I do understand that God may not want everyone to be healthy or wealthy. Some are chosen to suffer for the Lord’s Glory. It does not matter what state you find yourself in, you can still be a success for the Glory of God. I praise God that success is not measured in what you have, but where you are in regard to God. If you are in a right relationship with Him, you are and will be a success story for all to read. The joy of the Lord truly is our strength. If a man be wealthy beyond all imagining and has not joy, then he is a failure. If a man is poor and sick, unable to be comforted in his penury or illness, yet has the joy of the Lord, he is a success and in possession of wealth immeasurable. I pray that we can see some of the keys to having the true riches, and how they are obtained in this lesson.
God Bless You
Bro. James H. Knight, a very rich man…
Joshua 5: 13-6: 5
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams , horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
In the verses before us we have one of the many times in God’s word that God has a definite plan to follow which will result in our success in living the life of victory. Very few people actually live the life of victory and it is a sad testimony for the church. Sad that most of those who claim to be Christians are so far away from God that they have no real joy, no sense of security, no understanding of scripural truth~ and no desire for guidance or instruction from the word of God. No wonder so many are falling away. You can’t live the victorious Christian life if you won’t live for God. You can not have joy in trials if you don’t have that fellowship which brings with it the peace that passes all understanding, and you can not have that fellowship and peace unless your relationship with God progresses and grows. Marriages are failing on every hand these days because somewhere along the way the couples are losing that fellowship and joy that they knew when they were first married. Very often you will hear the words, “We just don’t talk anymore, not like we used too.” Some will say that they don’t believe that is enough to destroy a relationship to such a degree. Well, imagine, if you are a man, that you cease communicating with your wife. Wake up in the morning and don’t say a word. Get yourself ready, eat breakfast, and don’t say a word. Leave for work in silence. After working all day come home and still remain silent. Eat your evening meal in silence, trying to avoid even looking in the direction of the wife that thought enough to prepare the meal for you. Leave the table and go about your business in silence until time for bed and then repeat this process for several days. See how long it takes before there is troube of the worst sort in your marriage. This sounds extreme, but this does happen on a regular basis. And many do just this sort of thing to God. There are people who will go through an entire day never giving God the slightest acknowledgement for all that He has done for them. How do you think that makes God feel? Our God has feelings. No one who is in fellowship with God can live in such a way. And no one who can live in such a way is in fellowship with God. Do you talk to God anymore? Or are God’s conversations with you onesided affairs that do not produce results? Are His pleas for restoration falling on deaf ears? Sometimes we all become distant from God. And sometimes God must do something drastic in our lives in order to bring us back to Him in desire of that fellowship that we once had. There are times that we need to ask ourselves…
1. Where am I failing
2. What have I put between myself and God, and
3. How can I get back to the life of Victory?
How to Succeed in
Your Spiritual Life
I. Listen to the word of God…
A. Joshua got where He was supposed to be, when he was supposed to be there. Most Christians don’t know what to do or how to live because thy don’t get where they are supposed to be in order to listen to the word of God. We need to be where we are supposed to be…
1. Physically–“not forsaking the assembling” (Hebrews 10:25) we should be at church. That is where we find that God most often communicates with us. Joshua knew where he was supposed to be and he got there. It was there that he met and received instruction from the Lord. Notice our text. Joshua looked up and there was the Lord. And it was there in that particular place that The Lord gave Joshua the specific instructions for him to follow in order to enjoy the success that he so desired. God gave Joshua the plan for victory when he was where he was supposed to be. Today this seems to be a point to ponder. There should be no need to consider the importance of being at the house of God at the appointed time. It should go without saying that we should attend the regular worship services. This includes Sunday School. I have been told by another preacher that Sunday school and mid-week services are not even scriptural. He will not teach his people that they should be there. To be honest with you, my bible says that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. These times that are universally known in our nation as the times for the gathering together of the saints to worship God and to learn His word are times accepted and recognized by the churches as the times for assembling ourselves together. This simply means that to willfully fail to attend when we are able is to forsake the assembly and that is forbidden by commandment in God’s word. It is not a manufactured requirement of men. There is no doubt that there are some things that men try and pass off as being required by God’s word which are not, but at the same time there are requirements that are avoided which should be followed. Consider those churches which have so many people that they are not all able to assemble at the same time because the membership is too numerous. There may be a need to preach Sunday morning at two different times in order that all may attend. There may be a need for two mid-week services in order for all to attend. In such a case, that accepted time that each group agrees to meet is the accepted time for assembly. Those who agree to come at a particular time should be there at that particular time. In our day, there is this curse that is sweeping across our country, which we know as the swing-shift. Wouldn’t it be a blessing if we could develop a schedule that would allow those that the devil thinks he has right where he wants them to attend regular scheduled worship services? A man has a responsibility to work and see to his family’s needs and the devil is using this as another tool to come between men and God. There was a day that we would have pressed the battle into the devil’s territory, but today, I have heard with my own ears, “I will not preach more than the regularly scheduled services” and “will not” is exactly right. There may be many who are not able to attend at a particular time for reasons beyond their control but who want to come to church. Oh, yes, a 2 0’clock service is unusual perhaps but a two hour service was unheard of in our grandparent’s day. We have gone from people wanting to be at church all day to not wanting to be at church for more than a couple of hours, and that includes preachers. Joshua got where he was supposed to be physically in order to hear the message of the Lord. So should we.
2. Mentally-Joshua had an attentive ear and a seeking heart, (attitude) If you will notice, Joshua was not only in his proper place at the proper time but he was also inquisitive as to what God wanted him to do. He did not go to God with his own plans but he went to God seeking to know God’s plan for him. Notice his response to the Lord’s presence…
“What saith my Lord unto His servant?”
He knew that God had something for him and this is another aspect of Christianity which is missing in our day. These days God’s people gather to hear the word of God and they hear it preached to everyone in the church but themselves. No one seems to believe that God has the solution to their problems anymore. No one seems to believe that God knows the way out of the mess that they may have gotten themselves into. “Yes, God knew what to do over 4500 years ago, but times have changed, God can’t handle my problems.” In reality, most people can’t handle the solutions that God offers. Paul wanted to be found faithful, He wanted to better know Christ and the fellowship of His suffering. God gave him just that. Paul suffered and greatly. Yet look at the wonderful example that we have in him and many of the disciples. It would do us all good to look through Foxes’ Book of Martyrs. If we would just look at how so many have suffered for the sake of Christ in the past and still they shine as brilliant examples of Christian fortitude for all to see, then maybe it would help us to see how small our problems truly are. What horrible choices are you faced with in your daily life? Oh boy! What persecution! All the best paying jobs in this area require me to miss church, I hate to make the sacrifice but I will in order to make more money! What turmoil. How does it compare to being tied to a stake and commanded to “Denounce Christ’s deity and ability to save or DIE!” If this were to happen in our day there would be very few to stand in the face of death. Not many burnings at the stake would take place. Are you willing to follow God’s plan for you? Are you willing to seek the solution that God would have you use to get you back into His will. Just how far are you willing to go to restore the fellowship with God that you may have broken. How far are you willing to go to please Him and Him alone? If you will seek only to please God, He will provide for your every need and He will make your heart satisfied. Only he can give you the grace to live on a daily basis. Only He can give you joy in any circumstance. Joshua had the attitude that no matter what it was, he wanted God’s will and he was going to follow. We should have that mental attitude.
“God there are things in my life that I can not work out on my own, I want you to show me what you would have me to do, and I will do it. “
3. Spiritually – on his face, Joshua was humble. The leader of God’s chosen people, Israel. The successor of Moses that great man of God. HUMBLE. Oh how we need this in our day. We are truly a stiff-necked people. We can not look around us and see our position many times because our focus is on ourselves to the point that nothing else matters. We, often, are ready to admit to our hard circumstances and to seek assistance from others but so rarely are we prepared to ask of God and humbly await His will in our circumstances. If we would sometimes simply wait for the answer to prayer, seek direction from God, and accept His answer when it comes, we could avoid much trouble. The spirit of humility will cause us to be resigned to God’s will. Maybe there is something in life that we must let go because it is coming between us and God. Maybe there is a situation that you would like to handle in a particular way that God has other plans for you in. Perhaps there is some distraction that has the potential to grow into a wedge that can come between you and God and God has dealt with you about getting rid of it. Maybe you like music. You may like music so much that you begin to study, practice and travel in order to play, or hear it. This may begin to cut into the time that you study the word of God. You may begin to neglect prayer for the sake of entertaining yourself or others with a hobby. There is nothing wrong with a hobby. God has given us all things richly to enjoy. When anything begins to come between us and God, however, it has gone beyond any Godly purpose and has become a handicap. It would behoove us to rid ourselves of any and everything that may come between us and God. Humble ourselves so that when God communicates with us concerning any matter, we will resign to His will, that It may be done. No doubt, when Joshua heard the commandment, he had doubts. He was a man just as you and I are. Still, obedience is what God desires of us. True faith will obey when human reason and “common sense” would tell us otherwise. Humility will follow authority, even when in doubt. Are you willing to obey? What have you been taught that you just can not seem to come to grips with. Just how humble are you? Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. Think of the things that Joshua’s flesh must have said to him. He had to know that the enemy would see them walking silently around the wall of Jericho. No doubt, Joshua knew that there would be much insult hurled at him from within the city. No doubt Joshua knew that his own people would doubt, some may even think that he’d gone mad. Still, Joshua was humble enough to obey, no matter what anyone else thought of him and what he was doing. In our day people don’t even want to dress right for fear of being seen to be “different.” Christians are afraid to bow their heads in public and pray over the meal that God has provided for them. Not to mention the unwillingness to announce that we will not do some things because we believe God’s word and it teaches us to refrain from some things. This is nothing but pride. Fear of man bringeth a snare. Humility will obey. If we fail to prepare ourselves for service by getting where we are supposed to be, physically, mentally, and spiritually, then we are certain to fail. We must get to the place that we are supposed to be. Then and only then will we be able to hear from God, and beyond hearing to LISTEN to the Word of God.
II. Learn the Will of God for you…
A. After getting where he was supposed to be so that he could hear the word of God then and only then was Joshua in a position to listen to the word of God and thereby learn the will of God for himself and all of Israel. Look at the result in chapter 6 and verse 2. It was here that God instructed him in minute detail on how to succeed. He got where he could listen and had a will to learn.
B. This is the manner in which God reveals His will to us concerning our own lives, our families, our church, and even our nation.
III. Go the way of the Lord; Obedience…
A. God had a way in which He desired Joshua and Israel to do His will. He wanted things done in His way. It was a prescribed way for them to have victory. And God’s way was the only way. I’ve heard so-called men of God and church leaders wonder why God is so particular with His people in so many things. God is interested in the small things because “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” (Luke 16:10) And just how important is that obedience? (I Samuel 15:22). A soldier is required to perform many duties. All duties are to be performed in the proper manner. It is a soldier’s duty in peace-time to maintain a level of discipline in every area of his life. His body is to be maintained, kept clean and healthy. His gear is to be kept clean, operable, and neat. Down to the least and last piece of his personal belongings there is a proper manner in which to care for and store all that he has. It may seem to be monotonous to anyone who does not understand the principle behind it. But, look at it honestly. If you can tell someone how to fold and stack his own undergarments you can lead him in battle. But if you can not maintain a level of discipline that will make that same man fold his clothes the way that he should, you will not be able to lead that man in battle and bring out of him his best performance under pressure. There is a reason for discipline. It brings obedience, satisfaction in a job well done, joy in the reward of accomplishment, and ultimately success in what you set out to do.
A disobedient child is an unhappy child.
A disobedient soldier is an unhappy soldier.
A disobedient Christian is an unhappy Christian.
If you would be a Success
in your Christian life…
1.Get where you are supposed to be
2. Listen to the word of God
3. Learn the will of God
4. Do God’s will in God’s way
5. Then, Look for victory
In looking at Joshua, we see a picture of a man who is ready to step out and get at God’s business. He knows that God has sent them on conquest and he gets at it. I remember my pastor saying to me and some other young preachers. “Son, if God truly called you to preach, then get at it.” We should all live our lives acting on what we already know that God has commanded and what we already know that He wants from us. Get at it and trust God, as long as you are being obedient and following His word He will bring you through. I remember another preacher telling me many times. “Try to live close enough to God that He does not have to make a long speech in order to tell you what he wants. But live in such a way that you can sense the very expression of God’s approval or disapproval.” Much like a child who can look at the face of it’s father and know immediately if it has found the approval or disapproval of it’s father by the expression on his face. This is how we should be with God. Live by His word, seek always to do His will, and He will let you know which way you should go when you get there. Joshua got where he should have been and God showed up to help just as He will.
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