Do you believe there is a God? Do you believe in God? Do you have a relationship with God? Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe He is the Son of God? Do you believe He is God? Do you believe that He died on the cross for you and me? Do you believe that on the third day He rose again, conquering the grave and providing freedom from the power of death and sin? Do you believe that He provides a way for sin to be washed out? Do you have a relationship with Him? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit? Do you have a relationship with Him?
Do you deny it? Why don’t you believe? What would it take to change your mind? Would you seek Him? Have you ever read the book “The Case for Christ” by a self-proclaimed skeptical atheist, having a career in Legal Affairs Journalism, uncovers his Case For Christ by interviewing many experts in their field?
Well, the people of Israel as they claimed the promised land believed! The people who were freed from slavery in Egypt and saw all the miracles believed! The people who saw the parting of the Red Sea and the Jordan believed!
If you don’t believe where does your hope come from? If you don’t where does your confidence come from? Where does your hope come from? Where does your confidence come from? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! If you are trying to carry the load alone, that’s not how it is supposed to be! If you are trying to do this journey alone, that isn’t how it was supposed to be!
Do you realize it isn’t all about the stuff? Do you realize it is so much more than a game of who can collect the most? Do you realize it is so much simpler than all of that?
If not you, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where? If not this, then what? If not this, then why?
If you are still here, you just like me are still running the race! We are still trying to get to the goal! Let’s leave the past where it belongs behind us and chase forward towards the goal God has for us!
Let’s take a look at today’s reading to see what it shows and tells us of God’s greatness and great love for us.
Portions for Other Tribes
1Then the second lot came out for Simeon, for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their clans. Now their portion was in the midst of the portion of the children of Judah. 2They had for their inheritance: Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah, 3Hazar-shual, Balah, Ezem, 4El-tolad, Bethul, Hormah, 5Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah, 6Beth-lebaoth and Sharuhen—13 towns with their villages; 7also Ain, Rimmon, Ether and Ashan—4 towns with their villages; 8all the villages that were around these towns as far as Baalath-beer, Ramah of the Negev. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their clans. 9The inheritance of the children of Simeon was taken out of the allotment of the children of Judah, for the portion of the children of Judah was too much for them; so the children of Simeon had inheritance within Judah’s inheritance. 10Now the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their clans. The territory of their inheritance was as far as Sarid. 11Their border went up westward to Maralah, then reached Dabbesheth, and on to the wadi alongside Jokneam. 12It turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrise to the border of Chisloth-tabor, then went on to Dobrath and up to Japhia. 13From there it went east to Gath-hepher, to Ethkazin, and went on to Rimmon, where it curved to Neah. 14Then the border circled around on the north to Hannathon and ended at the Valley of Iphtahel. 15Included also were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem—12 towns with their villages. 16This is the inheritance of the children of Zebulun according to their clans, these towns with their villages. 17The fourth lot came out for Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their clans. 18Now their territory was to Jezreel, and included Chesulloth, Shunem, 19Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20 Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 21Remeth, En-gannim, En-haddah and Beth-pazzez. 22The border extended to Tabor, Shahazim, and Beth-shemesh, and ended at the Jordan—16 towns with their villages. 23This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Issachar according to their clans, the towns with their villages. 24Then the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their clans. 25Their territory included Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, 26Allam-melech, Amad, and Mishal. It extended to Carmel westward and Shihor-libnath. 27Then it turned toward the sunrise to Beth-dagon, extended to Zebulun and to the Iphtahel Valley on the north toward Beth-emek and Neiel, then went on to Cabul on the north, 28then Ebron, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah, up to greater Sidon. 29Next the border turned to Ramah, then to the fortified city of Tyre. Then the border turned to Hosah and ended at the sea in the region of Achzib, 30Also included were Ummah, Aphek and Rehob—22 towns with their villages. 31This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Asher according to their clans, these towns with their villages. 32The sixth lot came out for the children of Naphtali, for the children of Naphtali according to their clans. 33Their border went from Heleph and from Elon-beza-anannim, including Adami-nekeb and Jabneel, as far as Lakkum, and ended at the Jordan. 34Then the border turned westward to Aznoth-tabor, and went on from there to Hukok. It touched Zebulun on the south, touched Asher on the west, and Judah at the Jordan toward the east. 35The fortified cities were Ziddim-zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth, 36Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37Kedesh, Edrei, En-Hazor, 38Iron, Migdal-el, Horem, Beth-anath and Beth-shemesh—19 towns with their villages. 39This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their clans, the towns with their villages. 40The seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their clans. 41The territory of their inheritance included Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir-shemesh, 42Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 43Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 44Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45Jehud, Bene-berak, Gath-rimmon, 46and the Waters of Jarkon and Rakkon along the border opposite Joppa. 47The territory of the children of Dan slipped away from them, so the children of Dan went up and fought against Leshem and captured it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, possessed it and settled in it, and called Leshem Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor. 48This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their clans, these towns with their villages. 49When they had finished allotting the land for inheritance by its borders, Bnei-Yisrael gave a portion to Joshua son of Nun in their midst. 50According to the command of Adonai they gave him the city that he requested, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. So he built up the city and lived in it. 51These are the portions which Eleazar the kohen and Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the ancestral houses of the tribes of Bnei-Yisrael distributed for inheritance by lot in Shiloh before Adonai, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. So they finished apportioning the land.
–from Joshua 19
Six Cities of Refuge
1Then Adonai spoke to Joshua saying, 2“Speak to Bnei-Yisrael saying, ‘Designate your cities of refuge, about which I spoke to you through Moses. 3So the manslayer who kills any person by mistake and without premeditation may flee there. They will be your refuge from the avenger of blood. 4When one flees to one of those cities, he must stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and state his case in the hearing of the elders of that city. Then they are to take him into their city and give him a place to live among them. 5Now if the blood avenger pursues him, then they will not hand the manslayer over to him, since he killed his neighbor without premeditation and did not hate him beforehand. 6So he will stay in that city until he can stand trial before the congregation, or until the death of the kohen gadol in those days. Then the manslayer may return to his own city and to his own house, to the city from which he had fled.’” 7So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 8Across the Jordan east of Jericho, they designated Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland from the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. 9These were the appointed cities for all Bnei-Yisrael and for the outsider who is dwelling among them, so that whoever kills any person unintentionally might flee there and not die by the hand of the blood avenger, before standing trial before the congregation.
–from Joshua 20
A Fool Denies God
1For the music director: on Mahalath, a contemplative song of David. 2The fool says in his heart: “There is no God.” They are corrupt, commit vile injustice. There is no one who does good. 3God looks down from the heavens on the children of men, to see if anyone understands, who seeks after God. 4All have turned aside— together they have become corrupt. There is no one who does good— no, not even one! 5Will the evildoers never learn? They consume My people as they would eat bread, and never call upon God. 6There they are in great dread— where there is nothing to fear. For God has scattered the bones of those besieging you. You have put them to shame, for God has rejected them. 7Who will give salvation for Israel out of Zion? When God restores His captive people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad!
–from Psalms 53
Where Do You Put Your Confidence?
1Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! To keep writing the same things to you is not troublesome for me—but for you it is a safeguard. 2Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the mutilation. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship by the Ruach Elohim and glory in Messiah Yeshua and have not depended on the flesh— 4though I myself might have confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he might depend on the flesh, I far more— 5circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel; from the tribe of Benjamin; a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the Torah, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting Messiah’s community; as for Torah righteousness, found blameless. 7But whatever things were gain to me, these I have considered as loss for the sake of the Messiah. 8More than that, I consider all things to be loss in comparison to the surpassing value of the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things; and I consider them garbage in order that I might gain Messiah 9and be found in Him not having my righteousness derived from Torah, but one that is through trusting in Messiah—the righteousness from God based on trust. 10My aim is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death— 11if somehow I might arrive at the resurrection from among the dead.
Pursuing the Goal
12Not that I have already obtained this or been perfected, but I press on if only I might take hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua took hold of me. 13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself as having taken hold of this. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua. 15Therefore let all who are mature have this attitude; and if you have a different attitude in anything, this also God will reveal to you. 16Nevertheless, let us live up to the same standard we have attained. 17Brothers and sisters, join in following my example and notice those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. ( 18For many walk who are enemies of the cross of Messiah—I have often told you about them, and now I am even weeping as I tell you. 19Their end is destruction—their god is their belly and their glory is in their shame. They set their minds on earthly things.) 20For our citizenship is in heaven, and from there we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 21He will transform this humble body of ours into the likeness of His glorious body, through the power that enables Him even to put all things in subjection to Himself.
–from Philippians 3
So, what do you believe?
Do you believe…
- the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments to be the full record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind. Different men, while writing according to their own styles and personalities, were supernaturally moved along by the Holy Spirit to record God’s very words, inerrant in the original writings. Therefore, those applying themselves to study its literal, historical-grammatical context can accurately understand God’s Word. Scripture is fully trustworthy as our final and sufficient authority for all of life (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
- in the one living and true God, eternally (John 17:3) existing in perfect unity as three equally and fully divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). Each member of the Godhead, while executing distinct but complementary roles in redemptive history, has precisely the same nature, attributes, and being, and is equally worthy of the same glory and honor and obedience (John 1:1-4; Acts 5:3-4).
- God the Father created all things in six literal days for His glory according to His own will (Revelation 4:11), through His Son, Jesus Christ. He upholds all things by the Word of His power and grace, exercising sovereign headship over all creation, providence, and redemption (Colossians 1:17,Hebrews 1:3).
- that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, moved by love in accordance with the will of the Father, took on human flesh (John 1:1, 14, 18). Conceived through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the virgin Mary. He, being fully God and fully man (John 14:8-9), lived a sinless life and sacrificially shed His blood and died on the cross in our place accomplishing redemption for all who place their faith in Him. He arose visibly and bodily from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven, where, at the Father’s right hand, He is now Head of His Body the Church, the only Savior and Mediator between God and man, and will return to earth in power and glory to consummate His redemptive mission (1 Timothy 3:16).
- that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ during this age. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He draws the unredeemed to repentance and faith, and at salvation imparts new spiritual life to the believer, bringing that person into union with Christ and the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit sanctifies, seals, fills, guides, instructs, comforts, equips, empowers, permanently indwells at salvation, and bestows spiritual gifts to the believer for Christ-like living and service (John 16:8; 13:15; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 1:22; 4:11-12; Romans 8:9-17; 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:4-5, 11-13, 19; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 2:1-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12).
- that God created mankind—male and female—in His own image and likeness, free of sin, to glorify Himself and enjoy His fellowship. Tempted by Satan, but in the sovereign plan of God, man freely chose to disobey God, bringing sin, death and condemnation to all mankind. All human beings, therefore, are totally depraved by nature and by choice. Alienated from God without defense or excuse, and subject to God’s righteous wrath, all of mankind is in desperate need of the Savior (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-19; Romans 1:18, 32).
- that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as the substitutionary atonement in our place, and that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ. Before Creation, God chose those who would be saved and granted this unearned grace solely based on His sovereign good pleasure. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was the sole and complete payment for sins, fully satisfying God’s righteous wrath, for each person that turns from sin in repentance and places their faith in Christ alone by grace alone. At salvation each person is made a new creation by the Holy Spirit, declared righteous before God, and secured as an adopted child of God forever. Genuine faith continues in obedience and love for Jesus Christ with a life eager to glorify God and persevere to the end (Romans 8:37-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
- that upon placing one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, the believer is made part of the Body of Christ, the one universal Church, of which Jesus Christ is the Head. The Scriptures command believers to gather locally in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, fellowship, the ordinances of baptism and communion, service to the local body through the development and use of talents and spiritual gifts, and outreach to the world to make disciples (Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 2:42-46; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18-20). Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the Church under the watchful care of a plurality of elders. A church’s members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
- that Christian baptism is a public declaration of the believer’s salvation in Christ, identifying with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection symbolized by immersion in water. The Lord’s Supper is the united commemoration by believers of Christ’s death until He comes and should be preceded by a careful self-examination (Acts 2:41; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29).
- it is the aim, duty, and privilege of every believer and local church fellowship to glorify God by responding as active participants in the Great Commission call of Jesus Christ to go and make disciples of all nations. We believe the primary focus and priority of this call is centered on efforts that establish, strengthen, and reproduce biblically-based churches, which will then plant churches that plant churches for future generations and God’s glory.
- in and expectantly await the glorious, visible, personal, premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The blessed hope of His return has vital bearing on the personal life, service, and mission of the believer (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost. The lost will be raised to judgment and experience eternal wrath in hell. The saved will be raised to eternal joy in the new heaven and new earth in the manifested presence of God (Acts 1:3, 9; Hebrews 7:25-26).