15 “If you are so numerous,” Joshua answered, “and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites.” Joshua 17:15 NIV
When I read the book of Joshua, it becomes clear that there is a time for all things. It’s key to be in God’s timing. Throughout the book of Joshua there are tribes that readily took their lands and inheritance and those that did not. There were those that drove current inhabitants completely out of their land to take full ownership and those that learned to live with them.
God had just brought incredible victories to them while Joshua diligently sought the Lord’s counsel and followed it to the letter. Not everyone had the same heart to follow God’s direction to the letter. Why? I find it hard to believe….and then I realize the Israelites were more like me that I thought.
They were not perfect. God loved them anyway. They made God angry sometimes. God loved them anyway. They forgot about God. God loved them anyway. They fell back into worldly patterns. God loved them anyway. They faced consequences for their actions. God loved them anyway…
Just like He loves me.
Father, make me sensitive to Your timing in all things. Align my heart so that I walk in Your timing and instruction according to Your will. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“Explore me, O God, and know the real me. Dig deeply and discover who I am. Put me to the test and watch how I handle the strain. Psalm 139:23 The Voice
This is a cry for intimacy. When we share intimate space with someone, we get to know the good, the bad and the ugly (and of course there is a preponderance of beauty as well!). The bottom line is there can be no secrets. Nothing can be hidden. There is no room for it.
I love The Voice version because you can hear the pain in this cry “Dig deeply…Put me to the test…watch how I handle the strain.” So when this happens, we get at the truth of the matter. So here is what was uncovered for me: anxiety, doubt, worry, fear of man, unhealthy connection to people, performance, rejection and fear.
This made me so angry! It was a list I was familiar with. I was so tired of the same list popping up time and time again. After a growl, I asked the Lord to deliver me. I was done with it. I prayed in the Spirit for thirty minutes because I didn’t trust my own heart to get at the ugly stuff that seemed to be hanging around. There was a shift! My heart was lighter. My mind was clearer. I had more energy. It was amazing. I’ve heard testimonies and sermons about praying in the Spirit but this application was even more validating and faith building. Cool. God gives us all the instructions and the tools. We just have to use them.
Lord, thank you for every piece of instruction and tool You have provided. I pray i exercise them all to the fullest!
“28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
I am learning that God does not want us to walk in fear. He wants us to have fun and enjoy life! It was not His intention for us to be hampered or burdened by putting too much stock in the things of this world. He loves to watch us operate in our gifts and talents. That’s how he made us!
I have had concerns about old patterns at times. Sometimes operating in a new way feels unfamiliar and awkward. I can’t build new patterns without practice. So, I look at it as exercise. I am simply practicing my faith in a new environment. I have to trust God. Let go of myself and any self-consciousness. I have to let go of perfection. I know that He would rather I take a step and fall, trusting in Him, than stand in a corner in fear.
Father, give me the boldness, confidence, courage and wisdom to continually take another step closer to You.
“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4 NIV
When I looked at this verse today I saw a few things I didn’t see before:
God goes with us to fight. This means:
We have to show up for the fight.
He goes with us.
This gave me pause to think about how to become ready for a fight. It requires faith. We have to go into battle with a victory mindset – meaning we have an expectation of success and/or a triumph over an enemy. In order to have that expectation we cannot allow doubt or unbelief to go with us into battle. We have to make sure they are not taking up any real estate in our minds. Doubt and unbelief create internal battles that distract us from the battlefield.
God goes with us against our enemies.
So, who are our enemies? Well, Galatians 5:19-21 has a pretty good list: corrupt sexual relationships, impurity, unbridled relationships, impurity, unbridled lust, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, arguing, jealousy, anger, selfishness, contentiousness, division, envy of others’ good fortune, drunkenness, and drunken revelry. This is a war against our flesh. Satan is a spiritual enemy that uses these things of the flesh in combat.
God gives us victory. We do not fight like the world does. God has given us tools to fight with:
We have divine power to demolish strongholds
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God
Make every thought obedient to Christ
Father, thank you for going with me to fight for me against my enemies to give me victory.
“He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,” Proverbs 2:7 NIV
There have been times in ministry that I knew something was off. I knew that it was time to pull back and sit with God. Refocus. Recalibrate. Restore, Refresh. Renew. During those times the outpouring of God’s love has been immense. Truly an incredible comfort. I love how He reads my heart. He knows just how to touch it for healing, restoration, and transformation. What a Mighty God!
As I was meditating on this scripture during one of those respites, I noticed that my prayers had become weak. I was not coming directly to God with my requests. They had become passive. As I started to visualize Him as my shield with a face set like flint in pursuit of victory on my behalf, it made me more bold. My prayer shifted. I began to ask for what I wanted very specifically:
Father give me Your eyes to see all things. Give me Your ears to hear. And give me Your heart to love in all things so that I may be a demonstration of Your love and glory on this earth. Father You promise me that You hold victory in store for the upright and that You are a shield for the blameless. I claim that promise. I declare and decree that promise in Jesus Name, Amen.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV
I went through a time in my life when I felt like I needed to fight for what was mine. I needed to vindicate wrongs that had been done. I sought out attorneys. I sought out relief through government policies. I wasted a lot of money, time and worry. I was trying to fight my own battle. It was only when I became quiet that I heard God say, “I have you.” It was quiet but firm. I dropped everything. Without spending another penny, it all worked out. I was not involved at all. Things resolved and I received the compensation I was so concerned about. All the clamoring did not add one cent. All it did was consume my bank account. Had I not finally stopped to be still, it could have gone on longer and cost more. When I finally stopped, all the other noise stopped too. Sometimes these things are distractions to take us off track of walking by faith. They erode our faith and entice us into the world’s system. As Christians, our ways are different. Our standards are different. God’s way is always the best way. Sometimes we have to be willing, quiet, patient and humble to receive His direction.
Lord, let me humbly submit to You each and every day so that I can walk in Your elegant and efficient ways.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV
Sometimes I forget who I am. I become discouraged. I get anxious. I start to worry. But God always reminds me that He is the Lord God Almighty! He encourages me. I have learned to know His voice by His encouraging tone. It becomes a guide. When things become confusing and I have that rushing sensation to do this or that, I pause. I stop doing the tasks that are working me into a frenzy. I simply pause and rest for a moment. In that moment, I check in with my heart. Is my heart in the right place? Why am I in such a frenzy? If I pull up a level, why is it so important? As I begin to sort through the busyness I can sometimes hear a still small voice that provides additional insight. It removes the fear. It removes the discouragement. It strengthens me and gives me courage to go forward in a different way.
Lord, thank you for reminding me who I am in You. Thank you for infusing me with Your strength that gives me courage to continue to move forward one step at a time with You!
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
I can’t help it. “Go Boldly” sends me into StarTrek references. As I walk in faith, there are days that I do feel like I am in uncharted territories. I really have to work at quieting my own voice so that I can hear God’s. Instead of rushing ahead I have to be quiet and wait. Sometimes that is a bold move. Sometimes being obedient is a bold move. Sometimes standing firm is a bold move. Sometimes letting go of all that you know that is familiar to you is a bold move. Sometimes loving and forgiving is a bold move. Boldness in faith takes on a different look and feel. It is not brash or self-serving. Regardless, it is still boldly going where I may not have gone before!
Father, keep me wrapped in righteousness and help me be bold as a lion. No holding anything back from you!
“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20 NIV
I have found that doubt and unbelief contribute to me being slow to act in obedience to God’s Word. It keeps me from moving forward. The more often doubt and unbelief weigh into my decisions, the more delays keep me from receiving my heart’s desires. It can be a vicious circle. The more delays, the more doubt and unbelief. It may start as a little thing. It can continue to grow and rob me of more and more of what God has for me. Sometimes others see it before I do. Their wisdom and counsel are a breath of fresh air. They give me new perspective to take back to the Lord in prayer.
Father, I repent. Help me be sure-footed and know that You are always with me. I am never alone! Keep me firmly rooted in Your Word as a discipline to my heart. Give me faith to move forward and believe for the best! Keep my heart humble and accepting of wise counsel.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
Moses told the children of Israel to be strong and courageous. Then he told Joshua to be strong and courageous. Then God Himself told Joshua many times to be strong and courageous throughout the battles that had to be fought as he led the children of Israel into the Promised Land.
Repetition is good. It helps move things from our mind into our heart. It develops neural networks that help us internalize principles and information. It transforms fact into habit. It builds faith. It builds strength. It builds courage.
When I was in college, I worked on a neuropsychology research project on a phenomenon known as “kindling.” The principle was that our neural pathways learn. As they process the same stimuli on multiple occasions, the neural pathways process the stimulus faster and more powerfully each time. Reaction times decrease and the reaction intensity increases. So think about it. Becoming stronger and more courageous each time you hear these words! That is powerful.