The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed…because the kingdom of God is in your midst!

Link for today’s reading: Joshua 11:1-12:24, Luke 17:11-37, Psalm 84:1-12, Proverbs 13:5-6

Message:  20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”  22 Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.   26Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.   28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.   30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:20-30

5All these kings joined forces and made camp together at the Waters of Merom to fight against Israel. 6The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them, slain, over to Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.” 7 So Joshua and his whole army came against them suddenly at the Waters of Merom and attacked them, 8 and the LORD gave them into the hand of Israel. 15 As the LORD commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD commanded Moses. Josh. 11:5-8,15

Promise:

4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
 they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
 whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
12 LORD Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you. Psalm 84:4,5,10,12

Command:  32 Remember Lot’s wife!  Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” 37 “Where, Lord?” they asked. He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.” Luke 17:32-37

Warning:  

5 The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench and bring shame on themselves. 
6
Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner. Prov. 13:5,6

Application: I commit to ‘ever praising you’ and trusting in you.  I will find my strength in you and set my heart on pursuing you. I willingly give my life for you even as you gave your life for me. I will proclaim the promises of God and forcefully advance the Kingdom of God!

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The desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Link for today’s reading: Joshua 9:3-10:43, Luke 16:19-17:10, Psalm 83:1-18, Proverbs 13:4

Message: ‘Suppose one of you has a servant ploughing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, “Come along now and sit down to eat”? Won’t he rather say, “Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink”? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’Luke 17:7-9

 3 However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to a ruse…6 Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”  14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD. 15 Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.  Josh. 9:3,4,6,14,15
5 Then the five kings of the Amorites—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon—joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it.  7 So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. 8 The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.”  9 After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. 10 The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. 11 As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.  12 On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:   “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”   The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a human being. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel! Josh. 10:5, 7-12,14

Promise:  5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:5,6

 4 A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
Prov. 13:4

Command:   “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:3,4

Warning: 31 ‘He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”’ Luke 16:31

1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.  Luke 7: 1-3

Application: I commit to doing my duty by serving with faith and courage.  I will watch myself and avoid hypocrisy and unbelief, so that I won’t cause little ones –  little children and those who are babes in Christ – to stumble or lose faith.  “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.” I will forgive even as I have been forgiven by my Saviour!

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Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

Link for today’s reading: Joshua 7:16-9:2, Luke 16:1-18, Psalm 82:1-8, Proverbs 13:2-3

Message: For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.    10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? Luke 16:8-12

  I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” 22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the LORD. 24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today.”   Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Josh. 7:21-26

Promise:    16The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. Luke 16:16,17

Command:    13No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”Luke 16:8-13

Warning:

2 From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things,    but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence. 3 Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. Prov. 13:2,3

2 “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?
3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.  They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’
7 But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.” Psalm 82:2-7

Application: I commit to serving the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart, soul, strength, mind and with all my worldly possessions.  I will use worldly possessions and influence to forcefully advance the purposes of God, to persuade my friends and neighbours, and to proclaim the coming kingdom of Jesus my Lord!

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But keep away from the devoted things. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.

Link for today’s reading: Joshua 5:1-7:15, Luke 15:1-32, Psalm 81:1-16, Proverbs 13:1

Message: Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering round to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.’ Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Luke 15:1-3

 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. 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.” Josh. 5:13,14
2 Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.  But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the LORD and must go into his treasury.” Josh. 6:2, 19
1 But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the LORD’s anger burned against Israel.
10 The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. Josh. 7:1, 10-12

Promise: ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.  31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” Luke 15:  6,7,9,10, 22-24, 31,32

Command: 13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them. Josh. 7:13

Warning:

 8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you
if you would only listen to me, Israel!
9 You shall have no foreign god among you;
   you shall not worship any god other than me.
10 I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. Psalm 81:8-10

Application: I commit to worshipping the Lord my God and serving Him only.  I will consecrate myself and give all the ‘devoted things’ to the Lord, possessions of this world that belong to Him.  You are my provision! I will celebrate with the angels when my brother, who was lost, has now been found!

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Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Link for today’s reading: Joshua 3:1-4:24, Luke 14:7-35, Psalm 80:1-19, Proverbs 12:27-28

Message: 26 ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28 ‘Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, “This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.”
31 ‘Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
34 ‘Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; it is thrown out. ‘Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.’  Luke 14:26-34

13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. Josh 3:13,16-17
The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.” Josh. 4:9, 23, 24

Promise: 28 In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality. Prov. 12:28

Command: 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:10-14

Warning: 27 The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt. Prov. 12:27

Application: I commit to taking up my cross and following Jesus in the way of righteousness. For Jesus has made a way for us to cross over from death unto life.  I will humble myself that he may be exalted. I will be generous to the poor and needy and to those who cannot repay me. For he has shown me extravagant grace in laying down his life for me.

 1 Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
shine forth 2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
come and save us.

3 Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved. Psalm 80:1-3

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Make every effort to enter through the narrow door. Be strong and courageous!

Link for today’s reading: Deuteronomy 34:1-Joshua 2:24, Luke 13:22-14:6, Psalm 79:1-13, Proverbs 12:26

Message:  22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’  “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’  26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’   27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’   Luke 13:22-27


24
They said to Joshua, “The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.” Josh. 2:24

Promise: 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30  Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” Luke 13:28-30

Command: 6  Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.  7Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh. 1: 6-9

Warning:  34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 35  Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Luke 13:34,35

 26 The righteous choose their friends carefully,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray. Prov. 12:26

Application:  I commit to making every effort to enter through the narrow gate.  I will not fear or be discouraged. I will trust in the Lord my God who goes before me that I might be strong and courageous. I will be strong and courageous!

 8 Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
for we are in desperate need.
9 Help us, God our Savior,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for your name’s sake.
10 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?” Psalm 79:8-10

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What is the kingdom of God like? It is like a mustard seed; it is like yeast…

Link for today’s reading: Deuteronomy 33:1-29, Luke 13:1-21, Psalm 78:65-72, Proverbs 12:25

Message:  18 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.”  20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Luke 13:18-21

Promise: 

3 Surely it is you who love the people;
all the holy ones are in your hand.
At your feet they all bow down,
and from you receive instruction. Deut. 33: 3

25 Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Prov. 12:25

Command: 1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13: 1-5

Warning:  6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’   8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” Luke 13:5-9

Application: I commit to bearing the fruit of righteousness in my life.  I will repent and live in obedience to your word.  I will bring a kind word of encouragement to those in need.

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