In Numbers 13, Moses sent out twelve spies, one from each of the tribes of Israel, to spy out the Promised Land. Ten came back with a bad report – the cities are fortified and very large, the people are powerful, and there are giants in the land. We’re like grasshoppers compared to them.
In contrast, Joshua and Caleb came back with a good report. They told Moses the land was big but God was bigger and He was with them. They were well able to posses the land.
The interesting thing is that the bad report spread through the people like wildfire. The people were so distressed by the negative report, they complained against Moses and Aaron and said they would die in the wilderness, and their children and wives would be taken as plunder. No one paid attention to Caleb and Joshua’s message of faith. Why? Because a negative report always spreads faster than a positive one. As human beings, we default to the negative.
Notice what God says in Numbers 14. “…just as you have spoken in My ears, so I will do to you. In this wilderness your corpses will fall, and all…who have murmured against Me, you will not go into the land which I swore by My hand to cause you to dwell in it, except Caleb…and Joshua…” (verses 28-30). The ten spies got what they said.
Our words are SO important. “The tongue has power over life and death; those who indulge it must eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 CJB). In one translation, the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:37 read like this: “Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation” (MSG).
What do you do when you receive a bad report from your doctor, banker, spouse? What they say may be fact, but don’t forget, God’s Word is truth. Do you listen to the bad report or do you cling to and speak the promises of God? As believers, when we get a bad report and don’t receive it, we are like salmon, swimming against the current to reach their birthplace so they can lay their eggs. If we'll allow Him, the Holy Spirit living in us will give us the strength to STAND on God's Word, despite circumstances and reports.
Joshua and Caleb got what they said. Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Caleb was forty years old when he was sent out with the eleven other spies. Because of their unbelief, he and Joshua had to wander in the wilderness for forty years. When Caleb was eight-five years old, he told Joshua he was just as strong as the day the Lord sent him to spy out the land. Joshua gave him Hebron as his inheritance.
You may be wondering about my title. Who were Lieber and Uri? I don’t know, but they may have been the names of two of the ten spies who brought the negative report. They never made it into the promised land because of their unbelief and disobedience. Like Joshua and Caleb, they were called to be history makers, but instead, ended up in obscurity. Their confession didn’t line up with the Word of God.
Today, may we be like Joshua and Caleb, believing, acting on, and saying the Word of God, doing exploits for our God.
“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more” (Mark 4:24 NIV).
How do you measure God’s Word? According to Mark 4:24, God will measure to us how we hear and measure His Word.
For example, when we read 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed” (NIV), do we stand in faith and keep on believing until we receive our healing, or do we measure the verse with skepticism?
When our bank account says zero and the rent is due, how do we hear and measure Philippians 4:19, “Moreover, my God will fill every need of yours according to his glorious wealth, in union with the Messiah Yeshua” (CJB)? Do we keep looking at our bank account or standing on the promise of God?
Measuring God’s Word with faith can be challenging. Recently, I read about a woman who was believing God for a new house. She lived in a beat-up little house and wanted a new one more than anything. When she came across Romans 13:8, “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law” (NLT), she wondered how she could ever purchase a new home without borrowing money. She was tempted to measure the verse as a curse. But she refused to measure it that way. Instead, she resisted the lies of Satan telling her she would never have a new home, and started believing God to provide her one debt free. And what she believed God for, He did.
We get what we expect from God, how we hear and measure His Word. So, if you want to receive blessings by the bushel load, go to His Word with a bushel basket. Give God something to work with. If you put a big measure of faith in His hand, He’ll fill it until it overflows.
Are you facing adversity right now? Do you feel as if God has abandoned you? Take heart. The enemy isn’t fighting you because of where you are. He’s fighting you for where you are going. The devil is threatened by what God has in store for you and is doing his level best to hold you back. Don’t let him.
Consider David, the second king of Israel. Samuel anointed David to be king when he was a young man tending sheep. Yet many years passed before he became king. And during that time, he was pursued by Saul, the first king of Israel, trying to take his life. But Satan couldn’t stop God’s plan for David, and he became king. “So David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and equity to all his people” (1 Chronicles 18:14).
And what about Joseph? In his youth, God gave him dreams about his future. In his first dream, his brothers’ sheaves bowed down to his sheaf. In the second dream, the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him. Yet between those dreams and their fulfillment, Joseph faced a great deal of adversity. His brothers sold him as a slave. He was wrongly accused and ended up in prison for something he didn’t do. Those who could have spoken up for him forgot all about him. Satan tried to derail God’s plans for Joseph’s life but he didn’t succeed. Joseph said to his brothers, “As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this—to preserve the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:20 Berean Study Bible).
Then there’s Moses. He was born under a death threat. “…the king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives… “When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth, look at the child when you deliver it. If it’s a boy, kill it, but if it’s a girl, let it live” (Exodus 1:15-16 GW). Satan is always out to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). But God had the final say regarding Moses. Moses lived and God used him to deliver the children of Israel out of the land of slavery. “The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering…So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:7,10 NIV).
So don’t be discouraged when you face adversity and opposition. Do like James tells us. “Consider it pure joy…when you encounter trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2, BSB). God has something great in store for your future. When Jesus rose from the dead, Satan and all his demons were defeated. “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He (Jesus) made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15, BSB). Stay in faith and trust God for your future. The best is yet to come.
In Deuteronomy 1:8, Berean Study Bible, God told the children of Israel, “See, I have placed the land before you. Enter and possess the land that the LORD swore He would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to their descendants after them.” “So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord had spoken to Moses” (Joshua 11:23 ESV). However, Scriptures like Joshua 13:1, 13:13, 15:63: 16:10, and 17:12 show that the Israelites did not drive out all the people living in the land. While they took the land and lived in it, they did not fully dispossess the people who lived there.
This caused problems for them. Constantly, they imitated the religious practices and lifestyle of the nations surrounding them, instead of obeying God’s command to keep themselves holy, devoted to God, and separated from these practices.
As born-again believers, God has given us a promised land – not just in Heaven, but here and now. “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive an abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (Romans 5:17, Berean Study Bible). Our promised land is to reign in life through the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness Jesus has provided for us.
Our promised land is a place where, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you…” (Isaiah 54:17, Berean Study Bible). It is where “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might display the surpassing riches of His grace, demonstrated by His kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6-7 BSB). Notice that the verbs raised and seated are in the past tense. It’s already been done.
"And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He (Jesus) made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Colossians 2:15 BSB).
Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, Satan has been defeated and disarmed. The only power he has in our lives as believers is the power we give him by listening to his lies and empty threats. Kick him out. Jesus has given us the power to do so. “I’ve given you true authority. You can smash vipers and scorpions under your feet. You can walk all over the power of the enemy. You can’t be harmed” (Luke 10:19 VOICE).
God doesn’t want us to be like the Israelites and let the enemy live in our promised land. He wants us to drive him out with the Word of God and the Name of Jesus. Force the evil one to pack up and go home. “Fight the good fight of the faith…” (1 Timothy 6:12 BSB). Possess your promised land
I recently read about a woman who received a plant from the funeral of her husband’s grandfather. Not very knowledgeable about plants, it looked like a peace lily to her, and that’s how she treated it. She moved it around her house to better accommodate the sunshine it did or didn’t like, and she watered it as if it was a peace lily. However, no matter what action she took, she couldn’t get the plant to bloom. She was under the impression peace lilies bloomed well and she couldn’t figure out what she was doing wrong. Then she thought maybe it was root bound, so she untangled its thick roots and separated it, hoping to spark some growth. It still didn’t bloom. Then one day, scrolling through social media, a picture of a plant popped up, and it looked exactly like hers.
For the past five years, her plant had been a bird of paradise and not a peace lily. She did some further research and learned that a bird of paradise plant takes ages to bloom, they love lots of sun, and they like to be root bound. Every time their roots are disturbed, the plant is set back three to five years.
When I read this, I started thinking about roots. The Bible speaks a lot about roots. Proverbs 12:3 (NLT) says, “Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots.” Proverbs 12:12 (Berean Study Bible) says, “The wicked desire the plunder of evil men, but the root of the righteous flourishes.” And Jeremiah writes about the one who trusts in the Lord like this: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV).
Jesus spoke about roots. In the parable of the sower, He said the seed that fell on rocky soil sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. However, when the sun came up, the plants were scorched because they had no roots (Matthew 13:5-6 NIV). When Jesus explained the parable, He said of those characterized as having rocky ground hearts, “But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away” (Matthew 13:21 NIV). Their roots did not go down deep into God’s Word, so when persecution arose, they fell away.
Today, more than ever, we need to be rooted in God’s Word, so when persecution comes because of the Word, we will stand. In Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV), Paul tells us, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1) and to build ourselves up in Him, we must be in His Word. Satan will try anything he can to keep us from reading God’s Word because he knows it is our life. “It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh is no help. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life…” (John 6:63 CJB). In these last days, as Christ’s followers, let’s be rooted and grounded in His Word, so we are bearing fruit for Him when He returns.
In Matthew 13, Jesus talks about four types of soil where seed is sown. Some of the seeds fall on the wayside (hard, packed soil) and Satan comes to devour them (verses 4,19). Some seeds fall on stony ground. They get scorched and wither under the fire of tribulation because they have no roots (verses 5-6, 21). Some fall on thorny soil and are choked by the cares of this world (verses 7,22). And lastly, some fall on good ground, receptive to the seed. The good ground represents someone who hears the Word of God, understands it, and yields a crop, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred times what was sown (verses 8, 23).
What is surprising in this parable is that three out of four times, the Word did nothing, because one way or another, Satan stole it. It’s obvious from this parable that whenever God’s Word is sown into our hearts, Satan goes to work to steal it. And I believe one of the major ways he steals the Word from us today is through distraction.
Isaiah 26:3, NKJV says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You…”. Peace depends on our ability to keep our mind focused, focused on Jesus. Lack of peace is the result of a wandering mind.
This principle is demonstrated when Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha. “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’s feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving…And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things…Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:38-42 NKJV).
When Jesus came to visit Mary and Martha, what a wonderful time it must have been. Jesus wasn’t preaching to the crowds. He was meeting with a select group of people, teaching them God’s Word. Initially, according to verse 39, both Mary and Martha were sitting at Jesus’ feet. But the passage goes on to say, “Martha was distracted” (verse 40).
What was Martha distracted about? I’m sure she was thinking about what she was going to feed all the guests in her house, all the work it was going to be, and that she better get moving to prepare and serve it. And this line of thinking drew her away. Her thinking pulled her away from Jesus, and pretty soon she was running around. Weust translates verse 40 this way: “But Martha was going around in circles, overoccupied…”. Does this sound like you and me sometimes?
Jesus addressed the issue and said to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things” (verse 41). Martha had lost her peace. It left the minute she took her mind off the Word. Then Jesus added something important. He said, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken from her” (verse 42). Jesus spoke the Word. Satan came to steal it. Martha allowed him to steal it by becoming distracted. Mary, on the other hand, chose differently. She chose the “good part” – to keep her mind on God’s Word. Jesus Himself guaranteed that God’s Word in Mary’s heart would take root and produce fruit.
If we want the “good part”, we need to be determined to value God’s Word, honour His Word, and not let ourselves be distracted from the Word.
Let’s not be too hard on Martha. Her motivation for getting up was to serve Jesus. But ministry is not a good substitute for intimacy with the Lord. There were two meals being served that day. One was the Word of God. The other was the one Martha was serving. What should Martha have done? Remembered Who she was listening to – the One Who fed five thousand people with five fish and two loaves. Feeding a group of people was no problem for Jesus.
Today, as believers in Jesus, let us make the quality decision to keep our minds on God’s Word and to be like the 25% who receive, and not like the 75% who let it be stolen. If we keep our minds focused on God’s Word, we will find ourselves in perfect peace, no matter what the situation.
Resurrection. When we think of that word, we may think of the past – a stone rolled away, an empty tomb, a risen Savior.
But praise God, Jesus is alive today and we will celebrate His resurrection in a few short days.
But Jesus is not the only One who has been resurrected. As born-again believers, we’ve been resurrected too. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins…” (Ephesians 2:1 NKJV). The day we made Jesus the Saviour and Lord of our lives, we passed from death to life. Our old man died and, in its place, a new creature was born. “Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone—and see—a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 VOICE).
Yes, there is coming a day when our earthly bodies will be raised and glorified. But when Jesus rose from the dead, He delivered us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. “For he has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son…” (Colossians 1:13 TLB). That verse is in the past tense – it’s already been done. Sickness, disease, poverty belong to the kingdom of darkness and praise the Lord, we’ve been delivered from these things through the resurrection of Jesus.
You may ask, “If I’m so free, why am I still in debt?” “Why am I always sick?” “Why can’t I lose this weight?” It’s because we allow Satan to convince us we still belong to his kingdom – that we’re still spiritually dead.
Today, we need to start thinking of ourselves as those who already have the resurrection life of Jesus inside us and not just as earthly beings who are waiting for the resurrection. “So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11 NLT).
As the reality of the resurrection life of Jesus inside us permeates our spirits, it will make a whole world of difference in how we live our lives.
“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” Hebrews 11:1, Amplified Bible, Classic Edition. Faith is not moved by what the five physical senses perceive – by what it sees, feels, hears, smells, or tastes.
Take Abraham as an example. “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:20-21 NIV). The passage of time, the “evidence” of his and his wife’s age, or the barrenness of her womb, did not move him from the promise of God that he would have a son. “When there was nothing left to hope for, Abraham still hoped and believed. As a result, he became a father of many nations, as he had been told: “That is how many descendants you will have.” (Romans 4:18 NOG).
For “the path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 VOICE). Walking by faith is walking by TOTAL confidence in the integrity of the Word of God. It is like flying an airplane by instruments when the outside visibility is zero. I recently read that a pilot’s inner ear can be affected in such a way that all kinds of directional feelings can present themselves and be contrary to what is actually happening. He has to trust his instruments no matter what he feels or thinks.
In the same way, the believer must trust God’s Word so completely that physical evidence contrary to the Word doesn’t count, even when it is overwhelming.
Satan operates in the sense realm. “The devil led him (Jesus) up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:5-7 NIV).
When Adam and Eve made Satan their lord in the Garden of Eden, the worldly realm became Satan’s. How did Jesus respond to Satan’s temptation? “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” (Luke 4:8 NIV). He responded with the Word of God. God’s Word is the only power that overcomes anything the devil can throw at us. Jesus backed down Satan’s temptations with three powerful words, “It is written.”
We can do the same. The power and truth of God’s Word changes natural facts. The next time Satan gives you a sucker punch, hit him with the Word of God. Walking by faith and not by sight brings victory every time.
We all have difficult things to deal with – a frustrating relationship, a toxic boss, an unexpected bill, or a bad report from the doctor. The question is, how do we deal with these situations when they arise? Exodus 14:14 AMPC says when you “…hold your peace and remain at rest” that “the Lord will fight for you.”
God has called us to reign in life. “If one man’s sin brought a reign of death--that’s Adam’s legacy—how much more will those who receive grace in abundance and the free gift of redeeming justice reign in life by means of one other man—Jesus the Anointed.” Romans 5:17 VOICE. Because God has given us an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, He expects us to reign in life through His precious Son, Jesus. When we react, rather than rest, we are not reigning in life.
In any situation we face, we always have a choice. We can make the decision each day to let faith rule our thoughts, attitudes, and the things we say, or react negatively to the circumstances around us. Recently, I read about a pastor who received a great victory from the Lord in providing the funds to purchase a building in which to worship. All the parishioners celebrated. But the next day, the pastor received a telephone call that a large company had filed a federal lawsuit to keep the congregation from moving into the building.
The pastor’s wife overheard the telephone conversation. She turned to her husband and asked him, “What are you going to do?" Right then, he had a choice to make. He could let fear, worry, anger, disappointment, or negative thinking steal his joy. But instead, he chose to rest and let God fight the battle. Today, his church meets every week in that building.
When difficulties arise, are you going to let negative thoughts, attitudes, or emotions wedge themselves down into your spirit? Or are you going to choose to rest and let God fight the battle for you? It’s up to you.
What is the kingdom of God? It is the realm where Jesus reigns as king and the authority of God is supreme. The kingdom exists here and now in the hearts and lives of believers, as well as in perfection and fulness in the future.
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom,” Jesus told His disciples in Luke 12:32 NIV. He also told them in Luke 8:10 a NIV, “…“The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you…”
In Caesarea Philippi, when Jesus asked His disciples who people said He was, Peter answered that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus told Peter that truth had not been revealed to him by flesh and blood, but by His heavenly Father. Then Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 16:19 NIV, “…I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…”
Today, I would like to look at an example of where Jesus used one of the keys of the kingdom. In Matthew 14:15-21 NIV we read:
15 “As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”
When Jesus told the disciples to give the huge crowd something to eat, they were thinking in the natural. “We have here only…” (verse 17). Jesus operated in the supernatural. “…Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves…” (verse 19). Through prayer to His heavenly Father, he demonstrated how to unlock heaven’s warehouse and draw upon its abundance.
The wonderful news is that we as believers can do the same. “…truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:12-14 NIV.
We know that Jesus prayed according to the will of His Father. And we must too. 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” God’s Word is His will. When we pray God’s Word, we are praying according to His will. Then we will not be asking with wrong motives (James 4:3).
So dear friend, when you have a need or are praying for the needs of others, don’t be like the disciples and say, “I have only…” but use a kingdom key and pray to the heavenly Father as Jesus did. As you pray in the Name of Jesus and according to God’s will, you can know that the answer is on its way.
In this Blog, I want to share with you some of the things I've learned from many years of following Jesus.