“Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass,” Joshua 21:45
The waiting – sometimes excruciating. The battles – hard fought and horrendous. The enemies – many. The hopes and dreams of a people once enslaved – building. The promise – within sight. Victory – obtained. Possession – now.
The journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land had not been a road easily traveled. Through it all, they struggled with discouragement and wrestled with obedience. Battles ensued, some won and some lost. Crossing the Red Sea; crossing the Jordan. Walls were brought down at Jericho and lives fled at Ai. The sun stood still during the fight and kings were conquered. Now, they are at the promise but the road there was not easy.
The children of Israel and their excursion to the Promised Land, their struggles with the flesh and their attitudes and holding onto hope while waiting for obtaining of the promise reminds me of our Christian journey. The promise is before us but the road is not paved with ease and comfort as some would have you believe. The path we walk takes effort, sometimes great effort. The trials we face are often difficult. But the faith we hold onto is assured.
If life never threw you any curve balls then I wonder if you were in the game at all. What does that mean? There are a lot of messages that we hear that tickle the ears making the hearer believe that they will never suffer hardship on this Christian journey. It leaves the hearer bewildered when they do face difficulties. They are taken aback when struggles come to their home. They believed they would coast on through without any road closures or stumbling blocks. Discouraged, many throw their hands up in defeat before they obtain the promise.
Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33, KJV). You see, we have an assurance of a great promise at the end of our journey, but Jesus was very real and upfront to let us know that road won’t always be easy. Jesus led no one into a false sense of security that they would never have to experience any adverse circumstances. He said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.”
Before reaching the Promised Land and even to the point of laying hold of the promise, the children of Israel had to fight their way through. But the Bible tells us, “Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” They eventually were able to fully experience everything their souls had been longing for on that journey. The sights, the smell and the taste of victory were theirs for their enjoyment. They had the good thing that God had promised.
I write words of encouragement in case you are in a curveball state; in case you have been sidetracked by unexpected discouragement. Still press forth in the journey. Don’t give in at the sight of struggles. Be determined in the forward march. Not a word of God’s promises will fail for you either. In fact, Psalm 84:11 says, “For the LORD is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly,” (KJV).
Keep your head above water and float on the promises of God who said, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you,” (Deut. 31:6, NKJV). I can’t promise you million dollars or that you will never spend nights crying over life, but I can promise that Jesus will be with you even to the end of the world, Matthew 28:20, KJV.
We have the blessed assurance of every promise that God has bestowed upon us. When adversity comes, know that you are not the only one going through it. Sometimes the journey will be harder than we like it to be, yet the assurance remains the same. In the end, if we hold on to our faith despite what our eyes are seeing right now, the promise is ours. “All came to pass,” for the children of Israel and it will for us too. “Be of good cheer,” Jesus said. “I have overcome the world!”
Text Free Photo: Pixabay/Skitterphoto
This not meant to be deep, just encouraging to all who are out there fighting today. Reading in my Bible, I came across some very inspiring verses (as usual 🙂 ). I was reading in the book of Joshua where conquests were being made in the name and in the power of the Lord. Enemies continually came out to fight against God’s people. At one point Joshua 11:4 says, “So they went out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore in multitude, with very many horses and chariots,” (NKJV).
By all normal accounts, this should have been the end of God’s people. According to the standards of human perception they were outnumbered and out powered. But, God . . .
God told Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them, for tomorrow about this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel,” (Joshua 11:6, NKJV). Not one shall escape, but all would fall under the power of God working through and for His people. And, if that wasn’t encouraging enough, as I continued reading I came to Joshua 12:7-24 where it lists 31 kings that fell because God was fighting for His people.
That lets me know that no matter what the odds look like that’s stacked against us, they can never out stack God. God is a victorious God and we are meant to be victorious people in Him. We are conquerors; we are people of conquest. It may seem insurmountable to us, but God has already climbed the highest mountains that we face and He has already won the battles against the greatest armies of enemies that try to come against us.
Don’t let the numbers against you phase you. “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them,” (2 Kings 6:16). Since we have God on our side – we have more than they! We outnumber the enemy. Victory shall be ours.
Text Free Photo: Pixabay/TimHill
When fear surrounds
And questions lurk
And doubt becomes
A prevalent force
When troubles prevail
And night overtakes day
And my times feel lost
At the end of my course
When hope slips, memories fade
I grab hold to pull You near,
To hear what You have to say
My Redeemer lives are the words I read
The whispers that encourage
The strength to stay
Sitting in the ashes and dust
Friends, miserable comforters
In companions, no trust
Alone and desolate
Vacant from a touch of love
My eyes raise in prayer
Seeking from Him that is above
Back down on the pages
In Your Word, I read,
My Redeemer lives
Someone somewhere is thinking about me
A revelation to encourage
A truth to behold
My Redeemer lives, there I am told
Guess what, all hope is not lost
Though turbulent waves crash
And my life feels tossed
Shine down, O Savior, I pray
When my understanding fails
Lift me from this dusty sorrow
Let Your might, Your love, Your truth prevail
Bless my soul, O My Hope for tomorrow
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth,” Psalm 121:1-2
“Me, myself and I,” a phrase commonly known to us all. It usually comes on the heels of an aggravating event or from dealing with the frustration of a letdown because one depended on someone else to do something for them and they didn’t follow through. Or, how about this one, “If you want something done right you have to do it yourself!” Another frustrating sentiment spurned by the letdowns of others.
Here we just see them as phrases, just something we blurt out because of the emotions that stir within us when we feel we can’t get that help we need from someone. The sad part of it all is the reality that this has become the prevailing attitude in the world today. It is a mindset that has become detached from the cares of humanity; not in a good way.
Many people are wandering adrift in the world. Day by day they go through their daily routines really believing that they are in this alone. Wandering and questioning, “From whence comes my help?” More often than not, that questioning person does not know that there is One who stands at the ready to appeal and work on behalf of those who call out to Him. Not realizing this great truth causes them look to their own selves once again, reaffirming that self-sufficient attitude of “Me, myself and I.”
I believe God likes goal-setters. I believe God loves to see His people be filled with the zeal of being a real go-getter. I say that because God has never, ever promoted laziness. God has equipped mankind with a mind to think and gifts to operate in, and He wants to see the fulfilling of all of that to come to pass. But, and here’s where the warning bells go off, when one tries to operate independently of God with an “I don’t need Him” attitude, buddy, that’s when we got a problem!
“Can I get some help around here?” Oh, if that isn’t a familiar cry to us all. When life feels at loose ends and everything just seems to be unraveling before us we often wonder where can we get help from? The writer of this psalm found his help by lifting his eyes up. The human eye tells one where to focus. As I sit here on my couch writing this I keep peeping out of the window. In line of my view are a bunch of beautiful trees that are gently swaying with the occasional breeze. Every time I look out at them I feel a certain little measure of restfulness and peace. Because this is what my eyes see it relaxes me.
How much more for the one who chooses to focus on that Sovereign, Omnipotent Presence and truly realize He’s there? Not only is He there but He is ready to be our help. “The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles,” Psalm 34:17. Deliverance is there. Help is here. God loves a “can do” attitude, but not a “can do it without Him” attitude. Especially, since He loves us so much as to be the offering for our much needed help. I have to receive of His help daily. Zeal, and even talent, will only get you so far. I can’t be so high and mighty to think that I can do even the basic things without His help. So, today I want to receive God’s help. What about you?
“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,” 2 Timothy 2:3, NKJV
Over the last few years I have become extremely sensitive to the plights of our military servicemen and women and their families, being that we became one also. We had one of our own deployed in another country far away. It was an experience like no other.
Nothing prepares you for the sadness that comes when they depart. The heart unexpectedly wrestles with negative thoughts while they are away and sometimes the hopelessness of not being able to help overshadows you when you hear of their hurts and the trials they face.
It takes a lot to be a good soldier! Do you have the makings of it? Let’s find out.
From the first moment one arrives at basic training, Paul’s truth to Timothy becomes a reality: for one to be a good soldier you have to “endure hardship,” 2 Timothy 2:3, NKJV. From that very day, one is conditioned to withstand the fight. Bodies, hearts and minds are tested for staying power. They are trained to defend and protect. That means the task is not easy. One has to be able to endure some stuff that the regular, every day Joe can’t. People that are weak won’t last long at all.
God’s army is no different. It’s not for the faint of heart. We are in a spiritual battle and the gospel needs defending and protecting. Knowing beforehand of the possible struggles ahead can dress one with readiness of mind. It can prepare them for the fight through trials and tribulations. Paul had been urgent for Timothy to know ahead of time that there will be times of resistance, but the need to press is even greater.
Endurance is key for a soldier. Learning how to walk through the muck and the mire of this world takes an exertion of strength. But, the only way to get stronger is to keep pushing through, building up the necessary muscles that it will take to see this to the point of victory.
Secondly, Paul tells Timothy, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life . . .” (2 Timothy 2:4a, NKJV). It detracts the mind from the mission. To be in God’s army you have to be focused. Circumstances will always arise. Situations will always try to push themselves to the forefront of everything, but one has to remain focused and centered on the task at hand.
God has gifted each of us with special things to do for His kingdom, but the distractions of this life often invade and cloud our focus. It makes it hard for us to zero in on what God wants us to do – or, on what kind of soldier He wants us to be. A good soldier has learned how to take stock of everything going on around them, prioritize them, and keep straight on the course where God is leading, working in the gifts that God wants him to.
When we do that, 2 Timothy 2:4b, tells us it pleases, “him who enlisted him as a soldier,” (NKJV). The right man for the right job! God sees the potential that each of us have. Unfortunately, many of us don’t see it the way God sees it. Because of that, we are not so inclined to press through the fight and work in those gifts He has given us.
It “pleases” God when He sees us operating in and fulfilling what He has purposed us to do. He knows we can do it. Now, we need to grab a hold of those marching orders and press forward until the mission is complete. Make Him proud that you have been “enlisted!”
Switching themes to athletic competitions, in order to be one that can make it, 2 Timothy 2:5 tells us that everything has to be done “according to the rules,” (NKJV). Whether in competitions, or military, or with God, we don’t enlist on our own terms. Protocol has to be followed. Once you are enlisted, your way is out the door. The way you used to walk, the way you used to talk, the way you used to stand, the way you used to eat, etc. All of that is done away with. When you joined up, you joined up and took an oath to follow the rules.
We will never see the victory at the end of the battle trying to do this our way. It’s God’s way or no way! “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” (Isaiah 55:8, NKJV). God said that Himself! If you don’t compete according to the rules, you can run all you want, but you still will not get the prize.
Finally, switching themes once again, 2 Timothy 2:6, lets us know that it all pays off after a while. “The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops,” (NKJV). Yes, it is hard! Yes, sometimes you will feel like quitting! But, don’t! Hang on in there and the reward will be yours!
Do you have what it takes to see this through until the end? Recheck that list and note if there are any areas that need improvement. Start today to be even more determined to be a “Good Soldier.” Endurance + Focus + Pleasing God + Following the Rules = a Reward for all your hard work. Are you up to the challenge today? Do you have what it takes to make it?