Don’t miss out!

My dear friends, I want to encourage you today with these words that I heard the Lord speak to me this morning in our church service:

Don’t miss out!!

Yesterday morning, I had the urge to contact my fellowship group to encourage them to attend the church service this morning or to watch the live stream on line. It was a definite “unction” from the Lord which I didn’t realise the significance of until today.

The presence of the Lord was so powerful amongst us today as we worshipped and the Holy Spirit ministered.

If you as a believer have withdrawn from the Lord (or you know someone who has withdrawn) in some way from Jesus or from fellowship with fellow believers in any way at all and for whatever reasons (the Lord knows all circumstances) then I encourage you and them to reconnect with the living Word, the Lord Jesus, our Father God and the Holy Spirit in worship. To connect with fellow believers who can encourage, support, disciple. We serve an awesome God.

The Lord wants to take off that spirit of heaviness or apathy from those who feel burdened and pour out the Oil of His joy. He wants to refresh you and take off those burdens. He wants to stir up the hunger and passion for Him. He is ready to pour out that living water on you.

God is saying to his children “DO NOT MISS OUT”.

Position yourself ready to receive and run with what God is going to pour out upon you. You are going to be the ministers of His Glory and His Goodness in the days ahead for the benefit of those around you-your family, your friends, your workplace, those on the street, those in need. You are going to have the provision and goodness of God to distribute.

This is the time to get into position ready to receive. May the Lord lead you my dear brothers and sisters to the place He wants to meet with you, fellowship with you and pour a fresh anointing of His Holy Spirit upon you. It’s time for the sons and daughters to be revealed for His glory and His good pleasure. Let fear, apathy, sluggishness, bitterness, division be cast aside as we rise rejuvenated and refreshed in Christ Jesus Our Lord.

This is the bible reading the Lord gave me this morning which is for each one of us: As my friend said it is a reminder of who we are in Christ and the calling on all our lives to be the ushers of change.

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace— a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies— and to comfort all who mourn, To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory. They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new. You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields, But you’ll have the title “Priests of God ,” honored as ministers of our God. You’ll feast on the bounty of nations, you’ll bask in their glory. Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever.
Isaiah 61:

Bless you my dear friends and may God use you for His glory. May His Kingdom come and His will be done. Amen 🙏

Seeing is believing? 👀

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. I’ll call it a conversation but it did get a bit heated on his part. He was convinced that if God would just turn up out of the blue and show himself then a lot more people who have no faith (like him) would start to believe in God. He thinks that if God did this then people would stop behaving so badly and there wouldn’t be so much evil in the world. Mmm🤔

My friend wants God to pop up out of thin air- a bit like the genie from Aladdin’s lamp- before he will believe. He’s disappointed because in his opinion if God existed then God isn’t doing enough to stop all the evil and bad things. He doesn’t understand (yet) that God has already provided the answer in Jesus and that it’s God’s loving mercy that is giving people the chance to find Him before it’s judgment time.

I guess my friend is not alone in thinking like this and there are people who want to see God appear for themselves before they will believe. For my friend seeing is believing-but what is seeing and many people are blinded to the truth by Satan or are wilfully blind from seeing. My friend certainly was not going to believe my testimony or anything I told him. His mind is made up (at the moment) and he thinks I’m deluded as a Christian believer 🙁

However, the truth we read in the bible tells us that since the world was created God has made Himself known and revealed Himself to mankind. God walked with Adam & Eve regularly in the garden and talked to them before sin separated them and consequently us from His presence.

God appeared to Abraham and made a covenant with him. God hid Moses in the gap in a rock and caused all His goodness to pass before Moses. Moses couldn’t see God’s face because as God said -no-one could look on His face and live.

God revealed Himself to His chosen people, the Israelites, but they still even with all the miracles and incredible things they witnessed of God with their own eyes still went their own ways, did wicked things and didn’t obey His commands. This is unfortunately the reality of human behaviour.

These were the same people who saw God come down for themselves in a thick cloud on Mount Sinai but the manifested presence of God was too much for the people to cope with. They were too afraid of His awesome and powerful presence when the cloud of His glory came down and they witnessed its effect around them. The mountain cracked, there was thunder and smoke and there was fire. It was a terrifying sight. Moses and the elders went up the mountain though because they had prepared and purified themselves to meet God.

Then they climbed the mountain—Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel—and saw the God of Israel. He was standing on a pavement of something like sapphires—pure, clear sky-blue. He didn’t hurt these pillar-leaders of the Israelites: They saw God; and they ate and drank.”
Exodus 24 9-11

If God in all His glory and power did make an appearance as my friend wants then my friend wouldn’t be able to cope with the reality. He’d be struck down in fear at the glory of God. If God appeared as he did on Mount Sinai then my friend would be completely undone because of God’s holiness.

However, God did the most amazing thing out of His great love for us so that people could see Him and touch Him and get to know Him. He came in the flesh as Jesus as a baby. The people of the time saw Jesus with their own eyes, touched him, saw all the miracles and good Jesus did but yet again they still rejected him and didn’t change their ways.

To see Jesus was to see the Father. Jesus revealed God.

Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”

“You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act. “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. John 14:8-9

The wonderful truth for us as believers is that God is also present here now with us as the Holy Spirit. We can’t see the Holy Spirit but we know His presence and we see the evidence of His work and power in us and through us in the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit whether through gifts of healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy etc. We don’t see the wind but we know it exists and we feel it and see where it blows. So it is with the Holy Spirit. I don’t need to see the wind to believe in it or to see the air that I breathe.

Jesus told a parable about the rich man in hell who wanted his family to be warned about hell so that they would not go through the torment he was experiencing. The rich man believed that if Lazarus was sent back from the dead and spoke to his family as a witness then they would change their ways and believe. Sadly Jesus knew that even that wouldn’t convince them because they already had unbelief in their hearts.

The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him (Lazarus) to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’ “Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’ “‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’ “Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:27,29-31

I think Jesus summed it up with these words to his disciple Thomas.

“But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.” But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.” Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.” Thomas said, “My Master! My God!” Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.
John 20:24,26-29

How amazing, Jesus tells us that we who have believed in Him without seeing with our own eyes have better blessings in store.

The sadness for me is for those, like my friend, who are blinded to the truth of the gospel. I pray that their eyes are opened to see Jesus and know Him and the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. To understand their sin and need for God’s forgiveness and that God exists and has shown His love for them by sending Jesus to die in their place. May they come to know God and be reconciled to Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus before it is too late. May their hearts be softened and faith take root. Amen.

Deception – The Gibeonites Story

The bible story of the Gibeonites and how they tricked Joshua & the Israelites (which you can read in the book of Joshua Chapter 9) is a fascinating bible story which has a lot to teach us about deception.

What is Deception

It is a deliberate attempt to make you believe something which is not true – there is an intention to mislead – something is hidden, concealed, there is an ulterior motive.    Deception presents facts in a way that you think they are the truth.    It will usually contain a mixture of truth, half-truths & lies – it distorts the truth.    Deception is usually very close to the truth otherwise it would be easily spotted.  Craftiness, & Cunning are usually involved. 

Deception can also arise from giving or allowing a false impression to be made by manipulating information, exaggerating or leaving truth or some truth out – lying by omission.  If you let someone believe something untrue about you – the person has a wrong impression and instead of correcting them you let them believe it – that’s also deception.  That is such a subtle trap we can all fall into – allowing someone to believe an image of ourselves that we project which is not reality- even as believers.

A lie will usually lead to another lie. Eventually you are so far away from the truth you no longer recognise the truth.   That is why deception is so dangerous –it’s very subtle. We start to believe the lie is actually truth because we have a wrong reference point or foundation for what we believe.   We receive information through a distorted lens of deception and don’t realise it is not truth. We then think others are deceived!

We see elements of this in the plan of the Gibeonites.  It was very cleverly thought out – they went to great efforts to paint a picture and give the impression they had travelled from a long long way away and were not in fact neighbours of the Israelites.    Their bread was mouldy, their wine was gone, their clothes & sandals were worn out and tattered etc.   Those facts were true but the reason they gave was not true.   That was the deception.

There is always a motive for deception– sometimes it is just as important discerning the motive behind the deception.  The reason why someone wants to deceive us or why we deceive ourselves (self-deception) or others. It can be for a whole host of reasons – dishonest gain (greed), self preservation, fear etc. to name just a few.  

In this story the Gibeonites had heard what had happened to the cities of Jericho & AI (the Israelites had wiped them out) and they feared for their lives – they didn’t want to die. It was all about self-preservation – than can be a strong motive for deception– we lie or cover things up because we don’t want someone to know the truth about us – preserving ourselves.  Fear about what people would think if they know the truth –we become trapped in this false picture we have created.

The Gibeonites wanted a peace treaty with the Israelites– that was what they told Joshua & that was true (v2/3).    It doesn’t seem like they were planning a Trojan horse – enemy infiltration– and kill the Israelites afterwards – we’re not told that.    The Gibeonites had various options to achieve their aim.  We know from verse 1 that they could have joined forces with the other neighbouring Kings in the area who planned to attack the Israelites.     That was a genuine option.  The Gibeonites were not a weak people or small in number– In Joshua 10 we find out that Gibeon was a might city – bigger than Ai & full of mighty men.  They could have fought.

However, they discounted that option – the Gibeonites were wise enough to realise that they had no chance of getting what they wanted by force because God was on the side of Israel.  If someone can’t beat you at something or take something by force then beware that they don’t cheat you out of it instead. 

Their other option would have been to throw themselves on the mercy of the Israelites & God – been honest from the very beginning – there was an option to do the right thing – but they resorted to obtaining what they wanted by deception.  

This is still true today of how the enemy, Satan, will use deception against us.  It is one of his greatest strategies – his motive is to “rob, steal and destroy” – he wants to ruin the fullness & joy of a life of freedom & redemption that Christ has given us & all that God has for us.  Satan wants to stop you growing and maturing and being an effective disciple of Jesus.

If Satan cannot frighten us or overcome us by a direct attack then he will seek to deceive us in some way either by what we believe about our faith in God and salvation in Jesus or what we believe about ourselves.   We need to be able to identify and discern those lies.   Otherwise there will be consequences of us believing the lie – strongholds will develop in our thinking or behaviours which are not Godly and we won’t be mature and develop in our faith with a firm foundation of truth.    

In these days with so much access to information from so many various sources we really need to be able to discern false teachings, false doctrine, false prophecies etc- That is why we need the tools which God has given us to discern deception.

The motives for deception can look “good” to us too -just as the Gibeonites thought and this is part of the trap with “self-deception” – we can do what we think is good rather than what is Godly.   We can convince ourselves that the only way out of a situation is to “bend the truth” for a good cause. What a trap. 

Where does Deception come from?

Deception originated from Satan – Jesus said satan is the “father of lies” John 8:44 – “He (satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies”.  

We see satan’s nature as the liar and deceiver in the garden of Eden.  Satan deceives Eve into eating the forbidden fruit which introduced sin & death into creation. 

Deception is sin –a half truth which misleads – is sin – self-deception is sin.

Deception introduces DOUBT  –  Deception can mean you start to doubt the “truth” – you doubt your ability to know the “truth”.     You start to doubt your own faith – “Are you really a Christian”?   Satan introduced doubt when he said to Eve ”   Did God really say”?  You can start to doubt you have heard God correctly.     

Watch out for doubt in your thoughts– where is it coming from?  Doubt and Discernment are different things coming from different sources. Doubt does not come from the Holy Spirit. Discernment is the Holy Spirit working in and through us to reveal truth.

We can deceive ourselves – self- deception – it can be in our own hearts.   The bible says that “the heart is deceitful above all things” Jeremiah 17:9 – It is so important to ask God to search our hearts and ask Him to reveal if there is any sin in us.    Are we deceiving ourselves in areas of our lives, in our behaviours or attitudes.

So we see that from that very first act of deception in the Garden of Eden there are then stories of deception throughout the bible. Jacob deceives his father Isaac to steal the birth right from his brother Esau, Laban then deceives Jacob into marrying Leah, Joseph’s brothers deceive their father Jacob and pretend Joseph is dead.

The Pharisees tried to deceive Jesus, Ananias & Saphira tried to deceive Peter and Simon the Sorcerer tried to deceive Paul.

There is a pattern of deception and deception is still at work today.  Jesus warns his followers not to be deceived.

Matthew 24;24   “For False Messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Paul warned the early churches – 2 Corinthians 11:3 – “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ”.

Acts 20:30 “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them”.

Let us heed these warnings and be on our guard as believers against deception.

Discovering Deception

The good news is that this story of the Gibeonites tells us very clearly how to avoid deception –in two words – Ask God.

I love the fact that there is no mystery here, it’s clear -In one sentence we are told exactly why the Israelites were deceived by the Gibeonites– they didn’t ask God but relied instead on the evidence of their own eyes & ears.  Self-Reliance & not God Reliance.    

Can we rely on God – The answer is Yes.  

Firstly God knows all things (He is omniscient) – nothing is hidden from his view. God cannot therefore ever be deceived.   The bible says in Hebrews that no creature is hidden from His sight but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

God forbids deception so it is not part of His character– Leviticus 19: 11 “Do not lie.  Do not deceive one another”.    Proverbs 12:22 “The Lord detests lying lips but he delights in people who are trustworthy”.

We can also trust Jesus – The bible teaches us that there was no deceit in Jesus –  Isaiah 53: 9 “nor was any deceit in his mouth”.  

Jesus is The way, The truth & The lifeJesus does not deceive us or lie to us.

Jesus has also sent us the Holy Spirit – as believers we have the Spirit of Truth– living within us.  Jesus said the Holy Spirit is our counsellor and will “lead us into truth”. John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.  He will not speak on his own, he will speak only what he hears (from God) and he will tell you what is to come”.

God promises us guidance when we seek Him. There are lots of promises in scripture that when we seek God He will lead & guide us and that we can trust in Him.   In Psalm 5 – we are encouraged to take our requests to God each day in prayer and look up (wait for the answer).

God has provided us with His written word – Holy Scripture– His words of truth.   God’s Word is the plumb line.  If you want to check something is truth – first check what the bible says about it. Go to the source first.   

Hebrews 4 says  “ For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness for he is a babe but solid food belongs to those who are of full age – that is who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good or evil.”

We need to study and get into the bible ourselves and then practice and test whether the things we hear, read etc. are good (of God) or evil.   We have to know these things for ourselves and so mature in our faith.  We also need to live out our faith in doing good.   James says that we deceive ourselves if we don’t act out our faith as doers of the word and not just hearers.

Ephesians 4;14  “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”

The symbolism of the mouldy bread and wine that has run out also speaks to me in this story.      As believers we also need fresh bread from heaven – Jesus is our daily bread. He is the living water which never runs out. Reading the bible, Prayer, worship & praise- these are all ways that we daily eat & drink and build ourselves up in Christ.

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirt is Discernment.  I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of discernment.   Through the exercise of that gift we can discern between good & evil and truth & lies. The Holy Spirit reveals hidden things and what would not be possible to know by our human understanding – it is a divine revelation from God.  

Jesus exercised discernment– Jesus discerned the hearts & motives of the Pharisees when they were trying to trick him –  “you hypocrites he said– why are you trying to trap me”.    Peter discerned through the Holy Spirit that Ananias & Saphira were lying to him and lying to the Holy Spirit.  The impure motives of Simon’s heart in seeking the gift of the Holy Spirit were also discerned.

Why did the Israelites not ask God about the Gibeonites?   We are not told why – just that they didn’t.   This is really interesting because the Israelites had a recent testimony of God revealing deceit in a miraculous way. They discovered why the battle of “Ai” was lost by God revealing deception by one of their own people who had stolen and hidden spoil from the battle which had been forbidden.  They could have easily asked God about the Gibeonites.   Was it over-confidence or mis-placed confidence in their own abilities – they asked a few questions of the Gibeonites, tested the food etc. but ultimately they relied on themselves and not God. There is a warning in this to us.

The Gibeonites were also pressurising the Israelites to make a peace treaty and to act quickly.    That can be a sign of deception –  being pressurised into making a quick decision. We need to make time to seek God and ask Him for guidance before making a decision especially if that decision will have big consequences.   Don’t be rushed.

There were also signs of deception – – warning bells were there – The Gibeonites flattered the Israelites.  Perhaps Joshua & the people were flattered to hear that their exploits in battle had reached so far and wide.  Perhaps some pride crept in which made them vulnerable.   So the lesson for us it to beware the flatters.

Romans 16:18 “For such people are not serving our Lord Christ but their own appetites.   By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.”

Ephesians 5 v 6 “Let no-one deceive you with empty words”.

Seeing is not always believing

We are warned not to believe everything we see especially when it comes to signs & wonders.    If people are just looking for signs & wonders as evidence of truth or God – the miraculous – then there is a great danger of being deceived.  

Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2 9-10 “the coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works.  He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie – and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.   They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”  

Appearances can be deceptive. The appearance of the Gibeonites deceived the Israelites. They believed what they saw with their eyes.

The good news is that Truth will eventually out. One day the truth will be revealed. The things that are hidden will be revealed by God.

In this story it was only 3 days – a very short time -before the Israelites discovered the truth.

Dealing with Deception

This is a really important part of the story. There are lessons we can learn. 

Imagine how Joshua & the Israelites felt when they realised they had been deceived – angry, upset, vengeful, stupid, shamed, guilty, disappointed, betrayed –perhaps they looked for others to blame, fearful that they had disobeyed God. 

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and imagine – How would you have felt & how do you think you would have reacted.  

You may have even experienced deception and can identify with those feelings. – I know I have – twice that I know I have been in fellowships which have been deceived by trusted people– a huge amount of money was stolen from one church and in another there was a sexual predator pretending to be a believer.    It can cause a lot of pain & hurt –especially if you have been deceived by someone close to you – but the fallout from how we react can be even worse than the effects of the deception itself.  It can cause division, disunity, bitterness, recriminations & unforgiveness even pride – blame those who have been deceived and act as though it wouldn’t have happened to you.   “How could they have let this happen”?    Relationships are really tested and sometimes don’t survive.   We need to guard our hearts in these incredibly difficult circumstances.

In this story we read that the Israelites were not happy at all with Joshua & the leaders when they found out they had been deceived – they started to complain.  There was the potential here for there to be a rebellion against the leaders.    The people wanted revenge and to kill the Gibeonites and when that wasn’t possible then have them severely punished and to be their slaves.   That would have been a terrible life of slavery & drudgery.   Open to future abuse as well by their masters.    The Israelites had been slaves in the past and now they had the chance to be the masters – to make someone else pay.   There was the potential that the Israelites would even deceive themselves into justifying their own bad behaviour or mistreatment of the Gibeonites.   They deserved it by deceiving them and had brought this on themselves.

The Gibeonites had obtained the covenant of the peace treaty with the Israelites by deception. It might seem justifiable to us for the Israelites to have broken the covenant they had made as it had been obtained by fraud. As a lawyer, I know that the law today enables parties to terminate a contract if there has been fraud or misrepresentation.   It is seen as the fair thing to do.

However, the Israelites had made this vow & covenant in God’s name and the leaders were concerned about bringing dishonour to God’s name and also fearful about what God might do to them if they didn’t honour the covenant.

That decision was Godly Wisdom indeed because later in the bible we find out that Saul does break that covenant.   The result is that God is really displeased and there is a famine as a result which is only brought to an end when 7 of Saul’s sons are killed (crucified) as a substitution to make right the wrong that has been done to the Gibeonites.

This reminds me that through Christ’s death on the Cross and His Resurrection Power we are given the ability in Jesus to overcome our natural desires of our flesh for revenge, anger etc when deceived and to forgive the deceiver and release them to God.

What did Joshua do in this story?

Joshua doesn’t attack the Gibeonites when he discovers the truth.    He confronts their lie in the right way.    He wants to discover the truth – why did they lie.  

That is important for us – we may need, in some circumstances and however, difficult and upsetting to confront the deceiver. In the right way- in a Christ like way- just like Joshua did.     Jesus did the same with the people who tried to deceive him – He called it out.   “Why are you trying to trick me

The Gibeonites take the opportunity and tell Joshua the truth.  It’s like a confession of their sins. They confess the lie.

They are under a curse because of the lie but Joshua also shows them Mercy – v 27 – He doesn’t make them the slaves for everyone – imagine what a life of hell that would have been -but he makes them woodcutters & watercarriers for the house of God.   This would still been a hard & demanding work but not the punishment that the people wanted and perhaps arguably that the Gibeonites deserved.  

By making them the woodcutters and watercarriers for the house of God Joshua actually brings them close to God.     This reminds us that God is truly merciful to everyone and He has made a way through Christ for everyone to come into His family.

So I would say -Put those who have wronged you into the hands of God.   Let Him deal with them for you.   If we have done wrong let’s confess our sins and God will forgive us.

It doesn’t say in the story that Joshua explicitly forgave the Gibeonites but this is something which we are required to do as believers.  Forgive those who trespass against us.   Jesus tells us to forgive – it is a requirement of living out a life of faith.  It is not easy.   I didn’t realise for a long time that I even had any unforgiveness in my heart still towards the person who had hurt me through their deception.    It wasn’t obvious – I didn’t think about them or wish bad things on them.   I thought I had dealt with it but I had deceived myself by burying the hurt & fear deep inside me.  

God showed me the effect of that buried unforgiveness in my life was like those little foxes which ruin the vineyard.   It was ruining my fruitfulness in certain areas of my Christian walk.  God really opened my eyes to the things I had deceived myself about by not dealing properly with those things– lies that I had started to believe – that I couldn’t really trust God to protect me or those close to me, that there was hatred buried deep in my heart towards this person.   I learnt to forgive by God’s grace.

Defeating Deception

When we deal with deception in the right way I believe that we defeat it’s power in our lives.     In Joshua chapter 10 the Gibeonites are under attack from the other Kings and they ask Joshua for help.

This was the test.   Joshua does not refuse them help. He helps his one-time enemies who had deceived him.  Joshua is faithful to his promise and because of this and the way he acts, we read in Chapter 10 that God gives the Israelites their biggest victory in battle so far – there are miracles and God enables them to defeat all of the 5 Kings who had plotted against the Israelites at the start of chapter 9 at once.   God says “Do not fear them for I have delivered them into your hand”.

If you are obedient to God then he will give you the victory over your enemy and you will overcome.

God can do the miraculous in your circumstances – in v11 of the chapter we read how God came to their aid and cast down great hailstones from heaven – a demonstration of His great power.   

Even the sun stood still v 12 and v 14 – The Lord fought for Israel.  He didn’t just fight for the Israelites though (His people) – He also fought for the Gibeonites – it was their city that was being attacked.   God was now protecting those who were serving in His house and part of His house.   We are also under God’s protection now having been brought into His family through Jesus the Son.    We are under God’s loving care.    God surrounds us with His favour.

I don’t think that Joshua & the Israelites would have had such a victory if they had not honoured the peace covenant made with the Gibeonites. God honoured Joshua and gave him a mighty victory.

Bless you my friends.

Awake Awake

Morning my friends. The Lord has reminded me of 3 words which I posted in 2020 which started with a post called “Awake Awake”. This post is a warning that the Lord God is a God who will judge righteously. We are called as followers of Jesus to stand for truth, justice and righteousness and not conform to this world. It’s a call to be ready and persevere in the times we are in. Trust in God.

I am re-posting these words again as I feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to do so. Please read them again or for the first time. I hope they bless you and speak to us all in some way for God’s glory and to advance His Kingdom. Perhaps there is a word in season for someone that will speak to their heart today.

The second post that linked to Awake Awake was The Heavenly Steed which talks of Jesus’ second coming and the glorious horse that bears Him. A reminder that Jesus is Lord and is coming again. The time is set and will not be delayed. He is the King of Glory. It’s a call to salvation for those who do not yet know Jesus as Lord. Call on Him whilst He is near and there is time.

The third word in the series is Take hold of today – Make it count which reminds us as followers of Christ that we are called to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus and do His good works. The power of the Holy Spirit is at work in each one of us who has been born again into the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus. One day we will each give an account to our loving Master Jesus.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Refreshing Company

“I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition”.
1 Corinthians 16:17-18

These bible verses really inspired me today. Oh how blessed we are to have people like a Stephanus, Fortunatus and Achaicus in our lives and in the body of Christ. People who refresh us.

These type of Christian believers are commended by Paul. They must have been a great source of encouragement and Godly wisdom to the early church.

We all need times of refreshing. One of those ways of refreshing is also through other believers, just as Paul and the Corinthians were refreshed by the visit of these 3 men.

As Paul says, such people deserve recognition.

Can I encourage us all to take some time to think about the people who are the refreshing company in our lives. They make us happy when we see them. They give and impart good things. Positive people.

Let’s thank God for them. They are a blessing.

Let’s also make a point of thanking them. It’s good to let such people know that we value them.

Finally, let’s all try to be the “refreshing” company we enjoy so people are happy to see and hear from us. We can be that source of refreshment to others.

Let’s be “Refreshers”.

Have a blessed day friends.