Oct 17, 2009

Caleb - Mouthpiece of Faith

But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” (Numbers 13:30)

Caleb was born a slave.
All he knew in his first 39 years was a life of subjection and obedience to whatever he was told. He was not allowed to form opinions, or follow his own beliefs; rather he must be at all times submitted to the ideas and pressure of his masters. There was no opportunity to live as he thought best.
All his life he was considered the lowest of the low. Life was painful, life was void of dreams, life was defeat. His very identity was to be whatever he was told he was.

But somehow in the body of a slave beat the heart of a hero. Somehow, in the middle of the mud and sand and searing heat of Goshen God was forming a man who would never, ever be swayed by popular opinion – or even by ‘rational’ opinion if that opinion denied the power of Jehovah. He would be a man that would never live in a slave mentality, but he would rise in faith above circumstance and situation and possess ALL that had been promised him.

Caleb was present on the glorious day when God freed the Children of Israel and they marched triumphantly out of Egypt. He was one of those hundreds caught between the Red Sea and the army of Pharaoh. Both times he saw God deliver His people while shaming His enemies.

The real story starts, though when Caleb was one of twelve chosen to spy out the Promise Land. When they all returned from their reconnaissance mission, they gave a factual report. It was a fruitful land, there were broad rivers and lush meadows and high mountains, there were flocks and herds and pasture land as far as the eye could see, there was room for all of them. AND there were fierce warring tribes, and broad walled cities that could withstand the mightiest of armies. There were incredible giants that ruled the land.

All twelve faithfully reported what they had seen. Ten, though, left their greatest asset out of the picture. Ten looked at themselves and their weakness and suddenly they were whiny, weak, cowering excuses for men. Ten were like grasshoppers in their own sight. Ten had never left the slave mentality. Only two believed differently.
Ten were correct when they said that they could never overcome those giants. You see, they had already, by the doubt they fostered, been stripped of the power of God. They were truly left like bugs before their enemies. They were weak, they were ineffective, and it was no one's fault but their own. The result of a doubt and a slave mindset is this: You are exactly what you say you are.

Joshua and Caleb, saw things differently. Yes, they knew they were weak in the eyes of their enemies and that, on their own, they had no hope of ever reaching the promised inheritance. Unlike the others they remembered that they couldn’t have made it out of Egypt, either, without Jehovah providing the way. They remembered their own futility at the Red Sea, and they remembered God's great deliverance through the Red Sea. Yahweh was the only reason they had made it this far.  They counted their God into the equation and the sum was greater than any enemy.

Caleb stood before the entire crowd of terrified people and – despite the popular opinion – boldly announced that they should "go at once" into the land and take it because they could "certainly conquer it". Here was a man who was slave no more and he didn’t intend to return to Egypt’s mindset.

Now, the rest of the story we know. The people complained, God got tired of the unbelief so He let gave them exactly what they wanted. He didn’t make them go into the land of giants and milk and honey.
Instead they wandered in the desert for 40 years until all the men who had spoken in doubt – all the slaves - were dead. Then God let an entire new generation of Israelites claim the promise – and Caleb and Joshua lead them.

Forty long years in sun and sand - a wandering punishment for others' complaining - still did not daunt Caleb. When the Promise Land was finally taken, he was offered his choice of land. And what was his choice? "Give me the mountain with the giants on it, though I am 80, my strength is still as a young man's." This one time slave was a victor through and through. Oh. Did I mention? He conquered those giants, too.

What things have you been a slave to all your life? What opinions or views of yourself have bound you?
The God has set you free from your old identity and you will never have to be a slave again. Your peers can’t make you view yourself as a failure when you know your God.
In Daniel 11 it says “Those who know their God will be strong and do great exploits.”
A realistic view of ourselves in ONLY achievable when we have a proper view of God and what He has said.

Slave mentality will kill the promise of God in your life…
but Faith makes mountains removeable and giants defeatable.

Oct 3, 2009

Invincible Humility

We all hear the term. We all know what it is. We can all spot a person who is not functioning in it. Yet none of us would consider ourselves and expert at humility. Why? Because it is uncommon in the human nature.
In order for humility to truly be understood it must be practiced because it is totally contrary to natural human thinking.

1. Humility is not weakness.
    It is controlled strength. The strongest man in the world is the one who can rule himself.
2. Humility is not a personality trait.
    It is a character trait. No personality finds humility easier to practice than others. Any personality will be improved by humility and degraded by pride.
3. Humility is not lack of identity.
    It is the identity of Christ within us, and flowing out of us!
4. Humility is not just the absence of pride.
    It is a quality of itself that must be applied! It is far from passive or neutral; it is active and must be put on in place of pride.

7 Indisputable Facts About the Invincibility of Humility:
1. It cannot be swayed by opinion because it does not fear opinion nor care about contempt.
2. Has no enemies - save for one and that one is already conquered.
3. Cannot die because it is impossible to kill a corpse.
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." -Galatians 2:20
4. Has nothing to fear because it has nothing to hide.
5. Has clear battle lines. Humility will never be found in Satan's camp and pride will never be found in God's.
6. Always has more grace available, while pride runs grace dry.
"Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for 'GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.'" – 1 Peter 5:5
7. Cannot be conquered - it has already conquered itself and won. The definition of conquer is to bring under, to subdue. I dare you to conquer that which is already conquered or to subdue that which has already subdued itself.

Humility wins in the end.

One last thought...humility is the root of every virtue.
It goes hand-in-hand with trust. Love must be mixed with humility so that it can be true love without hypocrisy, "esteeming others as better than itself".
Patience must have humility, because humility has no agenda and places no demands on others.
Servanthood MUST have humility to function. Humility makes itself the slave of all.
Forgiveness ALWAYS has humility involved because humility remembers where it came from and holds no one to a higher standard than itself.