March 7

Numbers 13:30-32 (NIV) 30Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." 31But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." 32And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size.

Ten spies went out to the Land of Promise, the land that God had promised to Abraham. Upon return, only two believed that they could take the land, Joshua and Caleb. These men were generals, the leading warriors in Israel's army. The other eight spread a bad report and warned that they would be devoured. Looking back, it seems amazing that they did not have the faith to proceed. God had promised to go before them and drive out the enemy. They had evidence of wonderful fruit. The generals said it could be done. The alternative is to stay in the desert. Why would they listen to the eight pessimists?

Indeed, why do we? We have the promises of God. We have seen His provision. We have seen the wonderful fruit from the Land of Promise in the lives of those who have gone in before us. The Generals (Apostles and Prophets) all say, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." And yet we listen to the pessimists.

What giants are you fearing? Do you really want to wander in the desert? Are the giants so big in God's eyes? And whose battle is it anyway? Obey the call of God, and march forward in faith. He will go before you and the land and all the fruit of it will be yours. Walk by faith and not by sight!

Meditation: Am I listening to the voice of faith or doubt?

March 7

Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV) 21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

From a study of the chronological life of Jesus, we see this turning point came right before the transfiguration. Three of the disciples would witness the glory of Jesus. Their eyes would confirm what they had been thinking in their hearts. Yet, they still had an earthly kingdom mindset. Jesus had to prepare them for the shock they were about to face; seeing Him suffer at the hands of religious leaders, killed, but rising again to life.

Peter had just been commended for his perception of the revelation of God that Jesus is the Messiah. Then Peter became an instrument of Satan. How did he go from one extreme to the other so quickly? He turned back to minding the things of men. When we have a heavenly mindset, influenced by the Holy Spirit, the ways and preferences of man are not a priority. We seek out the ways and preferences of God. When that means pain and loss, there is a temptation to retreat to man's ways. Peter loved Jesus. Yet, his love was brotherly kind of love, and he knew it. It was not the love of God that prefers others above your self.

We often resort to minding the things of men. It is our old nature. We think it is safer, but if we could see through God's eyes, we would see it is foolishness. It ends in vanity. It is the ways of God, the mind of Christ, that produces fruit that remains. May the Lord help us to see beyond the present pain, filling our minds with His thoughts, to see the eternal good He produces through suffering and loss in this life. Peter did not cling to His revelation that Jesus was Messiah for very long, but God is not done working in Peter. There are still some crash landings and recoveries that are ahead in the story, but it ends with God finishing the work He started in him.

Consider: Take heart, fellow alien. He will finish His work in you too!