Sunday, September 30, 2012


Editor’s note:  The following devotion was written by Lyle Mattson:

In my devotional period every day, I read one chapter of the Bible. Today, I am on Matthew 6, which begins:

“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:” Matt 5:1-2 LSB

As I read this, my mind wandered back to the first time God came to deliver the Law:

“On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him with thunder. The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain.” Exodus 19:16-20 LSB

The same God, the same Law—yet there are two very contrasted presentations. The first giving of the Law was met with trepidation primarily because of the presentation—the second giving was met with trepidation strictly because of the content. The disciples came that day with what they thought was a fairly complete understanding of God and of God’s Law. When Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew writes:

“And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” Matt 7:28 LSB

Why were they astonished? These knew the Law—many there that day had probably memorized the words handed down by Moses on Mount Sinai amidst the thunder and lightning. In fact, if we had been there that day and taken a survey before Jesus spoke, as to how many wanted to hear more about the Law—most probably would have responded with a bored, “No, thank you—we know all about the Law—we want to hear more about the Messiah!” Yet Jesus spoke of the Law and the people left that day with a new impression—the Law was not difficult to obey—it was downright impossible! And that is exactly what Jesus wanted them to leave with that day. Jesus didn’t come to redeem good people—He came to redeem the lost, the hopeless, the destitute, the condemned, the sinner. There is no fresher feeling then when we walk outside after a summer storm. The lightening, thunder, wind and rain clear the air of impurities—the air is more invigorating and the zest for life more intense. When God first brought the Law, the Israelites experienced that presentation outwardly—seeing first hand the awesome power of God. When Jesus explained the Law in His Sermon on the Mount, the lightening, the thunder, the wind, and rain worked inwardly on the souls of those who listened. They were astonished because they saw who they were anew—they were sinners in need of a Savior.

Lord, help me be astonished every time I look to Your Word. Help me, as you did on that Mount in Palestine, to see anew my hopelessness and my need for Your saving grace. Amen.

Ambassador Institute-Support Opportunities

Editor’s note: This is installment #5 from the Fall Inquiry Newsletter. Stay tuned for 1 more installments!

This is the first year the Ambassador Institute  has operated without a subsidy from World Missions. Our goal is to raise the entire $108,500 budget. Thus far, we have reached 46% of that goal.


We need 42 more churches or individuals to support $100 per month to cover the cost of training pastors internationally. The Lord has grown this ministry and multiplied its impact greatly in the past 5 years. Thank you for your role and partnership in supplying solid biblical training to pastors and church leaders internationally.


Every school needs accountability of the teachers and the education which is the same for this Institute. Regular travel insures the quality of the teachers, the lessons taught and the standards. The cost of travel varies from country to country, but a two-week trip typically costs $2400. Consider supporting the travel to a country with $200 /month.


Most students need a solar chargeable audio Bible to help them recall the stories that they learn from week to week. The Mega Voice players that are used cost $40 each.
Each graduate receives a printed copy of the curriculum. The cost for one book is $6 and there are 6 books in the complete curriculum, so the cost per student is $36, a price affordable by Sunday Schools and Youth Groups. Presently, there are 125 students in Uganda and 35 in India.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ambassador Institute Fall Inquiry-Uganda

Editor’s note: This is installment #4 from the Fall Inquiry Newsletter. Stay tuned for 2 more installments!

Since June, Micah Berger and Andrew Olson have been serving as Ambassador Institute instructors. They have worked alongside the Ugandan teachers with their 10 classes and they lead the class in Jinja. Micah and Andrew had a tough month of health issues in July. Micah had a cold and Malaria. Andrew had pneumonia, worms, Typhoid Fever and Malaria all back to back. It seemed like a spiritual attack by the way they all came one after another. Both of them are back to good health and have been busy with ministry.

The training classes are progressing well. At the peak there were 13 classes. Some of them have been completed and currently there are 10 meeting. Each week, the teachers get together for lesson preparation, where they cover the biblical text to make sure they understand it well. They discuss how to present the story and how to answer the questions that students might ask. This preparation helps ensure that the teachers are reproducing what they were first taught.

The class that meets in Jinja is a special group because it is made up of people from several different language groups. The lessons are taught in English, which is their common language. There are four students that have shown good leadership and are already teaching classes of their own.

Wycliffe Story from the Cameroon

Editor’s note:  This story was included in the Kvale’s September newsletter about a recent breakthrough in the translation of God’s word in the Cameroon.  You can find the entire newsletter here.

clip_image002These women from the town of Maroua, Cameroon live near a
translation project that recently made a very exciting breakthrough! A Wycliffe translation advisor working with the Hdi language noticed how God left His mark for the Hdi speakers within their very own language.  Photo by: Zeke Du Plessis. 


By Bob Creson, August 2012

Translator Lee Bramlett was confident that God had left His mark on the Hdi culture somewhere, but though he searched, he could not find it. Where was the footprint of God in the history or daily life of these Cameroonian people?  What clue had He planted to let the Hdi know who He is and how He wants to relate to them?
Then one night in a dream, God prompted Lee to look again at the Hdi word for love. Lee and his wife, Tammi, had learned that verbs in Hdi consistently end in one of three vowels. For almost every verb, they could find forms ending in i, a, and u. But when it came to the word for love, they could only find i and a. Why no u? 

Lee asked the Hdi translation committee, which included the most influential leaders in the community, “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”  “Yes,” they said. That would mean that the wife had been loved but the love was gone. “Could you ‘dva’ your wife?” Lee asked. “Yes,” they said. That kind of love depended on the wife’s actions. She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well. “Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?”  Lee asked. Everyone laughed. “Of course not!” they said. “If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t exist.”

Lee sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”
There was complete silence for three or four minutes; then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of these elderly men. Finally they responded.

“Do you know what this would mean?” they asked. “This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”

One simple vowel, and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do and who you are,” to “I love you based on who I am. I love
you because of Me and not because of you.”

God had encoded the story of His unconditional love right into their language. For centuries, the little word was there—unused but available, grammatically correct and quite understandable. When the word was finally spoken, it called into question their entire belief system. If God was like that, and not a mean and scary spirit, did they need the spirits of the ancestors to intercede for them? Did they need sorcery to relate to the spirits? Many decided the answer was no, and the number of Christ-followers quickly grew from a few hundred to several thousand.

The New Testament in Hdi is ready to be printed now, and twenty-nine thousand speakers will soon be able to feel the impact of passages like Ephesians 5:25,  “Husbands, ‘dvu’ your wives, just as Christ ‘dvu’-d the church.…”  I invite you to pray for them as they absorb and seek to model the amazing, unconditional love they have received.

As God’s Word is translated around the world, people are gaining access to this great love story about how God ‘dvu’-d us enough to sacrifice his
unique Son for us, so that our relationship with Him can be ordered and oriented correctly. The cross changes everything!  Someday, the last word
of the last bit of Scripture for the last community will be done, and everyone will be able to understand the story of God’s unconditional love.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Short Term Missions Assistants

AFLC World Missions has a program where mission volunteers can go to the field with the blessings of the World Missions Department.  The World Missions Committee has approved  three new short term assistants.

Matthew AbelMatthew Abel

Matthew has been approved to work on our mission field in Brazil.  His is the son of Paul and Becky Abel, AFLC missionaries in Brazil.  Matthew’s long term goal is to follow God’s leading in full time ministry and most likely missions.

This week Matthew experienced a motorcycle accident requiring surgery on both wrists.  His brother-in-law is an orthopedic surgeon in Brazil.  Matthew flew home to Brazil for the surgery.


2010 Jacob

Jacob O’Flanagan

Jacob is a graduate of our Ministry Training Institute in cross culture ministry.  He has served as a short term assistant in Brazil before.  Jacob has sensed God calling him to build up the congregations of Brazil in any way that he can.  This will be Jacob’s third time in Brazil and he desires to study and learn the Portuguese better in the classroom setting next year.

Brent and Emily RaaBrent and Emily - webn 

Brent is in his second year at AFLTS.  Brent and Emily are AFLC missionary candidates.  They traveled to India in the summer of 2012 and sense God calling them to India.  They plan to serve as short term assistants in India during the summer of 2013.

Schierkolks Approved to Return to Field

Family picture 2011After considerable prayer, study and deliberation the World Missions Committee has approved the Schierkolks to return to Mexico in January. This decision was made following a recommendation from the World Missions Crisis Management Board.

AFLC World Missions and the Schierkolks understand that there is still a considerable amount of violence created by drug cartels in Mexico. With that in mind, it seems that missionaries are not being targeted. Everyone in the Schierkolks immediate family agrees that God is still calling them to work in Mexico and are comfortable with their return in January.

Please keep the Schierkolks in your prayers as they return to Mexico.

Connely Dyrud–Missionary Emeritus

Connely 07 b (Medium)

The World Missions Committee has approved a status change for Connely Dyrud.  Connely has been living in the US serving as Missionary at Large while he lead the Ministry Training Institute program at AFLBS.  Missionary Dyrud will now be considered Missionary Emeritus. 

As Missionary Emeritus he will volunteer his time and talents for AFLC World Missions.  Connely has offered to speak at mission’s events and WMF Rallies as needed.  The World Missions Department has asked that congregations and individuals continue to give to his personal support.  Even though this is a volunteer position we will continue to provide ministry expenses from his personal support.

We thank God for the service of Rev. Dyrud to world missions over the last 42 years.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Answered Prayer–Matthew Abel

The Lord has graciously answered our prayers!  Thanks to all of you who have called out to God for Matthew.  Reasons for rejoicing:

* He was granted an emergency passport yesterday in São Paulo.

* They had a safe trip home with lots of father-son conversations.

* Matthew's pain was way less yesterday to the point that he was believing God had healed his broken wrist (Dr. Daniel reminded him that he would be the judge of that when he went to surgery)

* Although there were huge lines of people at the hospital early this morning (shivering in the freezing temperature) Matthew was taken in right away.

* Daniel called us after 2:00 p.m. to report that the surgeries had gone well.  A screw was placed in his broken wrist.  The other hand with the dislocated thumb and torn ligaments was repaired but needs God's special touch to heal correctly so that future surgery can be avoided.

* Matthew should be released from the hospital tomorrow.

* God has given us peace throughout the journey - What a wonderful present!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ambassador Institute Fall Inquiry

Editor’s note:  This is installment #3 from the Fall Inquiry Newsletter.  Stay tuned for 3 more installments!

Pastor Andy and Monica Coyle are serving in Ukraine with Eastern European Mission network. Their desire is to offer solid evangelical Lutheran training at the school and make Biblical education available for lay people as well as clergy. The endorsement of the Dean of the Seminary in St. Petersburg, was also accompanied with a visit from the bishops from across Russia. They came to Odessa to preview the school. The opportunity to train people is great, but the pressure to start well is also important.

Last spring, at a WMF rally in Sebeka, MN, Pastor Kevin met Blanca Gomezcoello from Cuenca, Ecuador. She saw the oral style of teaching and told her husband, Pastor Santiago, that they needed to consider using that style when they returned home.  In June, Justo and Patricia Pilmann left for Cuenca as missionaries.  They met up with the Gomezcoellos and the Paachas to join them in the ministry. At a staff planning meeting there was a united interest in using the AI curriculum and a desire to implement the training. This November, Pastor Kevin will join the staff to train the trainers and to meet with the home Bible Studies that are going to start using the AI material.

AI training is in transition in Brazil. Pastor Anilton received the opportunity to teach at a government university. He wants to continue AI training, but his new job and location won’t allow him to keep the role of Academic Dean in Camp Maurao that he previously held. He hopes able to continue his work with the distance students. We congratulate him in this new job at the same time we will miss him.

Kvale Connection-September

clip_image002From where you stand, you impact the world. If we take that moment to consider the bigger picture and allow the Word of God with the ministry of His Holy Spirit to penetrate our hearts and minds, we can see more clearly,    understanding our purpose and our impact. This view (above) from atop the Sears Tower in Chicago at sunset can make us feel small, but we do not lose site of how vitally important each and everyone’s gifts and talents are throughout that city, or in any small town. With stories such as the one on the back of this newsletter (this story will be posted tomorrow so stay tuned!) that remind us how Bible Translation impacts a whole people group, their language and their culture with changed lives, we continue to count it a privilege to support this work in reaching the last languages with the skills Godclip_image002[4] established in us. If you or someone you know is considering missions with their God-given gifts, please let us know if we can be of some encouragement.

Steve, Neli, and her friend, Candace, shareclip_image002[6]d about Bible Translation at this church in Illinois, with Ps. Steendahl.  

Jason  witnessed the power of prayer on a recent Jesus Film trip to the Dominican Republic.  There were decisions made for Christ and the trip also had a great impact on Jason as he worked construction there.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Emergency Prayers Needed for Abels

Dear Friends,
This is just a quick message to ask you to pray for our son Matthew.  On Wednesday night he had an incident with his motorcycle and injured both hands.  Thursday he took x-rays revealing that the left wrist is broken and the right thumb is dislocated.  Our son-in-law, Daniel, who is an orthopedic surgeon here in Brazil believes that Matthew needs surgery on both arms.  After seeking counsel from many people the decision was made today for Matthew to fly to Brazil tomorrow to have the surgeries done here.  He will be flying stand-by.  He has very limited use of his hands so even a trip like this is challenging. 

Pray for his pain management.  Pray that he will be careful and not try to do things he shouldn't do. Pray also for his passport situation.  His American passport was stolen earlier this summer.  Hopefully he can leave the U.S. on his Brazilian passport, but he will have to try and get a new American passport before returning to the U.S.  He hopes to be gone for less than two weeks if all goes well.  Please pray for Matthew and for the doctors. Thanks for standing with us before the throne of grace for God's perfect healing and provision in the midst of challenging circumstances.  Matthew is always evangelizing and seeking God's best for his life so once again we look for the ways the Lord will cause all things to work together for good. 

Thanks so much!  Paul and Becky

"In Him we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:28

P.S. Tomorrow we will be celebrating daughter Joanna's 3oth birthday with many friends.  We're busy making lots of food and getting things ready for the big celebration. Matthew will be here for his 23rd birthday next Saturday.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ambassador Institute Expansion

“Kevin, we would like you to come to Ecuador and teach our Bible study leaders how to use the Oral style of training.”

EcuadorMissionary Justo Pilmann made that request after arriving in Cuenca, Ecuador and having a planning retreat with Pastor Santiago and Pastor Darwin Paacha. The curriculum is already translated into Spanish, so training the leaders to use what they already have is the next step and the training will be successful since there are already three strong leaders in the church.
A Bible School is also beginning in Odessa, Ukraine. Missionary Andy Coyle is one member of the team that is starting this school. In June, they received the endorsement of the Dean of the Seminary in St. Petersburg, Russia, which means that he will be recommending future seminary students to start their training in Odessa. Andy will be using the Ambassador Institute’s semester on Character for the first class of the Bible school.

Editor’s note:  This is the first of several installments of the Ambassador Institute Fall Inquiry Newsletter.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pillmans in Ecuador

Greetings, precious family and friends!

We rejoice to say that we have finally moved into our home at the beginning of September.  new homePraise be to the Lord for His provision for a place very close to the church, with reasonable rent and nice living spaces. We are happy to be unpacked and finally able to turn our attention to other things.

In September, the regular ministry of the church starts up for the year, and we are working with the leadership to see where and how we will fit in. Justo will also set up a regular visitation schedule with the home school families  in the church. We are excited about this opportunity, because it gives him an even greater opening for discipleship and mentoring of these families. Justo also continues to meet on an individual basis with several young men in the church. We rejoice at all the chances we have to open our home to others and share the love of Christ and the truth of His Word.

So far, Patricia an
family at the beachd Nathanael have been well and are adjusting to being in a new culture.  Patricia continues to study and learn the language. Justo has had a couple bouts of sickness, and you can be in prayer that he is completely healed of any infections that may still be lingering in his body.

We give thanks and praise for each one of you. We have seen many direct answers to prayer since we’ve been
here…keep praying! May God continue to keep us steadfast in His Word.

Editor’s note:  You can find out how to pray for the Pillman’s here.

BIG Hand

Everyone has their own taste, and I am not embarrassed to admit that I am a Walmarter (I also enjoy visiting Target and Marshall’s is a close personal friend). I am told by my Brazilian friends that almost all visitors from the States are surprised to see the big “W” prominently displayed in all the bigger cities (the quote is “I came all this way to shop at Walmart!?!”), but that question isn’t asked by visitors to Campo Mourao—we aren’t big enough. Well, that isn`t quite true; the end of last year a mega-market opened less than a mile from here called “Big”, it belongs to Walmart and is really pretty similar. Since it opened the resident gringa has enjoyed buying REAL peanut butter and a few other items that are very American, but more than that, the Miriam Home has found a partner!

In the nine months the store has been open we have received two visits from the management and the store has invited us twice to do campaigns to receive non perishable food donations. I led the campaign this last week-end and I have to say, I felt a little like a politician running for office! We had posters and two grocery carts at the  front of the store. I  shook hands with people as they came in the store, gave them a flyer about the Miriam home and invited them to leave a donation. The result was a huge blessing! Part of the blessing was how our pantry was filled (including, but not limited to 200 lbs of rice, 50 pounds of beans, 40 pounds of sugar and 20 liters of oil). Part was the warm response from the customers that took the folders, asked questions, offered to pray. A third blessing have been the phone calls we have received this week from people who heard about the Miriam Home for the first time (yup, even here in Campo Mourao!) and want to visit us.

And finally, we are blessed by the employees of Big, who  got to know us as we greeted people coming in the store. Today I had to go to the store for some cleaning supplies, one of the staff came up to me with a bag she had brought with her to work each day, waiting for me. She wanted to send a gift to the Miriam Home (clothes from one of her children). The clothes are wonderful, but her persistence in bringing the bag to the store three days in a row touched my heart!

Praise the Lord, He is faithfully raising up supporters for the Miriam Home; people who help provide the needs of the Home, people to pray for the work of the Holy Spirit in the children’s lives and people willing to open their homes to little ones needing families!

Editor’s note: There is much more to read in Jonni’s Newsletter here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Introducing Josh and Ruthie Wagner

Josh and RuthieAFLC World Missions is excited to announce that Josh and Ruthie (Lee) Wagner have accepted a call to be AFLC missionaries, on loan to Lutheran Bible Translators.

Josh grew up as the oldest of six children in the Minneapolis area, where he and his family have been heavily involved with inner-city ministry.  He received a B.A. in Business Management from Bethel University, St. Paul.  Among other jobs, Josh especially enjoyed working in human resources for several years.  Josh values communication and has a heart for teaching and facilitating.

Ruthie was raised as a second-generation missionary kid in Bangladesh and Los Angeles.  Her parents are Rev. Bob and Margaret Lee (AFLC) of Naknek, Alaska.  She moved to Minneapolis to attend the Association of Free Lutheran Bible School and received a B.A. in Linguistics, Ancient Language & Historical Texts from Northwestern College, St. Paul.  After completing training in linguistics, she served with LBT from 2007-2009.  She also worked in communications for the World Mission Prayer League from 2009-2011.

Josh and Ruthie met at a Bible translation meeting and married in 2009.  They are finishing linguistic training at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics, Dallas.  Sharing a common heart and love for people and for seeing God worshipped among the nations, they are thrilled to learn how God will have them be involved in the efforts of Bible translation and Scripture engagement in Sierra Leone!

The Wagners, with their newborn son Elijah, will be traveling in the West and Midwest visiting churches and individuals.  They plan to arrive in Sierra Leone around the summer of 2013.

To keep up to date with Josh and Ruthie:


• TEXT “SIGNUP” TO 612-208-7860


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Bible Training Ministry in Ukraine

Moriah_First day of 1st gradeIt's "back-to-school" season here in Ukraine, and what a festive time of celebration it is! Education, regardless of age, is of utmost importance here in Ukraine. Special celebrations are traditionally held to mark the start of a new school year. Moriah and Isaiah, with their backpacks nearly tipping them over backwards, Moriah_Isaiah first day of schoolwere among the students heading off to school today.

Among the back-to-school celebrations is that of a new school which begins this month: our Ukrainian Bible School! We could hardly wait to share the exciting news about our eight residential students who will be attending this year. Thank you, Lord!

It is our prayer for these students that the Lord would reveal himself to each of them, in both mighty ways and tender ways, in their months of study to come. We pray that they would draw nearer to Him in personal relationship, and that they would be equipped with His Word for future service.

As we commit this school year to the Lord, would you pray with us that HE would be our teacher and guide? In your life and in those of your family. In Andy's and mine, and in our children's lives. In the lives of our Bible School students, and staff.

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go." (Isaiah 48:17 ESV)

We invite you to catch up on our news and activities from the past month on our blog.

We are so grateful for your prayers, through which God is providing so graciously here.  We will be updating our blog as the Bible School starts in two weeks- stay tuned!

Editor’s note:  You can read the rest of the Coyle’s Newsletter here and find out how you can be praying for their Bible School Ministry!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Jonathan and Tamba Abel Newsletter

“Praise the Lord o my soul and forget not all His benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”            Psalms 103:2-5

There is much to Praise and thank the Lord for, in spite of the challenges we face.  He has been faithful to us, protected us, provided for us, and blessed us.

Back in Brazil for 2 months, April & Thomas were able to do some sharing, first at a youth meeting in Campo Grande, MS, then, both worked as counselors for Bible Camps (in Campo Mourao and at the ARCA).  April also spent over a week translating for Pastors and a medical team in Corumba, MS on a Mission trip. 

We traveled as well during this time. In Campo Grande, MS. we helped celebrate the church’s birthday. In Curitiba, Jonathan preached in one of our churches.  Then there was Bible Camp and a Pastor’s Conference in Campo Mourao which we participated in.

All this while, living part-time in Maringa (house-hunting and leading our Bible studies/meetings with our church family there), staying in different people’s homes. Then, part of the week, staying in Campo Mourao, where Jonathan is back to teaching a class at the Bible School. So, we have slept in many places, visited many people, and still need a place to call ‘home’. 

Our time with our kids in Brazil was good, even if we were spread out in different homes.  It is special to see the Lord working in their lives, using them in His work to reach out to others. Tom & April are back in the US, getting ready for school this Fall, looking for jobs, experiencing living by faith until then. Please pray for them and God’s leading in every situation. 

The near future holds the changing of the guard. New care takers for the camp as our present one who is 84 years old and has been with us for 47 years, will be moving to live with his daughter. God is already raising up another couple to take his place. PTL! Recently we lost our academic dean. This week we lose our cook, but God is raising up others to fill the void. PTL for this too!

This week God provided a good used pickup to assist us in the ministry. I have wanted one for over 20 years, and have been praying for an extra car for the last two years so that I could do the work, and Tamba and Michelle could have transportation when I’m not around.  PTL again!

Thank you for your continued prayers and support!               

Be Strong and Courageous-Obedient and Faithful

Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. 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. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.”

Joshua then said to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies with whom you fight.          Joshua 1:1-9, 18, 10:25

We first need to establish ‘Who are God’s people?

Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2 For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.                                                           Romans 7:1-10, 8:1-4

God’s people are those who have died to their sins thru the sacrifice of Christ and believe He is the Savior.

Because of our sinful nature we were condemned under the law, but thru His perfect sacrifice we are saved and made clean. We are now free from the condemnation of the Law, not meaning we can do whatever we feel like.

Obedience and faithfulness is a couple of words that seem to be left out of our vocabulary. Why are we to be obedient and faithful? The Lord demands us to be obedient and faithful. He is our God and gave us life. He loves us and wants us to worship Him, have fellowship and abide with Him forever. God is perfect and nothing imperfect can coexist with Him.

Let’s take a look at just some of those who were obedient and faithful – strong and courageous:

Sampson – a man who brought the building down to destroy the enemy

Daniel – faithfulness to worship and pray to His one true living God sealed the mouth of lions

David – a shepherd boy who became king and was a man after God’s own heart whose lineage brought forth the Son of God

Job – had much, lost all, and after was given even more

Esther – a people living in exile, she became queen and God’s people were saved

Noah – a man spent many years of his life building a craft under constant humiliation and his family was saved

Joseph – a boy who had a beautiful coat was betrayed by his brothers. He became second in command in Egypt and his family and people were saved

Paul - a man who first persecuted Jesus but became probably the most well-known apostle

There are many more examples in God’s word of those who were obedient and faithful. Yes, they were not without flaw which is a reminder of our own sinful nature, but they were devoted to serving their Lord God. Many of us have grown up hearing God’s Word and living by it. I have to question myself too often if I’m truly serving Him whole heartedly. The Lord knows where each of us are at and that’s something that is between ourselves and Him, but are we standing up using the gifts He has given us to further His kingdom so others too can have eternal life?

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.          1 Cor 4:12-11

We do not have to go thru this life’s battle alone. First of all we have God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and The Holy Spirit our Helper; and then we have each other - fellow heirs of heaven.

Let us trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord!  Joshua 24:15

The above devotion was written by Scott Erickson, a member of the World Missions Board.