A Legacy of Faith

Victory’s Battle Cry—A Study in the Book of Joshua-Part 16-A Legacy of Faith

As I fully recognize the aching of my bones in the early morning, the fatigue that slows me down, and those aging wrinkles that stare back at me in the mirror; I wonder sometimes how long I will be able to keep up the pace of what I do.  I strain sometimes and at other times condemn myself for “becoming lazy”.  Ok, some of you would say, “You are not that old.”  To, which I could say comparably, true.  Still I wonder if all the battles of this life have left their scars deep within my body.  After all, I should not have survived 5 years with the aggressiveness of the cancer I had back in 1998.  Nor, should I have survived the severity of my ulcerative colitis, total colectomy, and multiple surgeries.  Certainly the pancreatic mass should have taken me home; but that was 12 years ago, and I am still here, working fulltime and taking care of my mother.  A widow for 20 years, faced with the battles against loneliness and financial disaster at times added to that aging process—I am certain.  Oh, I can tell you that back then there were many times that I cherished the idea of going home.  I can remember looking into heaven and saying, “I’m tired.  It’s been a long journey, are you calling me home?”  God’s answer, as you may see was “One day soon, I will take you home; it may not be today though.  Just keep your eyes on me.”

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Samuel William Robinson (7/19/1895-10/03/1999)

Over these years, I have seen so many of God’s promises come true.  I have watched Him display His Majestic Sovereignty over my life and that of my Children.  During these years, I have learned that He is my joy and my greatest treasure.

Imagine this; it has been during these last 15 years that I wrote the 4 books that are published.  It has been these last 15 years that has led me to meet so many people by whom I have been blessed, to start this blog so as to tell the world about Christ, and to have seen my children find their perfect spouses. I have been so privileged by God to see my beautiful grandbabies.  I must say there is a greater urgency growing within my heart with each passing year to spread the gospel. Perhaps the creaking bones are a reminder that even if I live to be 100, time is short and there is so much to get done.  God called me to be a speaker for Him; and,

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A Call to Remember

Victory’s Battle Cry—A Study in Joshua, Part 15—A Call to Remember

Fresh mercies must not drown the remembrance of former mercies, nor must the glory of the present instruments of good to the church diminish the just honour of those who went before them, since God is the same who wrought by both. Moses gave to one part of Israel a very rich and fruitful country, but it was on the outside of Jordan. Joshua gave to all Israel the holy land, within Jordan. So the law has given to some few of God’s spiritual Israel worldly blessings, earnests of good things to come; but our Lord Jesus, the true Joshua, provided for all the children of promise spiritual blessings, and the heavenly Canaan. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Joshua 12-1-6 from (An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (1708-10), known also as Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible).

Joshua 12 presents us with a listing of those Kingdoms Conquered by Moses and then by Joshua representing the restoration of the lands that had been  promised to Abraham.  Throughout the scriptures it is chronicled about God’s Mercy, God’s Grace, God’s Sovereignty, God’s Glory and God’s faithfulness.  Over and over again, we are able to see God’s victory which He accomplishes through and in spite of Man’s foolishness and weakness.

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photo courtesy of @istockphoto.com

Like the Loving Heavenly Father that He is, He shows His mercy over and over again to us.  He recognizes our frailty; yet, He so wants us to develop hearts that are able to see Him one day with full understanding that He is the Greatest Treasure, He is Magnificent Glory, He is beauty beyond anything we have ever known, and His is the pureness of love that our hearts are longing for.  He is well aware that the only way for us to reach that understanding and lay aside the foolish arrogance, self-absorption, and self-exalting nature of our hearts so that we might see Him is through trials and tribulations which force us to let go of those things that cannot satisfy our souls. Too often we cling to things or aspire to greater “rewards or treasures” on earth; yet, God wants us to keep our eyes focused on Him and eternity.

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When I Am Most Fragile

Victory’s Battle Cry—A Study in Joshua Part 14- When I Am Most Fragile

Have you ever noticed that whenever you experience an amazing victory in Christ that suddenly there seems to be an all out attack against you? Suddenly, yesterday’s joyous strength and hope seems only a memory. You awoke feeling less than victorious. Suddenly, you remember how fragile you are and the weight of your ineptness seems to overwhelm. Everything around you gives the appearance that you are being attacked from every side. You know that God gave you the victory yesterday; yet, suddenly you wonder if He will today.

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Photo used by permission of Sarah Barba to whom the copyright belongs—click on link

In Joshua 11, we find that very scene. The fame regarding God’s Children being victorious in gaining all the Southern lands of Canaan had quickly spread. Joshua had returned to Gilgal; perhaps to rest before going out to take the lands of the north. The Kings of the North began joining forces to launch their attack on the Children of Israel. They did not desire to bow to God Almighty. Instead, they planned to annihilate the people of God before they could spread northward into their lands. Much the same response we get when trying to go forth and spread the gospel. These warriors from the north were stronger and had great horses and chariots with which to attack the Israel Nation who were on foot.

What was God’s answer? Oh, that I will get to in a moment after I confess that for the last three days I have been the one who felt very fragile in this pilgrimage journey.

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A Mother’s Prayer

I wrote this poem today for all you mothers out there.  Whether your children are newborns or 50 years of age, I think you can relate.  It is so much easier to accept the tribulations or pains in our own lives and understand them as part of God’s perfect master plan of love for us; but, it is much harder when it is heart of our heart that is hurting.  We want to cover them with our wings and protect them.  Yet,the truth is God understands us right there where we are and His patience is ever flowing.  I hope you find some hope and comfort in this poem.

A Mother’s Prayer

by Effie Darlene Barba

There is no pain so great, so deep

As when I see my dear child weep

When sorrows come or dreams are dashed

Their Heart is broken; hopes are crashed

The wrenching pain cuts deep my heart

I fear that it shall rip apart

 

My tears pour down like searing rain

I cannot bear to see their pain

Oh Lord, dear Lord for this I plead

Please let me take their bitter reed

This is my prayer both day and night

Give me their darkness, them the light

 

And then I felt your arm’s embrace

And saw the tears upon your face

The tenderness within your eyes

Had made me realize

That you had felt my pain before

When Christ my sin had bore

 

How great the pain you felt that day

My sin upon your son did lay

Your love for me, the guilty one

Endured the pain and watched your son

Bearing the wrath that sin demands

Rejected, beaten, nail scarred hands

 

And so, dear Lord, help me to see

Your plan for them as was for me

To drive them deep within your arms

Away from all these worldly harms

That they may hear Your Joy-filled song

Sung over them amidst the throngs

 

In You their life remains secure

Your love for them is ever pure

And gentle eyes become their gain

Wisdom and hope that’s born from pain

And points their eyes to always see

Glorious Grace- Eternity

 

Zephaniah 3: 17 (KJV) 17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

© 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.”

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.

broken-and-contrite-heart-ronald-barba

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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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.