Fight the Good Fight

He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping. I chased my enemies and caught them; I did not stop until they were conquered. I struck them down so they could not get up; they fell beneath my feet. You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. You placed my foot on their necks. I have destroyed all who hated me. (Psalms 18:34-40 NLT)

God often fights our battles for us. In fact there are many battles that are not for us to fight. But there are also many battles that we do have to fight. It says here “He trains my hands for battle”‘ and “I chased my enemies”, and “I struck them down”. It also says “You armed me with strength”, and “You subdued my enemies under my feet”, and “You placed my foot on there necks”. So, there are those battles that God says “this is my fight, stand back and see what I will do”. Then there are those battles that God says, “pick up your sword and follow me, I will give you strength, and I will be right beside you, but it’s time to fight”! We are never alone, never forsaken, but we are not just babes swaddled in the hands of an almighty Heavenly Father. We are children of the Most High God, Joint heirs with Christ, endued with power, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, and well equipped for every good work! Paul told Timothy to “Fight the good fight of faith”, not “sit back and live the good life of faith”. We are blessed, and it is a good life of faith, but sometimes we have to fight for it…in fact, most of the time we have to fight for it. But the good news is, when we fight, God fights, and God can’t lose, which means we can’t lose! His right hand supports me and he keeps my feet from slipping. Boom!! So get up, suit up, and get in the fight! You can’t lose!

Battle scarred but confident,
Pastor Josh

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My Portion

Josh 13:33
But Moses gave no allotment of land to the tribe of Levi, for the Lord, the God of Israel, had promised that he himself would be their allotment.

When God called Amy and I into full time ministry he did it in a supernatural unquestionable way! That time of our lives was so exciting and we were so full of this passion that was very much like the passion I felt in the moments I first fell in love with my beautiful wife. It was so new, and so exhilarating that it was the first thing we felt when we woke up, and we fell asleep talking about it every night. We were so passionate, and trusted God so much that we were willing to do the work without pay knowing that God would miraculously make a way. Like I said, God supernaturally orchestrated the whole thing and we were able to be put on staff, but our Faith was so elevated we would have done the work anyway. We were just so honored to serve the Kingdom
Well, years later, I can honestly say, not every moment of this journey has been as exciting as those first days. In fact, some weeks have been absolute Hell on earth. This is by far the hardest, and sometimes the most stressful, lonely, terrifying, heart breaking, exhausting, at times unrewarding and thankless job you will ever do. I have been taking advantage of, betrayed, ridiculed, abandoned by some I had given my life for, and hated by those I had loved unconditionally. As a youth pastor I have even been despised, blamed, and accused by parents. On top of all that, financially we have had to believe for miraculous provision time and time again just to live. Wow, what a glowing endorsement! Listen, having said all that, and after all we have gone through, I would still rather be here doing this work than anywhere else in the universe.” How can you possibly feel that way” you might ask.. And trust me I have asked myself the same thing many times. But every time I come to the same conclusion. God is my portion. You see we had to learn early on, and occasionally(meaning every day) have to learn all over again, that doing the work of the ministry can not be done to find some source of fulfillment, or for monitory reward. I get really ticked off when people tell me “I know if I could just be in full-time ministry I will feel fulfilled”. If that’s why you do it you will be sorely disappointed. I am fulfilled as I walk in the will of God, but I am not “entitled” because of my service. Well, maybe I am… I’m entitled to suffer as Jesus did…to be hated and despised and to pick up my cross, and lay down my life. But, as I do lay down my life, as I follow the example of Jesus and serve those God has giving into my care, in return, God has promised to be my reward. When others work to acquire riches, God reveals his face to me, which is far more precious and supplies ALL my needs according to his riches in Glory and gives me all the desires of my heart … As others labour to find fame, God calls me friend and says my name is written in his book and in Jesus has given me his Glory …as others strive and strive for some semblance of peace, I rest in Gods peace which passes understanding…When I am hated, I am loved…When I am abused, I am comforted…when I am abandoned, I am never forsaken…when I’m without, I abound. God almighty,the creator of the universe, the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings is my portion, and let me tell you, it’s enough.
Lord, whenever I .allow myself to covet or lust after material things, or to feel bitter about the struggles I often find myself in, remind me of the awesome blessing and privilege it is to be a minister in your house. You are my portion and my allotment, and you have given me an eternal inheritance that never fluctuates in value, and will never pass away!

Never separated from the love of God,
Pastor Josh

Am I too Rich?

Matt 19:21
Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

What was the problem with this seemingly well rounded young man? He apparently lived a holy life, exemplifying what it meant to be a good Jew. The problem was, in a nut shell, he didn’t need Jesus. He was more than able to provide all he ever needed, or wanted for himself. When we trust in the riches of our hands, whatever form they may be, we don’t need God. That is the very nature of idolatry. I saw this all the time when I lived in India. Whenever there was any kind of call for prayer, people by the hundreds, thousands even, would come out of nowhere to be blessed. These were predominately hindu people, who by it’s very nature, worshipped many various Gods. They were more than happy to except Jesus. The problem is, they just added him to their collection. Whats one more God when you already worship at least 5 or 6. “Well, this has nothing to do with us here in America” you might say. But doesn’t it? How many things do we have in our lives, that fill a need, or take a place that God is supposed to fill. How do we know if something is in the wrong place in our lives? If God asked you to give it up, lay it aside, or put it on hold could you? Could you quit a job, cut off a relationship, give up on a dream, or even a ministry if God says it’s not part of his will or timing for your life? Or how about something as trivial as a T.V. Show or movie, or, God forbid, a CD you love so much. All of these things have the potential to become idols in our lives. Something that takes God’s place in some area ( emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc..) of our lives. When we can fill every empty space, there is no space left for God, and ultimately, we don’t need him. That was the rich young mans problem. not that he had money, but that his money was to important, more important even than being with the Son of God himself. Wow! If Jesus is calling you, and asking you to let go of something, trust me, what he’s offering will be so much more than what he’s asking you to leave behind.

Matt 19:29
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.

Rich in the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus,
Pastor Josh

Unstoppable

Is 14:26-27
26 I have a plan for the whole earth, a hand of judgment upon all the nations. 27 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken—who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?”

God has always been in control of history.. It is true that there is a cause and effect reality to many things that occur through out time. It is true that there is judgement for sin. God’s judgment, however, is never separated from his mercy. It is convenient for us to misquote scripture and say that “All things happen for a reason”, implying that God would choose to use our suffering to bring about his perfect will. This is not scriptural nor true! God is a God of order, and will not suspend that order even for the good of his people. But, what is true is that in all things, weather horrible or wonderful, Gods plans still stand, continue to move forward and always come to fruition! He, his love, and his will for the earth, and all of us who inhabit it, is unstoppable! What the bible actually says is this in Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”.
Right now, in whatever trial you find your self in, or, maybe, as you look at the horrific images coming out of Japan, don’t ask “How could God have let this happen”?.. but rather this, “How is God going to use this to bring about his will”?

So thankful for the unstoppable love of God,
Pastor Josh

Romans 8:38
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

3/13/2011 My Utmost For His Highest – For God so Loved that he Gave….

Mar 13 2011 (My Utmost For His Highest)
For God so loved the world that He gave . . . —John 3:16

Salvation does not mean merely deliverance from sin or the experience of personal holiness. The salvation which comes from God means being completely delivered from myself, and being placed into perfect union with Him. When I think of my salvation experience, I think of being delivered from sin and gaining personal holiness. But salvation is so much more! It means that the Spirit of God has brought me into intimate contact with the true Person of God Himself. And as I am caught up into total surrender to God, I become thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself.
To say that we are called to preach holiness or sanctification is to miss the main point. We are called to proclaim Jesus Christ (see 1 Corinthians 2:2). The fact that He saves from sin and makes us holy is actually part of the effect of His wonderful and total surrender to us.
If we are truly surrendered, we will never be aware of our own efforts to remain surrendered. Our entire life will be consumed with the One to whom we surrender. Beware of talking about surrender if you know nothing about it. In fact, you will never know anything about it until you understand that John 3:16 means that God completely and absolutely gave Himself to us. In our surrender, we must give ourselves to God in the same way He gave Himself for us— totally, unconditionally, and without reservation. The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him.

Oswald Chambers

Compromise and Consequence

Josh 7:10-11
10 But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings.

So much of the time when we find ourselves in trouble, and are crying out to God for help, this is the response he is giving us. How many times have we allowed things in our lives that we knew didn’t belong there, and then found ways to justify them, knowing they were a compromise. Sin allows curses and death into our lives. Not every bad thing that happens to us are our fault, but I’m sure if we really looked, we would find many instances that we can see consequences of compromises. We see later that once they repented, and cut all traces of the compromise from among them, they had immediate and complete victory. The bible says that when we repent, that he is faithful to cleanse us of all un-righteousness. His restoration is immediate! Get up, repent, and go walk in righteousness!!

God, Search me, and see if you find any wicked thing in me!
PJ

Center Field

Josh 8:18
18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Point the spear in your hand toward Ai, for I will hand the town over to you.” Joshua did as he was commanded.

We thought it was cool when Babe Ruth pointed to center field (well at least our grandparents did), but how cool is this! We can walk mindful and fully aware of Gods will in our lives. He wants us to run boldly into our promised land battles with deliberate persistence! I don’t agree with the ” name it and claim it” line of thought from the “Faith Movement” of the seventies and eighties, but there is a truth to ” calling those things that aren’t as though they are”. To pointing at the city, or the obstacle in our way in defiance and violent persistence. Or to pointing at the promises for our lives, our families, our churches with a stubborn aggressive faith, not settling for anything but all that God has promised us! You can’t win a fight if you go into it believing your going to lose! We already know we win, so point your spear at your Ai and charge! Whooahh!! (that was my intimidating battle cry)

Josh 8:26
For Joshua kept holding out his spear until everyone who had lived in Ai was completely destroyed.

The Kingdom of God suffers violence, and I’m taking it by force,
PJ

Am I Compatible?

Is 7:9
Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria,
and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remaliah.
Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”

God is not a Devine puppeteer, and we the mindless, insignificant puppets. He is our creator and our source of strength and power, but we are made in his image. We have been given a will, and the ability to have faith, and have been given the measure of faith to believe unto salvation. But we need add to, build up, and strengthen our faith to walk in all that God has for us. If we have no faith, we are not compatible with Gods power and anointing. It’s like the three little pigs…you can’t build a house that will stand out of straw. The first little kiss of a breeze will scatter it to the wind. And if you have just enough faith to survive, its like building out of sticks. It might stand for a little while, but the first good storm that blows in will knock it right down. But if we build up our faith (by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God) then we will be strong, and be able to stand and walk in the power and authority of God. God will go before us, and his power will flow in us and through us, but only when we are compatible. Grow in Faith, and walk in power!!

Supernaturally Compatible,
Pastor Josh

Devine Purpose

Matt 1:17
All those listed above include fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.

It’s hard to be a skeptic when you see the careful planning God put into bringing about our salvation. I’m not going to pretend to understand the symbolism behind every ” type and shadow”‘, nor do I know the significance of all the numbers and dates and so on and so on….but any idiot (a category that I may very possibly fall in to) can see that so many consistencies can’t possibly be a coincidence. Before man ever fell, God had a carefully laid out plan for restoration. Our God is the greatest strategist ever…OK, that’s kind of an understatement. Think about it though! You really have to have more faith to be a skeptic then a believer. But here’s the really awesome part. The same careful planning that went into salvation, went into our purpose and destiny! Check this out…..

Eph 1:4-5
4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

Even before he made the world!!!!! What!!! There are no coincidences in our existence. before the world was even made there was a plan…for me. I was loved, I was wanted, therefore I am loved and I am wanted and I have a purpose and a destiny and a “call” that is eternal and irrevocable! Wow! Meditate on that one as you go through your day. What could the world possibly throw at me that could touch it!

Loved and Chosen,
Pastor Josh

Write the Vision

Habakkuk 2:2 Then the Lord said to me,
“Write my answer plainly on tablets,
so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.

Well, as all of you, my adoring public, know, I have not been to good at staying on top of this blogging thing. I do hope to change that in this coming year. God put it on my heart some time ago to write a yearly devotional for our young people, and have begun to peruse that the last few weeks. Something I have always tried to do is journal every day as I study the word. I heard someone say once that the mind doesn’t remember revelation so as God reveals himself to us through his word and prayer we should always record those things we receive. As I have been reading through my past years journals in preparation for the devotional, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of entries that I have completely forgotten about. Some of them were even revelations that actually changed the course and direction of my life! If I hadn’t written them down, they would now be lost in that one moment of encounter, which though it was an awesome moment, would have little to no lasting effect on the rest of my life. It is these revelations that I will be using to write the book that I hope will be a blessing to those who use it. I have decided to post some of my new daily journal entries here on my blog. I don’t pretend for one moment to assume that God is revealing anything to me that he is not revealing to anyone else that is truly pursuing him with a heart to hear, nor that my thoughts are any more important than anyone else’s….but, this is joshkiefer.com, which means I get to write what I want! Just kidding. I promise I won’t rant and rave about my opinion on this and that, or go off on tirades bashing the government, exposing some new conspiracy theory. Just quick little thoughts about what God’s showing me in his word. Nothing more, nothing less. So, check it out….or don’t. It’s all good.

Peace and Love,
Pastor Josh