Monday, July 28, 2014

Arise and Let's Go

Moses my servant is dead.  Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.  Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you just I promised to Moses. (Joshua 1:2-3)

If God’s promise to Joshua, a man under the Law, leading a people under the Law was that everywhere they stepped he would give them the land, how much more will he give us under Grace.  Consider the promises of God to Israel; a land of milk and honey, victory over their enemies, peace and rest.  These are shadows of the promises he has given us in Jesus, these and more; freedom from all that the Law represents, unmerited favor, unlimited access to the God of Love, life, and eternal life.
Joshua was told to be strong and courageous in doing what God said and following the Law, never departing from it – then he would be successful.  Now if Joshua could go out and be courageous, knowing that his success was very closely linked to two things – how well he stuck to the Law and knowing that God was always with him – how much more courageous can we be as we follow Jesus who fulfilled that Law to set us free from its requirements and consequences, and then, not only promises that he’ll be with us but actually in us, empowering us to ‘go into the land that he’s giving us? 
My land is Cape Breton (yours is wherever you happen to find yourself living).  I’m not from Cape Breton, but God put me here, so I’m going to take my inheritance and help people take theirs. Not by sword and human courage like Joshua (I don’t have a sword and my courage is quite small) but by faith, hope and love. 
Joshua was told to go through the camp and round up the men armed and full of valour to lead the way into hostile ground in order to give their brothers rest.  Will you come with me?  Consider this your round up call. 
If you know Jesus, he has armed you with everything you need to walk into what looks like hostile territory and bring rest to the people who are dying, the walking dead who have no idea that their way out of death is Jesus.  You are a man/woman of valour, because he’s put his spirit in you, which is everything you need.  God has an inheritance to give everyone in Cape Breton who wants to take it, here and now, if we’ll be strong and courageous in Him, knowing he’s done everything we could never do.  Unless we take the Gospel that God loves them, Jesus gave his life and raised from the dead to destroy every enemy, and has abundant life now and eternal life free of charge (much more that the ‘ticket to heaven if you say this prayer and believe’ that people have been handing out), Cape Breton will remain in slavery to a trickster who came to steel, kill and destroy.  Why don’t we end his fun?  He’s been running wild on our kids and neighbors long enough; brokenness abounds, “but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:20-21).  There’s more than enough Grace to rescue this place and whatever place you’re in.
We have a long, long record of God being faithful to his promises – it’s a perfect record.  We also have a long, long history of him changing things when people decided to trust in his faithfulness and live by faith, through the power of his spirit.  He will give his inheritance and unlike Joshua’s burden to uphold the law, our burden is to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness – which is entirely revealed in the person of Jesus Christ –  and everything else will be added.
God will heal people as we are strong and courageous enough to tell them about his healing and exercise our authority in Him to call out healing.  We can no longer be beggars in the kingdom of Heaven asking for crumbs, we are sons and daughters at the head table, with all the authority that Jesus has.  Healing is their inheritance.
God will set people free as we proclaim liberty to the captives.  They are serving a sentence that was pardoned at the cross and the record was erased when Jesus walked out of the tomb.  We get to be the one who walks down death row and instead of proclaiming ‘dead man walking’,  we’ve been given the keys to the kingdom of Heaven and whoever we open the door for gets to walk out of whatever jail they are in.  Freedom is their inheritance.
God will give faith and repentance as we proclaim the time of the Lords favor.  Neither of these belongs to us, they come from his Grace.  We can’t teach someone to have faith or give them the seven steps of repentance.  They come by grace through the Holy Spirit as revelation of who Jesus is, as we proclaim and live the truth that God is Love; this truth revealed in that he “laid down his life for us and we ought to lay ours for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).  As people encounter faith and repentance shown in how we love one another because of the grace that’s been revealed to us, how could the Lord’s favor not draw them into the same life we know?  God’s love is their inheritance.
So then, will walk into our inheritance and help make the way for others to find the rest that we know is promised.  Will we take our place with the men and woman of valour who cut a path into the life that God has paid a very high price to secure for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, not dependant on our faithfulness to the Law but his grace for upon those who could never uphold it.  Will we trust in the new agreement that not only will God be with us, but he will be in us to accomplish everything he has planned for the people in Cape Breton.  I believe if we’ll go, he’ll go ahead of us and give us not only every piece of land where our foot falls, but every person that encounters his great and unfailing love.

Who’s coming? 

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