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 Green Pastures

March 25, 2023

Reading:  Judges 14-16                                                    Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 16:  29-31

God's Purpose

"So the dead which he slew in his death were more than they which he slew in his life."  Judges 16:30c

1.  Separation.  All of his life, Samson was selfish.  He had been dedicated to the Lord, but he ignored many of the regualations regarding those who are so separated.  He always did exactly as he chose.  He consorted with women who were not of his own people, and could be vengeful and even cruel.

2.  Suffering.  When we break God's laws of separation, we are going to suffer for it, just as Samson did.  God says we are to "Come out from among them and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing..."  2 Cor. God's rules of separation are there not to keep us from enjoying ourselves, but to protect us from evil.  Samson refused to obey those rules and suffered greatly.  He became an object of mockery to the worldly Philistines.  

3.  Supplication.  He lost his power when he lost thy symbol of his separation.  Our testimony is our symbol of separation.  Does the world see you as a child of God or as one of them?  Samson asked God for one more chance, and God gave him strength to perform one more mighty act.  

God is watching you to see if you will obey or need a little impelling.  

Reading:  Judges 11-13                                                            Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 11:1-10

The Crisis and the Captain

"Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour and he was the son of an harlot....."  Judges 11:1

1.  The Pattern.  Orininally, even Jephthah's family rejected him because he was the son of an harlot, a loose woman, but would become the one who would rescue them.   It is interesting that we see this same pattern in Jesus' life.  He was rejected also by his own national family, yet became their Savior.  As John puts it, "He came unto his own and his own received him not."  

2.  The Petition. Need covers a multitude of blemishes.  The people who had need of being rescued saw Jephtheh as one who would 'fit the bill.'  He was, as vs. 1 assures us, a mighty man of valor.  Now the same folks who had rejected him petitioned him to fight their battles.  This reminds me of folks who never seem to need the presence of God in their lives unless they are in trouble.  Then, He is welcome.

3.  The Promise.  God led Jepthah to a mighty voctory.  No matter who you are, if you are only willing, God will use you to accomplish His will.  He will enable and equip you to do just that.

It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, God can and will use you.

March 23, 2023

Reading:  Judges 9-10                                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 9:53-57

God Uses Women

"And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull."

1.  The Proof.  Women are not second class citizens in God's economy.  In fact, God used women many times to accomplish His will.  Let's consider the cases of three women God used in a great and mighty way.  In our reading today, God used an unnamed woman to cast a piece of stone on the head of Abimelech, and thus requite his bloody deeds.

2.  The Prophetess.  Deborah was a judge a (nd prophetess in Israel.  God used her to rally the troops against the enemy.  Barak would not go unless she went with him. Judges 4:8)  Then, according to her prophecy, a woman killed the great Sisera, captain of the host of God's enemies.  ( Judges 4:9,21)

3.  The Promise.  Of course, the greatest use of a woman of the Lord was the Virgin Mary, who became the Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ.  She was willing to do whatever God needed, (Luke 1:38) and so performed the greatest work for mankind in history.  (Luke 2:7)  

Brave and Godly women are the delight of the Lord, yet rare as diamonds.
















































March 22, 2023

Reading:  Judges 7-8                                            Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 8:4-16

A Lesson Learned

"And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briars, and with them he taught the men of Succoth."  Judges 8:16

1.  Faint.  Everyone gets weary of the battle.  Here, the men of Gideon were tired and hungry,. yet they continued to pursue the enemy and do the work of the Lord.  It seems only reasonable that Gideon should have called on the men of Succoth for a little help.  He didn't even ask much, just a few loaves of bread so the pursuit could continue.  

2.  Fear.  The men of Succoth were very foolish.  Instead of trusting the Lord and allying themselves with the forces of God, they refused to help at all.  They feared these worldly kings, that they would somehow still gain victory and then come back and punish those who helped Gideon.  Fear keeps people from doing what they know is right, and fear keeps people from helping those they know are right.  However, the time comes when you have to make a stand.

3.  Foolish.  The men of Succoth were foolish.  Rather than trust God and His leadership, they tried to stay "in the middle of the road".  That didn't work out at all for them, for Gideon returned after having gained the victory.  Then, according to his promise, he chastened these 'middle of the roaders' with briars and thorns.  I am sure they learned their lesson then.  Identify yourself with the local Church and God will not have to chastize you.  

Choose to stand for God and His people, and you will not be chastened by Him.

March 21, 2023

Reading:  Judges 4-6                                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 5:24-28

A Song for Jael

"She put her hand t the nail and her right hand to the workman's hammer..."  Judges 5:26

1.  Courage.  Jael displayed great courage when she went to put Sisera, the great enemy of the Jews, to death.  He could have awakened at any time; and if he had she no doubt would have been brutally and cruelly murdered.  Instead, she took advantage of her opportunity and took the life of God's great foe.

2.  Carnage.  Death is what war is all about.  When are people going to learn this basic truth of life?  War is horrible, but it is all about killing people and breaking things.  War is sometimes necessary.  If we are going to fight, we have to fight to win.  To do so, we have to destroy the enemy, even as Jael did to Sisera.

3. Chorus.  THis song, extolling the deed of Jael, was sung as an anthem of victory.  God had enabled Jael to do what she did.  Truly, she is blessed above women.  

To be rendered powerless, enemies cannot be reasoned with, they must be destroyed.  


March 20, 2023

Reading:  Judges 1-3                                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  Judges 2:10

A New Generation

"And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers:  and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel."  Judges 2:10

1.  Previously.  The previous generation had seen many miracles wrought by the Lord.  They had heard the commands of Joshua, some even of Moses, and had seen great and wonderous things wrought.  They had seen the punishment of God, and had known the pleasure God takes in His people.  How could it be that a new generation knew nothing of these things?

2.  Pass.  Sometimes when playing a game, a player might say, "I pass."  This means, of course, that he does not want to, or is unable to participate in the play.  Now, witnessing is not a game.  It is relating to others, and especially to our children, the mighty things God has done in our lives.  If we do so, we cannot hold back to spare our own image.  We must admit sin, and how God deliverd us from sin.  Our children and their welfare are much too important for us to say, "I pass", and neglect to witness to them.

3.  People.  People don't change.  Oh, technology changes, the way we utilize our time changes, but people still are in need of the Lord.  If we neglect telling a new generation about the Lord, if we neglect witnessing to them of God's marvelous works in our lives, how will they know?  They won't get it at school.  They won't get it on TV.  They must get it from us.

Do you want your kids and grandkids to be part of a new generation, that knows not the Lord?

March 19, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 23-24                                                                Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 24:15

The Decision

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell:  but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

1.  The Choice.  We always have a choice.  Israel was offered one.  Recognizing the free moral agency of his nation, Joshua told them they were going to serve someone, either the false gods of the past and present, or they could serve the Lord.  He clearly told them his decisive choice, He and his house would serve the Lord, just as they had always done.

2.  The Choosing.  One cannot live long without making a choice.  To try and delaof y is to serve Satan and the false gods of society and selfishness.  It has trully been said, "You can't stand long with one foot in the Kingdom and the other foot in the world.  The Kingdom and the world are traveling in different directions, and you must make a choice.

3.  The Church.  The Bible tells us in Eph. 3:21, "Unto him be glory in the church, by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen."  Many are leaving the local churches they have long served in during this day and age, and so are leaving the very entity through which God has ordained we glorify Him.  My prayer is that those who leave will get in and get busy in another good local church, but I cannot answer for them.  I can only answer for myself and my family.  "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

If God doesn't change, why should we?  

March 18, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 21-22                                           Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 22:4, 11-12, 25-26

"...get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side Jordan."  Joshua 22:4b

The Division

1.  The Decision.  The tribe of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh had made their decision.  They would not possess the promised land, but would stay on the east side of Jordan.  Their decision always reminds me of folks who vow they willl serve the Lord, and yet want to keep one foot in the kingdom and one foot in the world.  

2.  The Division.  Those on the east side of Jordan built an altar.  When those tribes who had crossed over into the promised land heard of it, they immediately assumed those who had stayed behind had become apostate, and were already guilty of false worship.  They armed themselves, and prepared for war.

3.  The Defensiveness.  The tribes who had built the altar were very defensive.  "No, you completely misunderstood!"  I was thinking how like these folks we are today.  Those who keep one foot in the world never can fully grasp what it is to worship and enjoy the Lord with all the heart.  Inversely, those who are serving God can't understand how saved folks can still enjoy the world.  Misunderstanding develop, and trouble often comes of such dividion, especially among Church members.

God wants no division among us, He wants us all to speak the same thing.  That means, His way, according to His Word.   

March 17, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 18-20                                                   Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 20:1-9

The Cities of Refuge

"Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge..."

1.  Reality.  In reality, much of our law is based upon the Bible precepts and principles.  Here we see that, even though a person kills another, if it be accidental, no vengeance is to taken upon him.  The law becomes a refuge for him until his case is tried before a jury of his peers.  We state it this way, "A man is innocent until proven guilty."  I believe that concept comes directly from the Biblical 'cities of refuge'.

2.  Redeemer.  What a picture of Christ is here!  He is our refuge, our protection, our fortress.  Martin Luther said it well when he wrote, "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing."  We are all guilty, but we flee to Him for protection, and He always allows us in.  We can state it this way, "A man, though guilty, will be innocent when sheltered by the blood of the Redeemer.

3.  Remember.  In the cities of refuge, one was safe until the death of the High Priest.  Then his case would be judged.  We have a HIght Priest who will never die!  Therefore my friend, no matter how guilty we are in trespasses and sins, (and we are all guilty), we will never have to answer for them.  We are safe, in the refuge of the Redeemer.  

I never fear I'll answer, for all of my sin's harms, because I'm in the refuge, of my Savior's arms.


March 16, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 15-17                                      Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 17:13

"Yet it came pass, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute,; but did not uterly drive them out."  Joshua 17:13

1.  Feeling Their Oats.  This old expression was often used by my Mother and Grandmother when I was feeling so grown up that I felt I could make my own decisions, and did not have to obey as I used to.  "Feeling your oats today?"  I knew that things were not going to turn out well, and they didn't.

2.  Fickle Disobedience.  Now, God had told Israel to utterly destroy the Canaanites, to utterly drive them out.  Usually, the people were obedient to God.  However, now they were 'waxen strong' and were evidently, 'feeling their oats.'  They decided they could do what they wanted and so put the Canaanites to tribute instead of destroying them.

3.  Failure in Decisions.  When we make a decision without running it by God, we are apt to fail in a great way.  The failure to destory and drive out the Canaanites would come back to haunt Israel, not just in this case, but time after time.  They would repeat their disobedience and would suffer for it.  The book of Judges is replete with many instances of how the enemies of God rose up against Israel, actually enslaving them until God raised up a deliverer.

The next time you are 'feeling your oats', don't fail to obey!  

March 15, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 12-14                                              Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 13:23-32

Living on the East Side of Jordan

"These are the countries which Moses did distribute for inheritance in the plains of Moab, on the other side Jordan, by Jericho, eastward."  Joshua 13:32

1.  Satisfied.  Not all of the children of Israel wanted to enter the promised land.  Some were satisfied to stay east of Jordan.  Half the tribe of Manasseh, the tribe of Reuben, and the tribe of Gad chose to stay in that country and not possess God's promises.  To them, it looked like the best choice.  Back in Numbers 32 we read of their choice.  East of Jordan was a country for cattle, and they had cattle, so they decided to stay there.  It seemed like the obvious choice, but was it the best choice?

2.  Stunted.  Spiritual growth is always stunted when we don't follow God 'all the way'.  So it was with these people.  The evidence of this is apparent as we read about the Maniac of the Gadarenes in Mark 5.  Here, in the land that the people of Gad had chosen, folks had departed from God's regulations for the Jews.  Notice they were raising a large herd of swine, animals God had pronounce unclean for the Jews.  Secondly, they opened themselves up to demonic activity, demonstrated by the man in this story.  Could this ot have been prevented if these folks had just wholly followed the Lord?

3.  Simple.  To me, the choice seems simple.  Follow God all the way.  You will never lose when you obey His word with your whole heart.  No matter how attractive other lifestyles appear, choose to possess the promises of God.  You will be glad you did.  


March 14, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 10-11                                                         Today's Green Pastures Text:  Joshua 1:12

"Now therefore give me this mountain..."

1.  The Fortress.  Everyone else was afraid of this mountain, which was the stronghold of the Anakims.  This mountain was a fortress for the savage and gigantic Anakims, descendants of Anak the giant.  Progress in posessing the promised land was halted until someone could take this fortress.  When no one else stepped forward, old Caleb did.

2.  The Fight.  Caleb knew this fortress would not be taken without a hard fight, yet he had such confidence in God that he was sure that if God were with him, he, Caleb, could accomplish this task.  It appears that the majority of folks in our day and age are also afraid of obstacles, and are halted from witnesing and from openly living a Christian life style out of fear.  One can be encouraged by Caleb's example.  If God is with us, we can do it.  So, let's do it.

3.  The Future.  What does the future hold in store for you?  Will you be willing to step out and do the jobs no one else will do?  Do you trust God enough to give you the victory?  Will you also say, "Give me this mountain?"

Be a Caleb and be willing.  Be a Caleb and be victorious!

March 13, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 8-9                                              Today's Green Pasture Text:  Joshua 9:3-20

Bound by Their Word

"But all the princes said unto all the congregation, We have sworn unto them by the Lord God of Israel:  now therefore we may not touch them."  Josh 9:19

1.  The Omission.  There was a time when a man's word was his bond, and it still should be so.  In our text we see a demonstration of integrity as the Princes of Israel kept their word.  Every decision we make ought toe be run by the Lord for His approval.  Israel knew this, but this time they omitted to do so as they made a league with some Canaanites they would never have otherwise made.  Be so careful of entering into agreements, partnerships, or other agreements.  It could come back to haunt you.

2.  The Oath.  You know, you could argue that the Gibeonites had lied and misrepresented themselves to Israel, but I have always admired the fact that irreregardless, Joshua and the Princes of Israel were bound by their word.  Have you given your word to do something?  Then, you must do it, whether that word was given to God or man.

3.  The Openness.  It would be good if people were still open minded and open hearted enought to bind themselves by their word.  Israel was not the loser in this case, and God blessed them for their integrity.  When keeping their word and defending the Gibeonites, God helped them in their defense.  (see Josh. 10:8-11)

Whether to man or God, it is absurd, to not keep your word.  

March 12, 2023

Reading:  Joshua 5-7                                                                          Joshua 6:20-25

From Obstacle to Opportunity

"...When the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat..."  Josh 6:20

1.  Deployment.  God deployed His forces around the city of Jericho.  The wall of course was totally around the city also.  It appeard as if God was showing the people it was impossible to take such a defended city, but in reality, God was simply ensuring that there could be no escape for the enemy.  Do you sometimes feel as if we are 'stretched too thin" in the service of God?  Perhaps God is just using us to 'surround' the enemy.

2.  Destruction.  The power of God caused the walls of Jericho to fall, not the shout of the people.  Their obedience to God's instructions was, I believe, a test of their faith.  They did exactly as God ordered, and He did exactly as He said He would do.  God's power can be just as potent and powerful in your life today as it was then.  All it takes is obedience to the Word of God; and that coupled with faith will be used to destroy the strongholds of the enemy.

3.  Defeat.  God defeated this enemy and gave Israel a great victory that day.  Really, the orders God had given to Israel, to march around the city seven times and then shout must have seemed militaritly pointless.  However, obedience to God is never pointless, it ts the point of the spear that ddfeats the enemy forces.

I believe many today stop trying to obey God, just before He starts blessing their obedience.  

March 11, 2023

Reading:  Josh 1-4                                               Today's Green Pasture Text:  Josh 3:15-17

God Controls the Waters

"...the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap..."  Josh. 3:16

1.  God Parted the Waters.  It is always important to remember that, no matter what we are called on to go through, God is in control.  He parted the waters for Moses at the Red Sea, and now He did the same thing for Joshua as Israel prepared to take possession of the Promised Land.  This helps us remember that there is no problem too big for God to get us through.  He can, with a wave of His hand, cause problems to cease and stand still while we walk on through, just as He did to the River Jordan.

2.  God Walked on the Waters.  Jesus showed His command of all forces also, when He walked on the water.  At His word, Peter joined Him, but began to sink when he took his eyes off the Lord.  Jesus walked to Him and lifted Peter up, rescuing him.  No matter what deep waters we are in, rescue is only a prayer away.

3.  God Calmed the Waters.  We also remember another storm on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus saying, "Peace, be still."  Immediately the stom was calmed.  He can always either calm the storm, or calm His child so we can proceed.  Either way, victory is won.

When I go through bitter waters in life, the Lord is there to help and see me safely to shore.  

March 10, 2023

Reading:  Dt. 32-34                                                      Today's Green Pasture Reading:  Dt. 34:1-8

The End of Moses

"And there arose not a prophet since in Israel, like unto Moses.... Dt. 34:1-10

1.  The Viewing.  (1-4)   This was of course, not the end of Moses, but only his graduation day, as he was promoted to glory by the Lord he loved and served so faithfully.  Moses, from the top of Mt. Pisgah, was able to see the Promised Land.  He was not allowed to enter it, but he was allowed to see it.  Moses was being punished for having magnified himself rather than the Lord when he struck the rock to get water out of it.  But, God always tempers His judgment with mercy, and at least allowed Moses the opportunity to view the land.

2.  The Victory.  (5)  There was,  a great victory won that day, when Moses went home to finally be with the Lord.  He saw Aaron again, and Mirian, he saw his Mother and Father, and doubtless many others who had gone on before him.  What a welcome awaited him at the gate, and what a welcome awaits you!

3.  The Volunteer.  (9)  No one had been close to Moses than Joshua, and now it was Joshua who was chosen to fill the shoes of Moses as a leader of the people.  Joshua had been a great volunteer, for he had first learned to be a good follower.  This is the absolute prerequisite for being a good leader.  

We must continue on, doing our best , until the day we also, are promoted to glory.  

March 9, 2023

Reading:  Dt. 29-31                            &nb

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