"An Inside Perspective"

July 2003


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Joshua, was chosen by God, to lead Israel into the promised land. God exhorted him, “Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid (fearful), neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” God is always trying to stretch our faith!

Earlier, Joshua had been faithful under Moses’ tutelage. He was faithful, as a ruler (elder), by going in to spy out the promised land. God had chosen one ruler, from each of the twelve tribes, to spy out the land. Joshua and Caleb saw the promised land from God’s perspective. The other ten rulers saw what was in the land and feared the circumstances, thus, losing sight of God’s mandate through His Word. The people of Israel had two sermons to listen to when the rulers returned. One titled FEAR, the other, FAITH. They had to decide which one they would believe and act upon. God is always trying to stretch our faith!

The sermon on FEAR was preached by the ten petrified rulers. It was full of terror and doubt and caused all of Israel to rebel against Moses, and thus, against God and His will for them. It is written, “…we be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we… it is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature… there we saw giants, and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

They simply did not believe that God would protect them where He commanded them to go. Fear had blinded their faith and caused no fruit for God. Fear is born of a weak faith, yet untried and tested, influenced by a worldly perspective. Fear is the darkroom where Satan develops your negatives. Fear is also contagious, notice how it spread among the Israelites as a nefarious fire, fanned into flames, by the very bellows of hell. It is written, “And all the congregation lifted up their voice and cried; and the people wept all that night… and all the children of Israel murmured against Moses… And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be prey…” Wow! In their minds, they already had their wives and children in the hands of the giants! Fear had them defeated and they hadn’t even taken one step yet! If God could only get His people to act as quickly in faith, as we act in fear, who knows what we could accomplish! God is always trying to stretch our faith!

The sermon on FAITH was preached by Caleb, a Spirit-filled man, and it was charged with confidence and hope in the promises of God. It is written, “Let us go up at once and possess it; for we are able to overcome it.” Faith, is the bird that sings in the morning, while it is still dark out.

The people did not believe the exhortation of Caleb, but cried (murmured) all that night. The next day, after the people had chosen to believe the FEAR sermon, Caleb and Joshua together, again, exhorted them, “Only rebel not against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land… their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us; fear them not.”

Wonderful words of faith, right? It is written, “But all the congregation bade stone them with stones.” My stars! They all wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb, the preachers of faith! The Israelites believed the wrong report and saw themselves as grasshoppers before the giants. Joshua and Caleb, contrarily, trusted God at His Word, and therefore by faith, saw the giants as grasshoppers before the LORD. God is always trying to stretch our faith!

Joshua had been “faithful with little” and now he was to be “trusted with much.” God, by choosing Joshua to lead the people into the promised land, was now “stretching” his faith. He was calling him to walk, where ho had not trodden before. Where is God calling you to walk, that you have not trodden before?

Faith is also contagious. God’s Word of faith, brought by a Spirit-filled leader, always changes perspectives, and hence, the circumstances, of those who believe. Who’s report will you believe? Know that faith is fear, that has said its prayers. God is always trying to stretch our faith!

The fearful and the faithful walk in two different directions. They bring honor to two different masters. God has a different perspective than we do. We see one thing, He sees another. We see fig leaves, God sees animal skins. We see Jacob, He sees Israel. We see a shepherd boy, He sees a King. We see a pitiful crucifixion, God sees Eternal Life. We see Saul, He sees Paul. We see a prisoner with heinous crimes, God sees His Holy Son Jesus, crucified on a bloody cross, on their behalf. Yes, praise God, who would have ever thought that God would create a tree that turns sinners into saints1 Truly, that is the tree of Life!

I praise God for His grace, and for Spirit-filled pastors that can see situations from God’s perspective, because…

God is always trying to stretch our faith!

Joyfully in Jesus,
Love Phillip

"Remember Those In Prison, As if Chained to Them."