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April 14 – The Fullness of Christ

Read Ephesians 4:1-13

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:12) 


The passage states that Jesus gave gifts to men, and some of these gifts, were gifted men. The apostles, prophets,  evangelists, pastors and teachers were given for the purpose of equipping the saints. Then Paul uses the word “unto” a number of times to explain in the next verses the purpose of the equipping. They include: 


  1. Unto the work of ministry
  2. Unto the edifying of the body
  3. Unto a perfect man
  4. Unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
Dean Taylor in “The Thriving Church” explains that the word “unto” involves purpose. The purpose of the equipping of the saints is “unto” the work of the ministry, the edifying of the body, for the purpose of making mature men, for the purpose of the stature of the fullness of Christ. 
The word “until” shows a duration of time. We do this until we all come in the unity of the faith and come to the knowledge of the Son of God. “Unto” shows purpose and “until” shows a time period. Whenever you have a purpose coupled with a time purpose you have a goal. Glenn Armstrong said to me often, “a goal is a dream with a deadline,” in other words, a time period. 
Our great desire is for the unity of the faith, that we have the same things in common with those in the body of Christ, and that we come to the stature of the fullness of Christ. We need to consider what is our main purpose in our church. What does God want us to do? We can have great programs that entertain and liven up our lives, but if they don’t accomplish our purpose, we need to consider why we are doing them. Are we accomplishing what God wants us to accomplish? 

For a Pastor, my job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry. There are so many things that I do as a pastor, but if I am not equipping the saints, then I am not accomplishing the ministry that Christ has given to me. I believe that the church will only grow and increase in spiritual health as we keep before us the work that God has enlisted us to do.


An Exercise to increase our faith: Once again the exercise today is to evaluate the opportunities that God has given to you to serve Him. Are we doing the things that God has expressly given to us as His purpose for our life and for our church. How are we doing in edifying, bringing to perfection and coming to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ?


April 13 – Relational Fundamentalism

Read Ephesians 4:14-20

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”  Ephesians 4:15 


Our church strongly believes in the fundamentals of the faith. We believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. We believe that Jesus is God, was virgin born, died on the cross for our sins, rose again, and is coming back visibly to this earth. We hold strongly to those beliefs, but if the church of Jesus Christ is going to have an impact on this world it not only has to believe and teach those fundamentals, it also has to teach the relational fundamentals of loving one another. It is not by the doctrinal fundamentals that people will know that we are His disciples. It has to be by our belief and desire to live the fundamentals of care and compassion. We read, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:12) 

It is God’s desire that we strive for unity in our body, that we show the same compassion and care to all of the members of this body, that we edify one another and speak the truth in love. Dean Taylor in his book, “The Thriving Church,”  wrote,

“A gathering of people without a doctrinal foundation is not a church. But neither can there be a church without people who are in relationship with one another. Your church may be doctrinally sound but relationally sick. You might get a trophy for “contending for the faith,” but much of your contention is against the saints themselves. You may be causing divisions in the body of Christ by your attitudes toward and treatment of others in the church.”

One of the opportunities that we have in this crisis is to renew some relationships that have gotten stale over the years. Even though we can’t be with all of the people, and we can’t talk fact to face, we have the time to consider the unity of our church, this local body of Christ and determine to strengthen our relationships with those around us.


An exercise to increase our Faith: This may be the best time that you have had in years to really develop the relationships within your own home. Think of some things that you need to do to show love to your family and build a strong union with your spouse and children.  


April 11 – The Day Our Lord Died

The Day our Lord Died

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time explaining that Jesus died on a Wednesday. Some have been very angry with me over my interpretation of the passages, but I am so thankful that God has made this clear in His word. The Lord is very specific when it comes to dates and times. His Word is verbally inspired and is 100 % accurate. I rewrite this for you so you can help people see how God orchestrated every detail of the last days of the Lord. 
The two holy days  –  God had eight special holy days that HE GAVE TO HIS PEOPLE. The Holy days were given as a prophesy so that men could know the events of redemption. The first holy day, on the fourteenth day of the first month was the Passover. This day signified the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. We read, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”  (1 Corinthians 5:7) 
The second holy day was the first day of unleavened bread.  We read, “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.”  Leviticus 23:6 
God gave to the Jewish people two Holy days in a row. The fourteenth day and the fifteenth day were holy days. First the Passover when Christ was crucified and the second the Feast of Unleavened bread. Leaven was a type of sin in the Bible. Leaven was taken away by the death of Christ.
This feast was a“floating Sabbath.” That means that Passover, Unleavened Bread, Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles (all were floating Sabbaths) occurred each year on a different day. One year a feast day might take place on a Monday, the next a Tuesday. They were given a day of the month and because the Jewish calendar had thirty days in a month, they would always “float” from one day to the next. 
When Jesus died, there were three Sabbaths that occurred “back to back” when Jesus was in the grave. The first two were the Passover and unleavened bread, and the third was the normal Sabbath which would be our Saturday. Notice that John says, “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” (John 19:31)  That Sabbath day was an high day. What day was it? 

“Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover.” John 18:28. Notice at Jesus’ trial, the Jews wouldn’t go into the judgment hall because they would be defiled and would not be able to eat the Passover. Therefore, the Passover had not been eaten. The Passover feast began that night. When Jesus said, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish,  so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  God is specific and he means what He says. Jesus was dead for three days and three night. Matthew writes, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”  (Matthew 28:1)  

Some of your Bibles will make it clear that the word Sabbath in this verse is plural. The word in the Greek is sabbatwn. It is a genitive plural. It is unfortunate that every version has translated it singular. What it really says, at the Sabbaths’ end, the first day began. 

Does it matter? It matters in the fact that God means what He says and planned for the three days of Sabbath way back in the Old Testament. He went to great lengths to have Jonah as an illustration of this truth. It makes a difference that we can rely on what He says. The greatest difference is that the lives of all who place their trust in Christ are unleavened. The leaven has been removed and we are a new lump.  “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:” 1 Corinthians 5:7 


April 10 – Easter in Reality

Easter in Reality by Dr Allan Clark

Read Acts 25

Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. (Acts 23:5)


(I include Dr Clark’s article because there are many who would like to throw out Easter because it is a pagan holiday. Please consider that Satan has tried to hold hostage two of the most important days in our calendar, the birth of Christ and the death of Christ. The birth of Christ has been changed to Santa Claus and the resurrection of Christ has been changed to Easter bunnies and chickens. But just because Satan has counterfeited a pagan holiday, does not mean that we celebrate his day. We are worshiping the God of the Bible who died and rose again.)


Is the middle eastern worship of the fertility goddess Ishtar and the Christian worship of the Messiah’s resurrection the same day? Many years ago I read Revelation 17 and became obsessed with the question “Who is this woman in verse 5 that God obviously hates, and why does He hate her so much?”. This started me on a marvelous journey of discovery guided by the Holy Spirit. On this most important day of the year I would like to give you a summery of what I have learned.

I wish to begin where I believe it starts in Genesis 10:8 – 10:10: (and Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth…. and the beginning of this kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.) History appears to reveal this as the first empire with the first conquering king named Nimrod. According to the historian Eusebius of Cesarea, Semiramis was the wife of Nimrod. The Sumerian language “Summer – amat” according to the ancient legends, Nimrod was killed. Later Semiramus became pregnant. Not wanting to lose her position as queen, she convinced her followers that Nimrod had ascended to Heaven and become one with the sun. Then, he impregnated her via a ray of sunshine. She then gave birth (immaculate birth) to Tammus.

The legend continues with Tammus at age 40 being killed by a wild boar while hunting. To immortalize Tammus, Semiramus begins a tradition of weeping for Tamus. The people are to set aside 40 days, one day for each year, where they are to give up something in this life so that Tammus can enjoy this gift in the after life. Ezekiel 8:14 (Then he brought me the door of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north, and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammus.)

Semiramus was not only the queen but also the high priestess of the fertility based religion. When Semiramus dies, the high priests and followers of her religious cult continue the same theme. Since Nimrod ascended and became part of the heavens, Semiramus ascended and became queen (mother) of heaven. Since fertility is so important in the spring, each year on the first Sunday after the vernal (spring) equinox, Semiramus drops into the Euphrates river at sunrise in an egg. She breaks forth from the egg, and to proclaim her divinity, turns birds into egg laying rabbits. Ezekiel 8:16b (between the porch and the alter, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east: and they worshiped the sun toward the east.)

After the tower of Babel, due to the confounding of the languages, the names changed but the same fertility themes continued. Venus in Rome, Aphrodite in Greek, Diana in Ninevah, Astarte in Tyre and Sidon. Venus in Rome, Aphrodite in Greek, Diana in Ninevah, Astarte in Tyre and Sidon.

In the Old Testament the name Astereth is a contraction of Astarte and the Hebrew word for ‘shame or abomination’ is boshet. The plural Astaroth became the Hebrew word for goddess and paganism. Inanna / Ishtar is recorded in ancient

Sumer at the time of the Amorite king Hammurabi (1792 – 1750 BC ) depicted as a bare breasted goddess with wings and bird feet, standing on two lionesses. This religious theme can be followed clearly from Babylon to Nineveh to Pergamos. Revelation 2:13a (I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is), to Rome.

Satan has, and continues, to blur the lines of our two most cherished celebrations: Easter and Christmas. Attempting to confuse and contort he would have us believe that celebrating Easter is worshiping Ishtar on her day, but IS IT? Remember Ishtar comes back to earth on the first Sunday AFTER the vernal Equinox. The Vernal Equinox is ALWAYS the 19th, 20th, or 21st of March, which means the day of Ishtar must always be the end of March.

This year Easter is April 12th. Leviticus 23:5 (In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’s Passover.) Deut 16 (observe the month Abib, and keep the Passover unto the LORD thy God, for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.) Abib or Aviv is an agricultural term. When barley begins to form a tuft or head on the stalk it is the ‘dark’ stage. When the seeds begin to form, it is the Abib. When the barley is ripe, it is the carmel stage. Barley grows wild in Israel so the month it is ripe is ALWAYS up to the LORD, and the Passover is always the middle of the month on the 14th. The moon is full in the middle of the month so the early Church fathers determined the best way to keep Easter as close to Passover as was possible was to place it on the first Sunday after the Pascal (Latin for Passover) moon. Which is the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. 2 Tim 2:15 (Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth)

Satan is constantly trying to mislead and confuse. Maybe the word Easter does come from Ishtar, maybe it comes from the Greek god of the east wind Eurus. Maybe somewhere else but they are NOT the same day. God is in control. Have a safe, healthy, and happy Easter. Shalom.

Alan Clark MD


*My references are:
Bible = King James Version
The Two Babylons by Rev Alexander Hislop
Nimrod’s Secret Identity by Lew White
Lectures and tapes of Michael Rood
Old Testament, Topical Studies by Jerry Robinson
– to name a few


April 9, 2020 – Pray for People

Read 1 Timothy 2

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” 1 Timothy 2:1 


Times are changing. Morality has been on the decline for years. For us it is hard to picture that it can get much worse. We have seen a total destruction of the family, with many choosing to marry someone of the same sex, and divorce leaving many single parent homes. First Timothy tells us to pray for all men, but in the following verses Paul is more specific.
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (1 Timothy 2:2) Our peace is dependent on our prayers, and we need to remember to pray for those who are in authority. We need to especially pray for our President and the members of our congress and senate. They have very difficult decisions to make and their decisions not only affect the future health of our nation, but they also affect the future wealth of our nation. The economy has never been so fragile as it is today. 
They probably feel that all of the responsibility for the future of this nation rests on their shoulders. In reality, everything that is happening has been ordained of God. Obviously God does not desire the death of anyone, but He also is at a point where He is about to intervene in the immorality. He will not allow it to get past a certain point. He has intervened in the immorality of the past with Sodom and Gomorrah and with the flood of Noah. This may not be His judgment, but it is a wake up call. The prayer has a goal of godliness and all honesty. 
Not only are we to pray for our leaders, but we are to pray for our community and our friends and neighbors. First, we need to pray for those who have contracted this disease. We pray that their sickness would not be unto death, and that they wouldn’t pass the disease on to their loved ones. Second, we need to pray for our health care workers and other essential workers. We have many in our church and some of them are in direct contact with coronavirus patients. 
Last, but most importantly, we need to pray for the salvation of many in our city. The fourth verse puts this in context with God’s greatest desire, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) It is God’s desire that all men come to Him. He died on the cross for the sins of the entire world. His Son is the only mediator between God and man. That means that all men can be saved, all men need to be saved, and all men can be saved by coming in faith to God. Perhaps the greatest need is for spiritual healing and the virus is pointing men to the God of healing.

An Exercise to increase my Faith: Pray for the ones who have covid-19. Pray for the families of those who have already died, but more than that, pray that God would give us fruit that would endure to eternal life.


April 8, 2020 – Express Appreciation

Read Psalm 107

“Make me to understand the way of thy precepts; so shall I talk of thy wondrous works”  Psalm 119:27 


There seems to be a correlation between what we learn and what we talk about. The more we know on a subject, the more likely we are to talk about it. The Psalmist asks the Lord to make him understand the way of God’s precepts. The result in the remainder of the verse is that he will talk of the wondrous works of God. 
Think of the things that you talk about in a day. Do you like to talk about sports, cars, fashion? The principle seems to be that we like what we are good at and we talk about the things that we like. If we like sports, we talk about sports; if we like cars, we talk about cars. 
David wanted to devote himself to knowing the ways of God. It is not about what you know, rather, it is about what you are passionate about, and that is usually the things you study. Jesus said, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34) 
It is not the things of the heart that come out of the mouth, it is the abundance of the heart that comes out of the mouth. We have a lot of things in our heart, but they are not filling our heart to such an extent that they come out. Praise comes from a heart that is filled with thanksgiving and running over with gratitude. The key is to determine what we allow to enter our hearts. If we have a small amount of God’s Word in our heart,  then a small amount of God’s Word will come out of our mouth. If we have an abundance in our heart, then an abundance will come from our lips.
Notice however, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” (Matthew 15:18)  The abundance can be an abundance of evil thoughts or desires. We could place garbage or things that cause us to lust into our hearts and they will not only defile us, but they will defile what we say.

An Exercise to increase our faith: Take an inventory of what you talk about. What do you share with your friends? What do you share with your co workers, or your neighbors? If you talk about the Lord and express gratitude to Him,  then you can be assured that you have placed a lot of God’s works into your heart. If you have God’s works, you will also have God’s words.


April 7, 2020 – The Discipline of Trust

Read Proverbs 4

“For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10) 
Trust is a difficult lesson to learn. There are a number of times in the Bible that we are commanded to trust God.  He says, “Trust in the Lord with ALL OF YOUR HEART.” Our tendency is to trust in ourselves, to lean on our own understanding. Our tendency is to trust in the medical community, those who know so much more about the human body and how to fight disease. But we read that God sometimes puts us through difficulties in order for us to learn how to trust in God. Paul wrote, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:” (2 Corinthians 1:9 ).
Paul had a sentence of death upon him throughout his life. Many people at different times in his life wanted him dead. In a few cases they tried desperately and determinately to kill him. At one time a group of men banded together with an oath that they would not eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul. Obviously, those men were desperate to find Paul and kill him so they could eat. 
We talk about trust an awful lot, but truthfully we need trust far more than we talk about it, and we rarely exhibit the kind of trust that we read about in the Bible. There are many in our city, and in our church that are worried about the pandemic. So am I. I worry not for my sake, but for those who need me to be there for them, and I worry about passing the virus on to others. I refrain from hugging my grandchildren though it is my greatest desire at times.
When we come down to the bottom line, we have to ask ourselves, “Is God in control?” “Does He know the day of my death and the way of my death?” If there is an appointment with death, and God knows that day, then I really don’t have to be afraid of what God is doing. 

I am not going to tempt Him by acting irrationally or by taking unnecessary chances with this virus, but neither do I have to worry that I will do something wrong that will change the day of my death. The sentence of death that we have, is a sentence that is written by God and not by man. The sentence is a plan that God has for me, and because He knows the day of my death, I need to trust Him for this day that I am living. He has promised to supply all of my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. I think we all agree that God has not run out of riches or out of glory.


An Exercise to increase our faithPray, evaluate, and then meditate on what God is doing in your life. Consider His greatness and the strength of His promises. How is this event shaping your faith? It takes discipline to maintain a walk with God, but trust is also a discipline. God requires us to trust in Him, and asks us to trust in Him with all of our heart.


April 6, 2020 – The Christian and Ascetism

Read Colossians 2

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  (Philippians 3:8) 
We have often heard that the Christian life is not about “don’t do this, don’t do that,” and it is true that we do not live by “touch not, taste not, handle not.”  But the Lord has been speaking to me lately in a book that I am reading on the life of Hudson Taylor. Self denial is a part of a Christian’s experience and should be a part of our entire life after we are saved. Jesus said, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) 
We sit at home thinking of all that we are missing. There are so many things in life that we used to do that we can’t do now. I have not played basketball in a month. We haven’t been to a restaurant. Those things have always been a big part of life for Peggy and me, but not now. 
We think about all that God has given to us, not just in things but in experiences. We have been able to travel, to see new things, to experience new foods and cultures. Now we have little to do except read and watch television. 

Hudson Taylor was a missionary to main land China. He lived from 1832 to 1905 and spent 51 years in China. Few know that he was a doctor, in fact he was practicing to be a surgeon. At one point in his life, he was living in a wealthy part of England and working with a doctor learning that practice. He saw that he was spending a lot of money, too much money. He moved out of that apartment and moved into a shack in a place called, “Drainside.”  It was the worst part of town.  We read,

“I soon found that I could live upon very much less than I had previously though possible. Butter, milk, and other luxuries I ceased to use, and found that by living mainly on oatmeal and rice, with occasional variations, a very small sum was sufficient for my needs. In this way I had more that two thirds of my income available for other purposes, and my experience was that the less I spent on myself and the more I gave to others, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become.”

We have been blessed with so much. We sometimes fail to understand that God has given to us so that we in turn can have to give to others. The idea of asceticism is giving up. It might be wrong to give up to become spiritual, but it is not wrong to give up so others might have. It is the testimony of Jesus Christ. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”  (2 Corinthians 8:9) 


An exercise to increase our Faith: Who do you know that has a need? That need may be money, food, or it could be that they need someone to talk to.  Some of the elderly simply need a phone call and a bit of our time. Make some time today to call someone that you haven’t talked to or seen for some time. Give them a portion of your greatest gift,  time.

April 4, 2020 – Share the Gospel

Read: 1 Thessalonians 2

“But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”  (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
These devotions and exercises are written to stretch us in areas of faith. Faith is not a checklist that you mark off a day at a time where if you get nine out of ten you are a great Christian, but four out of ten is a bad Christian. No, faith is defined in Romans 4 in referring to Abraham, “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (Romans 4:21)

Abraham was fully persuaded that God would keep His promises and his actions reflected that belief. As we obey Him,  we place our trust in His promises that our obedience will produce the results that God has revealed in His word. When we share the gospel, we believe that God is able to take the seed sown and multiply it to produce fruit.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 is not about our faith. It is about God’s faith in us as instruments for the spread of the gospel. We were put in trust, entrusted with the greatest message that has ever been given. It is the difference between life and death. It is the plan of the God of eternity and is given into our hands. The entrusting shows trust in His children to be His messengers. Because of that trust, we speak not to please men, but God, who tries our hearts. 
Perhaps the hardest thing that you will ever do in your life is share the gospel. It is easy to share with people. That is, it is easy to share what we know and what we have done, but it is very difficult to share the gospel. It is not just that we are telling people that they are sinners. We also have the good news that the sin is forgiven. The reason it is so difficult is that the gospel represents the greatest battle between God and Satan. Satan has blinded the minds so they will not hear. Because there is a devil who hates this message, and since the world is under that power, they will also hate the message.   

We need to understand that God has placed power in the gospel and power in the Holy Spirit to overcome the difficulty. He has also prepared the hearts of men to hear and accept it. We do not have to force people to accept it.  We cannot convert them, but we can speak, and we can tell them about Christ. 


An Exercise to increase our Faith: Obviously in one way this is a difficult time to share the gospel,  ecause we do not have much contact with people. But in another way, it is perhaps the best time since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 for people to hear and listen. Pray that God would give you an opportunity to share this great news with someone in the coming weeks.


April 3,2020 – Encourage Someone

Read Joshua 1

“But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.”  (Deuteronomy 3:28 )
The Lord told Moses that he would not be able to bring the people into the promised land because he failed to sanctify the Lord at Meribah. Moses pleaded with the Lord, but the Lord told him, “speak no more of this matter.” Moses asked the Lord to give Israel a shepherd to lead them and the Lord told Moses that He had chosen Joshua. He said, “Go and encourage him and strengthen him, for he will go before this people.” 
The Lord saw more potential in Joshua than Moses saw, but he also saw more potential in him that Joshua himself could see. Joshua could not picture himself leading this army of people, nor could he see himself worthy to fight the Lord’s battles.  God saw the future as clearly as the past and knew the work that Joshua could and would do for Him. 
We live in a very difficult time. There is so much to tear down a man in our world. It is impossible to picture any person being used as Joshua or Moses was used. We have so many temptations and so many who are attacking what we believe. When we leave the church building, we are targets for the fiery darts of the devil.  He wants to discourage us so we have nothing to offer this world. When we come together, the saints are able to give the courage that is needed. 
There was a time when David was greatly discouraged fleeing for his life, but he had a friend.  We read in 1 Samuel  23:16,  “And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.”
What a blessing to have a friend like Jonathan! Jonathan was willing to die for Israel, for God and for his friend. God used this man to put courage back into David’s heart. The courage didn’t come by telling David how great he was. It came by reminding David that his strength was in God. 

An Exercise to increase my Faith: Who needs your encouragement? Spend time thinking of someone who may be discouraged. You are probably not able to visit them, but you can send a card or a text,  or call them on the phone and let them know that you are thinking and praying for them.  A few words empowered by the Holy Spirit can make a huge difference in a person’s life.