more than conquerors through Jesus (Romans 8:37), and thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14).

How do you become this irresistible conqueror? Chambers says it’s when “we let Him have His right of way through us [that] He begins to unveil something more of His purposes in our lives.”

Are you ready?!

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