Five Beliefs: The Pillars of Muslim Faith
Belief in God – This is Islam's fundamental tenet: One God, self-existent, without equal or partner, who created and maintains the world.
Belief in Angels – Angels are considered the servants of God, through whom He reveals His will, the greatest is Gabriel. Two recording angels are said to attend every person, one to record sins, the other good deeds.
Belief in the Prophets – Muslims believe Muhammad to be the final and greatest prophet of God. Other highly esteemed prophets include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.
Belief in the Holy Books – The Quran is the holiest book of Islam, considered God's final revelation to man, superseding all previous revelations. It is believed to have been written in heaven in Arabic and passed on orally to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. It contains 114 chapters (suras). Muslims also recognize the Law of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Gospel of Jesus, but usually consider them abrogated or corrupted.
Belief in the Day of Judgement – A terrible day on which each person's good and bad deeds are balanced, to determine eternity in heaven or hell. God reserves the absolute right to send individuals to whichever He pleases.
CALEB, ONE WHO WHOLLY FOLLOWED THE LORD
By David J. Riggs
A. Romans 15:4 - The Old Testament is a rich source of excellent lessons.
1. This is especially true in character studies.
2. When we examine the lives of the spiritual giants of old, many important and profitable lessons can be learned.
3. They encourage us to persevere, bring comfort to our hearts, and cause us to rejoice in our hope.
B. In this lesson we want study about Caleb, a man who wholly followed the Lord.
I. Most of what we learn about Caleb is revealed in Numbers 13 and 14.
A. He was one of the twelve spies who were chosen.
1. Each spy was selected because he was "every one a leader among them." Num. 13:1-3
2. Thus, Caleb was well respected by the people.
B. He was a man of courage.
1. He accepted the difficult and dangerous assignment to spy out the land. Num. 13:17-21
2. He encouraged the people to immediately go up and take the land. Num 13:30-33
3. He held to his faith and convictions in the face of bitter opposition. Num. 14:1-10
C. He was a man of faith and complete trust in God. Num. 14:8
1. This was the key to his success.
D. God was very angry with the Israelites because of their lack of faith and rebellion.
1. He wanted to destroy all of them but Moses intercedes. Num. 14:15-19
2. God says that Caleb and Joshua will go in and inherit the land. Num. 14:28-32
a. Moses often repeated this promise that was made to them. Num. 32:11-12; Deut. 1:34-36
3. When the children of Israel were numbered the second time forty years later, all those from twenty years old and upward had died, except Caleb and Joshua. Num. 26:63- 65
4. In their first battle with the Canaanites, the Israelites did not loose a single man. Num. 31:48-49
a. Remember, the ten spies said they were not able to go against the enemy because they were stronger than them. Num. 13:31
b. Caleb and Joshua tried to persuade the people that God would be with them and help them to defeat their enemies. Num. 14:8-9
c. God was truly with them. How often do people go out to battle and not loose a single soldier?
II. After the forty years of wandering, Caleb receives his inheritance. Num. 14:6-15
A. Verse 10 - This shows how long they were in taking and dividing the land.
B. Verse 11 - Physical blessings, as well as spiritual, are given when one serves the Lord.
1. To live to a "good old age" is a blessing from the Lord. Gen. 15:15; 1 Chron. 29:28
C. Verse 12 - This verse is significant.
1. The very people and land the other ten spies said they could not conquer, becomes the place of choice for Caleb.
2. He relies on God - "..As the Lord said" - to conquer the giants.
a. Thus, he trusted God and called on Him to help.
D. Verses 13-14
1. Caleb trusted God and was blessed by receiving the object of his hope.
2. He had to wait a long time (45 years), but it eventually came. III. What lessons can we learn from the life of Caleb? What applications can be made?
A. A lesson in character. Caleb was first and foremost a man of God. Such character is sorely needed in our generation.
1. Courage; he was not afraid of the giants. 2 Tim. 1:7
a. The fearful or cowardly will the receive the same reward as all the other wicked. Rev. 21:8
2. Dedication; his life was as a job well done. 2 Tim. 4:15
a. Notice what happened to the other ten spies, Num.14:36-37
3. Faith and trust in God. "...The Lord is with us. Do not fear
them." Num. 14:9. Rom. 8:31,37
B. We're going to face our own giants. We have our own mountains to conquer.
1. They will take various forms: a personal weakness; possibly an addiction of some sort; a difficult task of some kind; a door of opportunity that has been opened.
a. How can I be strong and courageous like Caleb? Eph. 3:16; Eph. 6:10-17
C. We need to wholly trust God and rely on His promises. Heb. 11:6; Ruth 2:12; Matt. 6:33; 2 Pet. 1:4
D. It takes time, but eventually the object of our hope will come. Titus 1:2; Heb. 3:6; 6:11-12
1. We, too, need to fully rely on God. 2 Thess. 2:16-17 Concl.
A. With God on our side, we can face any giant and conquer any mountain.
1. With Him on our side, we can face them with courage and confidence.
B. Let us follow Caleb's example and follow the Lord fully.
1. We can't hold back; we can't doubt; we can't waver.
C. Within a few short years, we, too, will receive the object of our hope. 1 Pet. 4:19
I can't see over the crowd or around them. I ask what's going on and no one turns to acknowledge me. Are they in a trance? I have to see what they see, but how? I pull myself up on a fire escape ladder.
Who is this? He seems calm, peaceful, humble, serene and loving. He is far away from where I stand, and I can feel Him. I feel peace and hope. I've never been at peace or had hope before. I feel embarrassed to find tears streaming down my face.
He's coming closer. He is almost directly below me now. He's stopped. "There you are. I've been looking for you," He says tenderly, looking up. "Come My child," as He holds out His hand to me. ME? I'm not worthy. "I love you," He said. And for the first time in my life, I feel loved. "Come, I'll dine at your house tonight," He says. How did He know me? Why did He come looking for me? I don't know and I won't ask, I'm just glad He did.
I followed him and my life that day changed. I had spent my whole life alone. Now, I know He was always with me and always would be. He nurtured, loved, and kept me safe and warm. He made me a new person.
As with anything, the newness wears off. I still love and feel loved. He's still with me, however, I see the love mixing with pain and the disappointment in His eyes. "Have you forgotten how much I love you?" He says tearfully. "Why don't you live the life I've given you of fulfillment and peace? Come back to Me, it's where you belong." I fall at His feet and confess my unworthiness.
"What have I done to you?" I cried. He says "Come, I'll show you what you've done, and what I did for you."
I'm standing on a hill. I see a crowd of people. There is anger, viciousness, and revenge. Where is He? I'm all alone again and I'm scared. Why are some of the people crying? Who is that? He looks broken, sad and tired. He's carrying a cross. I'm confused. What happened? What are you doing to Him? Don't you people know who He is? He's my Lord, please don't hurt Him any more, let him go! ! They're raising the cross. The guards turn and stand at attention. I beg the guards to let Him down. "We can't," they say. "But why, what do you think He did to deserve this?"
They just stared at me, then quietly said, "He loved you."
Then said Jesus, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34
We must remember that now we do know what we do. It's all in His word. All we have to do is read it, study it and live it.
It was hard to believe Moses was dead. He had led Israel faithfully through the wilderness and now as he prepared to leave this earthly life, God allowed His servant to survey the land He was about to give Israel. Under the guidance of God's Spirit, Moses chose Joshua to lead the people through the waters of the Jordan River and into the Promised Land.
At first, the responsibility seemed reasonable enough. However, as the reality of Moses' death grew, Joshua became all too aware of his own inadequacies. He may have given up had it not been for the word of encouragement God gave him: "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the and which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. . . . "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them" (Joshua 1:2, 5-6). God's loving words of hope to Joshua were both reassuring and motivating.
You are never alone in the decisions you face. God is with you. If there is a need for encouragement, pray and He will lift your heart the way He lifted Joshua's. Most of us know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by the pressure of responsibility. We feel weak and worry that God is not pleased with us. This was the one thing Joshua had going in his favor. He needed the Lord, and God responded in a marvelous way. Never forget that when you call out to Him, God will answer your cry. Human limitations make you unusually sensitive to the limitless power of Almighty God. This is where we receive a great and mighty blessing.
You can also be sure when God calls you to a certain task, He always provides the resources it takes to get the job done. In the first chapter of the book of Joshua, God issues a challenge to His servant. It also is a challenge to you. It is one of obedience and commitment. The mission Joshua and the nation of Israel was about to undertake was not an easy one. The land they were entering was occupied by dire enemies. Only by the power of God would they be able to settle in the land.
However, Joshua was fully committed to God's will and purpose. He evaluated the situation before him and devised a course of action to accomplish God's plan. When you make a commitment to the Lord, never go back on your word.
Joshua recalled Israel's past failures and was determined to be sensitive to God's timing. Having been a part of the first group of spies sent into the Promised Land, he was keenly aware of what a missed opportunity could mean. And he did not intend for Israel to make the same mistake twice.
When faced with a challenge, are you aware of your limitations and your personal need for God? Or do you forge ahead in your own strength? God wants to be your strength. And when you seek His wisdom, He provides the foreknowledge you need so you will not make a mistake.
Those who push ahead without God miss a great blessing. Their lives are often marked by heartache, failure, and disappointment. Joshua listened for God's guidance. In chapter five, Israel had crossed over the Jordan River and was preparing to attack Jericho. Tensions were high. The people had witnessed God's hand holding back the waters of the Jordan River. The sight was reminiscent of the Red Sea crossing. God sent the commander of His heavenly army as a final encouragement to Joshua. "Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, 'Are you for us or for our adversaries?' He said, 'No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.' And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, 'What has my lord to say to his servant?'" (5:13-14)
God always reveals His will to those who seek Him. Joshua was a man who was mighty in spirit. There was a decisiveness to his life that was not based on feelings or emotions nor was it swayed by the opinions of others. Each time we make a decision to follow God, our depth of obedience will be challenged.
Is God requiring you to do something? If so, honor Him with your prayers. Ask Him to make you sensitive to His presence, His timing, His word, His will, and His way of accomplishing the task. The city of Jericho was shut up tight. The walls were high and fortified. Yet a single trumpet blast, given on God's command, reduced them to rubble. Joshua humbled himself before the Lord, and we are to do the same.
Everything about Joshua's life was wrapped up in a relationship - the quiet, intimate, warm, personal relationship with God. This is what made him decisively mighty in spirit. Will you, like Joshua, accept God's Word and challenge to follow Him in victory? Copyright © 1997 November IN TOUCH magazine IN TOUCH MINISTRIES®, ITM, Inc.
All rights reserved
SOMETHING I FOUND ON THE INTERNET
Just as nations are raised up to fulfill the plans of GOD, so are individuals raised up to fulfill the plans of GOD. Both Pharoah and Judas had an opportunity to submit themselves to GOD. After the plans of GOD were fulfilled, they could have turned to GOD and asked for forgiveness...but they didn't. Why?
Pharoah was too proud and Judas was too ashamed. Each had a choice, and each chose wrongly. Remember, GOD desires that *no one* should perish. *No One*
Both Pharoah and Judas were predestined to play out their roles, but neither of them were predestined to doom. After they had sinned, they could have turned...but they did not.
You my friend were born in order to fulfill a certain role and perform a certain function in the over-all plan of GOD. Just as with Pharoah and as with Judas, you have free will.
You absolutely, possitively WILL fulfill the plan of GOD for your life. It is unavoidable. This much is predestined. You can either set back, let HIM take control, or go kicking and screaming and fighting GOD all the way to the grave. In the end, HIS Will shall be done. Will you be a humble servant or a rebel?
It is your choice.
How did we get the Bible? God told the people that he chose, what to say and write. It's in the Bible, II Peter 1:21, NIV. "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
God is the source of all the information in the Bible. It's in the Bible, II Timothy 3:16, NIV. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."
The Bible introduces us to Jesus Christ. It's in the Bible, Hebrews 1:1-2, NIV. "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe."
For what purpose were the Scriptures written? It's in the Bible, Romans 15:4, NIV. "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
What are the Scriptures able to do for one who believes them? It's in the Bible, II Timothy 3:15, TLB. "You know how, when you were a small child, you were taught the holy Scriptures; and it is these that make you wise to accept God's salvation by trusting in Christ Jesus."
U\pon what conditions is an understanding of divine things promised? It's in the Bible, Proverbs 2:1-6, NIV. "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding."
Don't ignore the parts that make you uncomfortable. It's in the Bible, Jeremiah 26:2, TLB. "Give them the entire message; don't leave out one word of all I have for them to hear."
When you don't understand what you read, the Holy Spirit is sent to help. It's in the Bible, John 16:13-14, NIV. "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and make it known to you."
The Bible is a map to show us the way to live. It's in the Bible, Psalm 119:19, NIV. "I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me."
The Bible gives us wisdom. It's in the Bible, Psalm 119:99, NIV. "I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes."
The Bible offers help when the way seems unclear. It's in the Bible, Psalm 119:105, NIV. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."
The Bible gives us God's commands which are not to be changed. It's in the Bible, Matthew 5:18, NIV. "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter; not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
Whom did Jesus pronounce blessed? It's in the Bible, Luke 11:28, NIV. "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
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GOD WILL MAKE A WAY
Read: Psalm 27
Wait on the Lord; be of good
courage, and He shall strengthen
your heart. -Psalm 27:14
Rebecca was at her lowest as she drove her aging car to the daycare center to pick up her daughter. Her boss was making life difficult again. The landlord was raising the rent. And as a single mom, she felt all alone. "I'm trying my best," she told God, "Please help me." Just then these words by Don Moen came on the radio in a song:
God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way;
He works in ways we cannot see,
He will make a way for me.
"Please do that for me, God," Rebecca pleaded. "I can't go any further."
The psalmist David too called out to the Lord when he was in desperate straits. He prayed, "Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!" (Ps. 27:7). Then David testified expectantly, "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart" (v.14).
God specializes in showing His power in hopeless situations. Israel was in just such a place when God parted the sea before them (Ex. 13:17-14:31). Daniel was protected in the lion's den (Dan. 6:10-23). Paul and Silas were delivered from prison (Acts 16:25-40).
God made a way for Rebecca too. A better job she had applied for months earlier suddenly opened up. The increase in her income would cover the rent. Then a family in her church made a newer car available to her.
If life seems to be closing in on you, don't despair! Trust God. He
has promised to make a way.
-David C. Egner
OUR UNKNOWN FUTURE IS SECURE IN THE HANDS OF OUR ALL-KNOWING GOD.
OUR DAILY BREAD, Copyright 1999 by Radio Bible
Class, Grand Rapids,Michigan.
Used by permission.
WHAT IS MEDITATION
Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purpose and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God as a means of communication with God.
Its purpose is to clear one's mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one's mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself; it is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God's power and grace.
How Do We Meditate
We all know how to meditate; worry is the negative side of meditation. Rick Warren
Reserve a Time when you can be alone with God a Time and Place when you can be uninterrupted
a Time and Place without distractions
Review the Past
How has God operated in my life in the past Look for His hand in all of your past activities, and events Seeing His correction, comfort, and exhortation in the past helps us better see His hand in our lives today.
Reflect Upon God
In light of the presence and greatness of God, nothing is impossible in our lives.
Remember God's Promises
God has promised us:
Make a Request
Scripture clearly tells us to present our needs to God.
Allow God to Interject His Thoughts into Our Thinking
Meditation requires self-control.
When you begin, you may have to labor mentally to focus your attention on God.
If you are having difficulty focusing on God, Ask the Lord for help. Read and concentrate on a psalm of praise, or sing a favorite hymn or praise.
Failure to Submit
If the same thing keeps returning to your mind, ask yourself: Is God happy with me in this area?
Are my actions and attitudes consistent with His will? Have I submitted to the Lord in this area? What does God have to say to me about this? When we refuse to deal with a problem God has pinpointed, we will continue to have difficulty advancing in our relationship with Him until we do so.
God will often put His finger on areas of our lives that are conspicuously wrong. ... However, if we rationalize our problems when He points them out, we will spend less and less time meditating, because we won't want to face God in that area of our lives.