When Heaven and Earth Stood Still

Victory’s Battle Cry—A Study in Joshua Part 13—When Heaven and Earth Stood Still

As we move on to Chapter 10 in Joshua, I believe that there are three main lessons within this chapter that we must learn and take to heart to help us in the battles of life against sin.

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photo courtesy of @istockphoto.com

If we learn these three lessons we can be victorious in our battle against sin.  These include having the heart of a servant toward God, honoring our commitments, and remembering that there is power in the name of God.

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Greater Grace, Sovereign Love

Victory’s Battle Cry—A Study in Joshua (Part 12)—Greater Grace, Sovereign Love

As I have pondered, read, reread and searched—I was initially baffled by what comes next in Joshua Chapter 9. The Israelites were victorious over Jericho because of God’s guiding hand. They had then initially failed because they did it their way against Ai. Ultimately they won against Ai after repenting and learning to once more follow God’s plan. Now we come to Chapter 9, which I hope you have read. As I explain the plot of the story, I hope to give justice to the deeper meaning for our lives.

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Used with written Permission of Ronald Barba who owns the copyright. Click on link for more information.

We will see an alliance formed by deceit that becomes honored. We see a nation once more fail to seek God’s guidance; yet, He graciously provides anyway. We see God’s majesty, sovereignty and grace displayed to an undeserving people. GOD NEVER CHANGES WHO HE IS-THE GREAT I AM, FOREVER AND ALWAYS.

The story is that all the other kings inhabiting the lands that God had given long ago to Abraham are suddenly afraid and want to join forces together to try to beat the Israelites. That is all except for the Hivites. The Hivites dwelled in the cities of Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kirjath Jearim. The leaders from the main city which was Gibeon made up a story that they had traveled from very far away and wished an alliance with the Israeli nation because they feared God. Joshua 9: “14 ¶ And the [i]men accepted their tale concerning their victuals, and counseled not with the mouth of the Lord.15 So Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, that he would suffer them to live: also the Princes of the Congregation swore unto them.” Once more, the leaders move on to make a pact without talking to God first—a very foolish move. Later they find that they were tricked by these people; however, the people remained true to their part of the bargain and become the

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Victory Arising from the Ashes of Defeat

Victory’s Battle Cry—A Study in Joshua Part 11—Victory Arising from the Ashes of Defeat

As we move on to Joshua 8, we must not forget the failures of faith and the sin that lead to the battle being lost in chapter 7. What are the lessons learned in our valleys of defeat that result in greater, glorious displays of God’s sovereignty over our lives?

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picture used with written permission of Ronald Barba who hold the copyright.  click on picture to follow link if you desire to learn how to obtain a copy.

Out of the ashes of our desperateness, blazes forth God’s victory in and through us. That is Grace Revealed and that has been the Gracious Love of the Gospel given freely by God since the very beginning of creation. The story of God’s Loving Gifts, man’s misuse, failure, and defeat, brokenness leading to repentance–followed by God’s forgiveness, grace, and victory. That has been the story repeated over and over throughout the pages of history.

The same has been true in the history of my life. So often we want to question what God has done. The truth is all He has done is to demonstrate patience, grace and mercy to all these foolish lumps of clay that deserve nothing. It has all been Grace. You or I would have said, “Enough” so long ago; but, not God. So as we turn from chapter seven’s shameful defeat of the Israelites by the people of Ai to the victory in chapter eight; we must strive to learn some valuable lessons of how to let God turn our failures into victory. Let us look at 7 lessons we might learn. 

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Not Tonight-A Tribute to All Those Who Risk Their Lives to Keep Us Safe

Not Tonight

By Effie Darlene Barba

 

Into the deepest darkest night

Where evil lurks-hid from his sight

An Officer goes-prepared to fight

With all His strength and all His might

Praying to God, not tonight

 

He gently pulls His children near

Their smiles can lift his heart with cheer

He kisses boo-boos wipes their tears

And as He leaves for work He hears

Daddy, don’t go, not tonight

 

She kisses him, to work he goes

And all the time, too well she knows

That he must face such evil foes

Phone clutched tight, her eyes then close

Lord, don’t let it ring, not tonight

 

A mother awakens to whisper a prayer

Protect my son from sin’s dark lair

Your warrior of truth-just and fair

Endowed by you with virtues rare

He’s yours to call, please not tonight

 

Forgotten and paid a pauper’s wage

Media and public he must assuage

While calmly holding back the rage

When violent criminals do engage

Pleading to God, not tonight

 

These officers protecting you

They sacrifice more than you knew.

When will you value what they do

Or even stop to say, “Thank You”?

Shame on you, if not tonight

Officers often have less than a split second to make a decision.  When they hesitate for even a split second it is their life they may be sacrificing as has been the case all too often.  Maybe we need to walk in their shoes just for a moment to realize that too often they don’t have time to think.  As Christians and as citizens, we are commanded to be subject to the rulers and authorities placed over us.  The only exception would be when they tell us that we cannot pray or worship–even then, we are to continue with humility to pray and worship.  If we are arrested and jailed for praying, we go peacefully.  If we are killed for bowing before Christ; like Stephen, we die without violence.  Short of that we are to obey the authorities. 

Titus 3:1 (NIV)“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient”.

With so much pain, sorrow and struggles we need to take a moment to sing this song along with Aaron Keyes–Sovereign Over Us.  Let the words of this song whisper to your heart and let it be filled with God’s Love, Joy, and Peace sustaining us  in the midst of tears, chaos and pain.  No, I don’t mean a phony smile and giddiness. I mean that steady deep abiding strength and peace that flows forth with the rivers of our tears.

New International Version(NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© 2014 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to any brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides regarding the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Four Stumbling Blocks to Avoid

Victory’s Battle Cry—A Study in Joshua Part 10—Four Stumbling Blocks to Avoid

How often following a great victory given to us by God, do we as Christians find ourselves most vulnerable to a disastrous failure? The same was true of the children of Israel as we read chapter 7 of Joshua. I do urge that you go and read the chapter in its entirety. They had been victorious against the city of Jericho by God’s battle plan. They had been commanded not to keep anything from that city except the Gold and Silver were to be tithed 100% to God. God was the victory and God was to receive all the spoils. He was providing for the nation all they needed and this was important that they not desire the wrong things nor forget that it is truly all about God first. So, here they stood fresh upon their victory over Jericho and they are ready to continue on and take the next area. They fail and they lose the battle against Ai. Why? I propose that there are four main pitfalls that the Children of Israel fell into which caused them to fail in their initial battle against Ai.

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picture courtesy of @istockphoto.com

The four stumbling blocks which often become our pitfalls following a season of victory are: Arrogance, Self-reliance, Self-pity, and Indifference to “little sins”. We must be very aware of the devastating effects of these four pitfalls in our own Christian Pilgrimage, as they also are the stumbling blocks we face particularly following a great victory.

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Destroying Satan’s Strongholds

Victory’s Battle Cry—A Study in Joshua Part 9—Destroying Satan’s Strongholds

The people in the city of Jericho had heard of the things that God had done in Egypt and had heard that the children of Israel had crossed the river of Jordan on dry land. They sealed themselves behind the walls surrounding their city, securing the gates. They had somewhere in time built this stronghold.  Behind these walls they could close in their ideas and keep out all others. They believed it could protect them, somehow. Despite their fearing the God of the Israelites; they did not see God as Glorious nor did they desire to worship Him. Many today like the people of Jericho believe in His existence and His power; but, do not worship Him as King of their lives. Joshua instructed the people as God had commanded them for this battle. They were to march around the city every day for 6 days with the warriors in front, the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant surrounded by other priests carrying horns and then the remainder of the people behind. On the seventh day, they were to march around the city seven times. They were then to blow the horns and everyone shout—an act of faith and praise to God. The walls then all fell down. God crumbled the walls with one command from Him.

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picture courtesy of @istockphoto.com

What walls or strongholds are you facing today? Are they strongholds of unbelievers that you have been witnessing to day after day with no results and you are discouraged over your ministry? Or are they strongholds that are even more personal within your own heart? Are there areas of fear, doubt, and discouragement because you feel so inadequate everyday as a Christian? You wish you had said the right thing or you wish you had shown the love of Christ in your actions or you just wish you could learn to keep your mouth shut sometimes? What is that stronghold of doubt and defeat which Satan chips away at every day of your life?

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Time and Space Encircling Me

Time and Space Encircling Me

By Effie Darlene Barba

 

Time and space encircling me

You came to save and set me free

That I might find eternity

Forever there your glory see

 

Guide me Lord within this life

To lay aside all doubt and strife

That I might live eternity

Fix my eyes your face to see

 

You came to earth to bear my pain

To wash away my sin laid stain

My hope now based eternity

Forever there Your love to see

 

Teach me Lord, draw me near

That I proclaim for all to hear

The Joy you share, eternity

Salvation’s song of love for me.

©2014 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

It’s Not About Me

Victory’s Battle Cry—A Study in Joshua Part 8— It’s Not About Me

Joshua 5: (NIV)”13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand.

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photo courtesy of istockphoto.com

“Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[e]have for his servant?”

15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.”

So who was this man standing there with his sword in hand?

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A Matter of the Heart

Victory’s Battle Cry—A Study in Joshua Part 7—A Matter of the Heart

So, the children of Israel had crossed over Jordan and were going to take possession of the land that God had promised to Abraham so many years before. Imagine their excitement and the eagerness they must have been feeling to move on further; yet, they waited calmly at their first destination. There was no mention of grumbling, impatience or fear among these who had been chosen. In fact, you may find it strange that there they stopped and Joshua circumcised the people before they moved any further. They then tarried there until all were healed. This was an act of surrendering faith born from hearts that loved, feared, and awed at who God had proven Himself to be. They knew that the armies of the land which had caused their parents to tremble and doubt, could easily come and attack while they were all weakened from the surgery; yet, there was no doubt here. Everyone surrendered to the knife cutting away their flesh. The circumcision was not what would save them any more than the law had been able to cause them to be victorious. It was merely symbolic of the circumcision that had already occurred in their heart. They were willing to sit and wait for God to say “Go”.

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art is courtesy of istockphoto.com

They had glimpsed at God’s Glory and they desired to be a people who worshipped God. They had been captivated by His Glory, His Beauty, His Honesty, His Power, and His Abiding Love. Their hearts had been transformed into hearts that sought after God and that loved God with all their heart, all their soul, and all their strength.

They had learned that the letter of the law could not save them; but, it would have

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Build An Everlasting Memorial to God With Your Life

Victory’s Battle Cry- A Study in Joshua Part 6—

Once more, God demonstrates to His people the majesty of His power and His Glory. He halts the raging river while all the people cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land. The priests were in the midst of the River with the Ark of the Covenant—a symbol of God’s presence and strength.

Jordan River - Jordan River at the Hazbani, one of the streams feeding the main Jordan in the North of Israel

photo courtesy of istockphoto.com

Once everyone had safely crossed over, God tells Joshua to have one man from each tribe to go back, pick up a stone from where the priests are standing and bring it to the place they will camp that night to build a memorial shrine as a reminder of what God did for them and a reminder as of the perfect sovereignty, righteousness, justice, Mercy and grace that is God.

God had remained faithful to redeem Himself a people in spite of all their failures in the past and He is about to prove to the entire world that He is the Victory in every trial or battle of life.

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Fighting for Joy In a Chaotic World EFFIE DARLENE BARBA

Are you fighting to hold tight to the joy in Christ throughout the trials of your life? Join me and know that we can do this together.