JOSHUA --- The Book of Conquest Crossing Your JordanMoses my servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all these people to the land which I am giving to them. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you. (Joshua 1:2-3)
Joshua was the young leader who succeeded Moses in leading the Israelites. Moses had led them from Egypt, through the Red Sea and through the wilderness. After the official mourning period for Moses was over, Joshua was still saddened because it was up to him to lead two and a half million rebellious, complaining, obstinate people into the Promised Land. In order to get to the Promised Land, they had to cross the Jordan River and go into enemy territory.
Like the Israelites, the Jordan is anything that stands between us and our Promised Land. It is a barrier, a separation, or an obstacle that keeps us away from our blessings from God. It could be a person or thing that stands in our way. God gave Joshua instructions that we might use to cross our own Jordan River.
First, God told Joshua to "Arise." Get up from where you are. Nothing can be accomplished when you are down. Secondly, "Go." Pray about your situation, but then get up and get going. Praying about a job is not getting you one unless you get up and participate in your own blessings. Thirdly, Joshua was holding up the inheritance of all those people. When God gives you a task to do, it is not just for you. When you refuse to do what God has ordained you to do, you hold up the blessings of others who would benefit from YOUR doing what God has asked YOU to do.
God goes on to tell Joshua that every place that the SOLE of his foot will tread will be given to him and the Israelites. Using the SOLE of your foot means not "tiptoeing through the tulips," but walking on the land as if you own it. It means being bold and courageous believing what God has said. God told Joshua to go on into enemy territory and take the land because God had promised it as an inheritance and God would be with him wherever he goes.
God Never Leaves Us
And the Lord, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed." (Deuteronomy 31: 6, 8, Joshua 1:5).
Why is it written so many times in the Bible that God will never leave us? God wants us to know that He is in charge of EVERY situation. When we are being blessed, we tend to believe God is with us more than when tragedy happens or when we are going through a crisis. God NEVER leaves us. We just think that He does. God NEVER forsakes us. We just think that He does. NEVER means NEVER . . . NOT EVER!
It is not easy to believe God is still in control when we hear about floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and natural disasters. It is not easy to believe God is still in charge when loved ones are sick and death occurs. It is not easy to believe God is still with us when we encounter trouble on every side.
It may be hard to believe, but God does not leave us at those times. God is omnipresence and is always with us. If you are going through anything today that is causing you to doubt God's presence, know that "God Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5)
The Courage Factor
Be strong and very courageous. (Joshua 1:7)
Some people profess to be courageous, but are they? Some people say they are courageous until trouble comes, and then they recoil. How courageous are you? How do you know you are courageous? What do courageous people do?
1. Courageous people risk their lives to do what is right. Shiphrah and Puah were midwives who were ordered to kill the Hebrews boys. They were committed to helping babies be born, not to killing them. They were courageous. (Exodus 1:17)
2. Courageous people risk their reputations to do what is right. Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy and honored member of the Jewish Council. He was a secret disciple of Jesus. He risked his reputation when he asked for the body of Jesus so he could give Him a proper burial. (John 19:38)
3. Courageous people represent Christ in all they do. Like the apostles, courageous people represent Christ not just in some things but in all things.
If you are lacking courage, know that courage grows as you trust God. Courage grows from being in the presence of God. To increase your courage, know that the ultimate victory has already been won. We can claim the peace of God and be courageous in the most troublesome times.
Reading for Information and Formation
Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8 NIV)
It has been said that people read the Bible either for information or formation. It is best to read if for both INFORMATION and FORMATION. What's the difference?
When you read the Bible for information, you read a block of material much like you read the newspaper. You get answers to the questions: What? Where? When? Why? and How? Usually you read the Bible quickly, and it does not change you because you are reading for information rather than formation.
When you read the Bible for formation, you seek to be changed by what you read. You do not read merely to gather information. You read expecting to hear from God. You read slowly, mediating on what you read. You might even read passages aloud to hear the word of God as well as see the word of God. It is good to read one passage several times so that God's word might seep deep down within your spirit.
Change your reading habit. Begin to read the Bible for formation. Read to be changed. Do so by reading slowly, reading aloud, reading the same passage several times, reading with an openness to God and meditating on what you have read.
Read God's Diary
This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you should meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. (Joshua 1:8)
The Bible is God's diary because it contains God's most intimate thoughts. When you open the pages of God's diary you find out what is on God's mind and what is in God's heart.
The divine heart of God is revealed through the study of God's word. You will find out what grieves God and what pleases God. God illustrates the way of life through God's commandments and through the examples of Jesus.
Read your Bible today and everyday in order for God's mind to become your mind.
The Gospel of Good Success
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
Yes, we are promised good success. God wants us to be successful. He wants us to be prosperous. Joshua had just succeeded Moses as the leader of two-and-a-half million people. If anyone needed a formula for success, Joshua did. Joshua needed advice, and he needed sound advice fast. God assured Joshua of His presence and gave him the ultimate key to success: meditating upon God's Word.
Meditation is like medicine. They have the same root, "medi." To meditate means to mull over, to think about intensely, to ponder daily. Reading and meditating on God's Word will strengthen us and give us insight to do all that is written in it. When we read, meditate, and do God's Word, like Joshua, God promises that He will make our way prosperous, and then we will have good success. Take your medicine today: READ GOD'S WORD!
How to Possess Your Land
So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: "Go through the camp and tell the people, "Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own." (Joshua 1:10-11)
From this brief passage, one can glean the method of possessing the land God is giving. The order comes from Joshua, the leader. That should be indication enough that it is sound advice from God. When leaders hear from God, they then pass the instruction on to the people. This leader tells the officers to go through the camp and tell the people. The instructions comes from the top to the bottom. Whenever orders come from the bottom to the top, success is less likely to happen.
You must be prepared to carry out any monumental task. You must gather all your supplies and be ready to move at a designated time. Notice, the time element was not vague. The goal was to move out in three days. Set your own realistic time span. Don't just say something will happen whenever. Notice the steps are further explained when Joshua says: "You will cross the Jordan here and go in and take possession of the land." You must start from where you are to get to where you intend to go. Have a definite starting point. Have a definite destination in mind. And finally, always remember the source of your land . . . "it is the land the Lord your God is giving you for your very own."
So, what's stopping you from going in and possessing the land God is giving you? ("Land" is a metaphor in this message for whatever your desire is . . . a promotion, a new career, a new relationship, a financial opportunity, starting a new ministry, etc.).
Getting Ready Is The Hardest Part
And Joshua said unto the people, "Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you." (Joshua 3:5)
How many times have you wanted to do something, but you didn't feel like getting ready to do it? You explore the possibilities in your mind, but you conclude that you just don't feel like getting ready or preparing yourself to do a thing. That's the trick of the enemy filling your mind with illogical reasons why you can't or shouldn't do it. In a case like that, read Philippians 4:8 that says, "Whatsoever things are true...think on these things."
Getting ready to do something is the hardest part, but it is the first step. Unless you get ready, you will never start. Even though getting ready is the hardest part, make up your mind to do it. Then everything else will fall into place. Once you have made a decision, you will be amazed at how God will send the right people and the right resources into your path to help you.
Get ready even though you have to push through at first. It is much like trying to make a decision to get ready to go to an event. You dread the getting ready stage, but once you get there you enjoy yourself tremendously and you are totally blessed. This principle works with almost everything. Get past the getting ready stage; go forth and enjoy material and spiritual blessings. The Lord will send wonders among you, but YOU have to get ready in order to receive them.
In the words of T. D. Jakes, "Get Ready! Get Ready! Get Ready!"
What To Do Instead of Making New Year's Resolutions
And the Lord said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. (Joshua 3:7)
We make them. We break them. Let this year be different. Don't make New Year's resolutions. Instead, do these three things based on the advice God gave Joshua in the early chapters of the book bearing his name.
Joshua was embarking upon something new and different. Joshua had the task of crossing the Jordan and leading God's people into the promised land. He needed all the help he could get and God gave it to him. In the meantime, God commanded Joshua to do three things: Plan, Prepare and Possess.
Whatever your intentions for the rest of your life, you MUST PLAN based on the word of God. "Get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give you. (Joshua l:2)
If you intend to enter into your promised land, you MUST PREPARE in advance. Go through the camp and tell the people, "Get your supplies ready." (Joshua 1:11) Finally, don't look at hindrances as giants and yourselves as grasshoppers. You MUST POSSESS the land. "I will give you every place where you set your foot." (Joshua 1:3)
Resolutions don't work. God's word does! Therefore, you must PLAN. You must PREPARE. You must POSSESS.
How Does God Fit Into Your Schedule?
Then Joshua summoned all the people and told them, "Come and listen to what the Lord your God has said." (Joshua 3:9)
Even in our daily schedules, giving attention to God ought to be our first priority. Just before crossing over into the promised land, Joshua gathered the people to hear the words of the Lord. Their excitement was high. No doubt they wanted to rush on, but Joshua made them stop and listen. We live in a fast-paced society where everyone rushes just to keep up with everyone else who is rushing. It is so easy to get caught up in daily tasks and become too busy to stop and listen to what God is saying. Before making your daily schedule, do you leave time for God?
Do you take time to focus on what God wants for the day? Knowing what God has said before you rush into the day may help us all to avoid foolish mistakes. Stop right now and listen to what the Lord your God is saying to you.
No More Manna
Now the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year" (Joshua 5:12). And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35).
Manna is the bread from heaven that the Israelites ate during their 40 years in the wilderness. God provided food for them as long as they couldn't do it for themselves. As soon as they entered the Promised Land, the Israelites ate from the produce of the ground and the manna ceased. The manna ceased for the Israelites when they left the wilderness behind. This marked the end of an era. Being in the Promised Land marked the beginning of a new era. A transition had taken place. We, too, have entered into a new era, a new year, a new century. We, too, should give up our wilderness mentality and go forth realizing that Jesus is our true bread from heaven. With Jesus on our side, we will always be in the Promised Land and not the wilderness.
Our forefathers ate manna in the wilderness for their temporary physical needs. We can feast on Jesus, the Bread of Life for our permanent spiritual needs. Remember, in 2000, there is "no more manna." Jesus is our Bread of Life!
But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan took some of them. So the Lord's anger burned against Israel. (Joshua 7:1)
Joshua and the Israelites won the battle at Jericho. But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things. So the Lord's anger burned against Israel. Since the Israelites had won the big battle at Jericho, they were confident and did not seek God for the battle at Ai because it was such a small city. In fact, it was so small that Joshua commanded "not all the people will have to go up against Ai."
The Israelites lost the battle against the small city of Ai for two main reasons: (1) They assumed that if they could defeat the big city, it would have been a slam-dunk to defeat the small city; therefore, they did not seek God. (2) Achan disobeyed God by stealing some of the devoted things. God told Joshua, "I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction" (Joshua 7:12). When it was discovered that Achan had stolen a beautiful robe, two hundred shekel of silver and a wedge of gold and hid them in his tent, he and his family, his cattle, donkeys, and sheep were stoned. Achan, his family and all his possessions were burned. Over Achan they heaped a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. The Israelites went up against Ai again. This time the Lord delivered Ai into their hands.
See what sin will do! Is sin hidden in your tent? Are you missing the blessings God wants to bestow upon you because of hidden or unconfessed sin? God will withhold His blessings until the sin is discovered and gotten rid of?
Losing the Battle at Ai
So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted and became like water. (Joshua 7:4-5)
After the Israelites had won the big battle at Jericho, they lost the battle to the small city of Ai. Why? Two reasons. When they fought the battle of Jericho, God's anger burned against Israel because they were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things. Achan took some of the sacred things of the Lord for his personal gain. The Lord did not turn from his fierce angry until the sacred items were found underneath Achan's tent. Achan was stoned to death along with his family, and all his animals. Is sin in your camp that keeps you from winning your battles?
The second reason the small city of Ai won over the Israelites is because after defeating Jericho, the Israelites became presumptuous and didn't seek God's guidance. They figured that if they could win over a bigger place, surely they could defeat a smaller city. They were wrong. However, they did repent to a forgiving God.
"Then the Lord said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hand the king of Ai, his people and his land" (Joshua 8:1). Because the Lord was on their side, they won the battle this time.
What do we learn from Ai? No matter how big or small the battle, unless God is in it, we will lose. Let's stop losing our own personal battles at Ai or at any other place. Let's include God in any battle we have to fight.
Sin in the Camp
The Lord said to Joshua, "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions." (Joshua 7:10-11)
Joshua and the Israelites enjoyed a great victory over the big city of Jericho. When they came to the next small town of Ai, they thought it could be easily captured. They were terribly mistaken. The very small town of Ai defeated the Israelites. Joshua fell on his face before the Lord, bewailing this defeat. God gave Joshua the reason they had been defeated. There was sin in the camp.
The reason Israel failed to capture Ai is the same reason many nations, churches, and people fail to be successful in God's sight. Sin on the outside doesn't hinder our success for Christ. It's sin on the inside that causes us to fail.
If you are not moving onward and upward, stop blaming the economy, stop blaming your boss, stop blaming your pastor, stop blaming your teacher, stop blaming the weather. Perhaps you are unsuccessful because there is sin in the camp . . . sin in your camp.
Is there an overlooked sin you have neglected to repent for? Is there someone you have refused to forgive? Is there something you are doing that goes against the word of God hoping God won't notice? If so, eliminate the sin and put yourself in the position to be successful in the sight of God.
Get rid of the sin in your camp
What's In Your Midst?
There is an accursed thing in the midst of you, O Israel: you cannot stand before thine enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you. . . So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in Achan's tent, and the silver under it. (Joshua 7:13b, 21b)
After Joshua won the big battle at Jericho, the city became cursed. God warned them not to take any of the accursed objects from Jericho. Somebody did. And because of this Joshua and his men lost the next battle at the little city called Ai. They lost for two reasons. (1) They become overly confident for winning the big battle that they did not consult God for going against the little city. (2) God forbade them to take any accursed objects from Jericho. Achan did.
It was discovered under his tent. It had become his foundation. He was walking over it every day. Curses were seeping up into his living quarters defiling his marriage, defiling the relationship with his children, making him at odds with his army, and it certainly affected his relationship with God. Since there was an accursed object in his midst, God destroyed the accursed object, Achan, his entire household, his oxen and sheep and everything associated with him and his tent. To this day there is a heap of stones called the Valley of Achor where Achan and his possessions were stoned.
It angers God for people to have accursed objects in their midst. Perhaps it is time to take inventory of what is in your midst, and then do some spring cleaning.
God Can Stretch the Day
The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. (Joshua 10:13)
It doesn't happen very often, but on rare occasions God does redeem the time for His work to be performed. Usually people complain that they do not have enough time to do what they need to do. Mainly, they do not use their time wisely. Therefore, it appears as though time just slips away. When one is a good steward over his time, God will redeem it. In other words, when you think you have so much to do in a short period of time, God will "stretch the day" to give you extra time to complete all those things you need to do especially when you are working for the kingdom of God.
In the above scripture, Joshua needed to fight the battle while it was day. Night time was approaching and Joshua prayed to God for the sun to stand still to give him extra time to avenge the nation of its enemies. God answered Joshua's prayer by allowing the sun to stand still so it could be daytime longer. God stretched the day.
Can you remember a time when you were doing something for God and you were able to complete it all because God "stretched the day"?
Forty-Five Years of Waiting
Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. (Joshua 14:10)
The above words are the words of Caleb explaining that God had made him a promise and God had kept him alive for forty-five years since the time of the promise. Caleb was getting his inheritance forty-five years after it was promised. That should be good news for us. No matter how long it takes, God WILL fulfill the promises He has made to us.
Some of us become impatient after a few days of waiting. Others are able to hold out for a few years, but how many people do you know could wait forty-five years for something to happen? How could Caleb do it so comfortably? Caleb says in his own words, "But my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt with fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly." It was on the day that Moses swore to Caleb, "The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. (Joshua 14:8-10)
Can you wait forty-five years for something? Caleb waited for his inheritance because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly. What God did for Caleb, God will do for us when we do for God what Caleb did. What did Caleb do? He followed the Lord wholeheartedly. Let us do the same!
The Caleb Syndrome
As yet I am as strong this day; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day. (Joshua 14:11-12)
Caleb and Joshua were the only two original Israelites who survived the wilderness years and made it into the promised land. Caleb and Jacob brought back good reports when the other 10 spies brought back negative reports. Caleb was faithful to God and had seasoned courage. When the entire nation wanted to quit and turn back, Caleb said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it" (Numbers 13:30). If you want to be like Caleb, you have to be faithful to God, see the good in every situation, be a risk taker and press on without procrastinating.
There are numerous other attributes we can learn from Caleb. Caleb was in as excellent shape both physically and spiritually at age 85 as he was at age 40. Convinced of that, Caleb said, "Now give me this mountain!" (Joshua 14:12). Hebron was given to Caleb as a divine inheritance. This was done because Caleb never wavered. He believed the promises of God, and he acted on those promises.
Do you need to be positive? Do you need to be a risk taker? Do you need to stop procrastinating? Then, adopt the Caleb syndrome and believe with God's help, you can "TAKE THAT MOUNTAIN!"
What Do You Want?
Caleb asked his daughter, "What do you want?" She answered, "Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the South, give me also springs of water." So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs. (Joshua 15:18-19)
Caleb's daughter was specific in answering her father's question. Since he had already given her land, she asked for exactly what she wanted. She wanted water to keep the land fertile so it would be good soil for things to grow.
Hannah desperately wanted a son. She made that specific verbal request to God. She just didn't ask for a child. She requested a son. God did answer her prayer and Samuel was born (1 Samuel 1). Before healing people, Jesus asked them, "What do you want?" or "What would you have me do?" Jesus knew, but he wanted the people to confess their needs with their mouths. Jesus wanted to hear the specific verbal request.
We pray, "Bless me!" But how? What do you want? How do you want to be blessed? We pray for others to be blessed. But in what way? We pray that God will give us blessings. But "What do you want?" There is a song that says, "Jesus is on the mainline, tell Him what you want." Yes, Jesus knows what we want, but He wants to hear us ask for it. Let's stop beating around the bush with God. Be specific like Hannah when she asked for a son (not just a child). Be specific like the blind man. He told Jesus he wanted his sight restored. Be specific like Caleb's daughter. Make your request known to God.
Roses Come With Thorns
Within three days you shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God is giving you for your own. (Joshua 1:11) And Joshua said to the Israelites, "How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?" (Joshua 18:3)
In Joshua Chapter 1, God made a promise to Joshua as well as giving him instructions. The promise was that God is giving land to the Israelites. The instruction was they had to go over the Jordan (a barrier) and possess it. A long time later in Chapter 18, the Israelites still had not possessed the land! Why hadn't they? What were they waiting for? What were they afraid of? They had the land, but they were afraid of the enemies on their land. So they were slack in owning it themselves. In other words, they had been given roses, but they didn't own them because they were afraid of the thorns.
Even though God had already given them the land, possessing it was a different story. Often we miss out on the roses because we are afraid of the thorns. We are afraid of a little pinch or nick or scratch. We see the beauty in roses; yet we let the little ugly thorn keep us from possessing the rose. We prefer to pass up what has already been given to us because of little inconveniences.
When we get to heaven and our live story is played back to us, we will see a whole warehouse full of things that were ours that we NEVER possessed. The reason: They came with thorns.
Do Not Delay
So Joshua said to the Israelites: "How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?" (Joshua 18:3)
Joshua asked why some of the tribes were putting off the job of possessing the land that had already being given them. The only thing they had to do was to go in and possess it; to claim it as their own. The Israelites delayed. They tarried. They procrastinated. Often we delay doing jobs that seem large, difficult, boring, or disagreeable. To continue putting them off shows lack of discipline, poor stewardship of time, and in most cases disobedience to God. Remember this when you are tempted to procrastinate.
Procrastination might be the cause of many of our failures. Every day has twenty-four hours filled with opportunities to grow, develop, serve and be productive. Yet is so easy to waste time, letting life slip right through our fingers. Look at time as a gift from God and seize your opportunities to live for Him. Stop putting off what He has clearly revealed to you to do.
Do not delay!
Is Procrastination A Sin?
Then Joshua asked them, "How long are you going to wait before clearing out the people living in the land which the Lord your God has given to you?" (Joshua 18:3)
In the above scripture, Joshua asked why some of the tribes were "putting off" the job of possesssing the land. Often we delay doing jobs that seem large, difficult, boring or disagreeable. But to continue "putting them off" shows a lack of discipline, poor stewardship of time and in some cases disobedience to God. That's when procrastination becomes sin.
When you are tempted to procrastinate, remember it is better to bring closure to the job than to have it hanging over your head that you have not done it. There is much truth and liberation in not "putting off for tomorrow what you can do today."
Rise up and finish those projects you started months ago. If they were worth starting, they are worth finishing. Call your accountant and schedule an appointment to file your taxes before April 15. Stop "putting off" what God has told you to do. Delayed obedience is DISOBEDIENCE. And disobedience is SIN.
Your Main Mission In Life
For a long time now--to this very day--you have not deserted your brothers but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you. (Joshua 22:3)
Did you know you were born for a main mission? No one came into the world without a mission. It must hurt God when we don't fulfill our mission!
Others than not pleasing God, two important concepts exist concerning everybody's mission.
1. You might be keeping others from fulfilling their mission. Every mission is connected to somebody else's mission. Therefore, if you postpone, delay or cancel your own mission, you cause others to postpone, delay or cancel their mission. They can't move forward because you have stopped. So, who are you holding up? Who are you keeping from moving forward?
2. Someone might be keeping you from fulfilling your mission. What have you seen or heard from others that caused you to get off course? It might have been a negative statement or an evil deed that caused you to rethink God's plan for you.
If you are not working toward your main mission in life, God is not pleased and you are keeping others from fulfilling their mission. If you are stuck and not doing anything concerning your mission, then somebody ahead of you have held up the line. In that case, think back to the time you lost interest and pinpoint the person or persons who caused you to lose focus. You don't have the power to get them moving again, but you can rewrite the script. When you do that, not only will you be able to move again but also the entire line will begin moving; including the person who held up the line initially.
Don't Worry, Worship!
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34) So the people said to Joshua, "We will worship the Lord our God and obey Him." (Joshua 23:24)
Bobby McFerrin sang the hit song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Everybody sang it believing that if they sang the song, they would instantly be happy. Saying something and actually doing it are two different things. However, affirming it is a very good start.
The Bible tells us not to worry. Instead, the Bible tells us to worship. So let's worship our way out of worry. How does that work? We cannot worship God and worry at the same time. When we worship, we focus on God and not on ourselves. During the time we are worshiping, worry is the furthest thing from our mind. Our mind is on the One who is worthy. Our mind is on the One who can and will bring us up out of the valley of despair and plant our feet on solid ground. When we worship, we are in the presence of God. When we worry, we are in the presence of the evil one who wants to keep us there.
Got worries? Worship your way out of what's worrying you. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
God's Word or Rush Limbaugh?
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
Would you choose listening to a three-hour radio broadcast by Rush Limbaugh everyday or studying God's word? If you were on your death bed and could either study God's word or listen to Rush Limbaugh, which would you choose? When you need to get a breakthrough, who are you going to call? God or Limbaugh?
Most of us would say we would choose God and His word. But everyone would not make that choice. How sad that this is the case with some Christians who put everything above studying and applying God's word. When we come face to face with God, do you think He is going to ask if we listened to Rush Limbaugh everyday or did we read His word?
Perhaps it is not Rush Limbaugh that you are choosing over God's word. It could be soap operas, sports, exercise classes, three or four part-time jobs, other people, other priorities, etc. Remember this: "Heaven and earth shall pass away (including the Limbaughs in your life) but God's word shall not pass away." (Mark 13:31)
A Hole in the Wall Assignment
The people said to Joshua, "The Lord our God we will serve, and him we will obey." (Joshua 24:24)
One of my favorite television and radio preachers is Dr. Charles Stanley, a Southern Baptist minister who preaches and teaches the Word of God without compromise or fanfare. Recently I heard Dr. Stanley tell a story about a conversation he had as a youngster with his grandfather who also was a preacher. The young Stanley was talking to his grandfather about spiritual things. The older preacher told his grandson that if God told him to run into a brick wall he should head straight for the wall. By the time he gets there God would have made a hole in the wall.
Sometimes God gives me "hole in the wall" assignments. He tells me to do things that seem utterly impossible to do. When I know I have truly heard from God, I head straight for the brick wall. Guess what? By the time I get to the wall, there is a custom-made hole just for me.
Welcome your "hole in the wall" assignments from God. God is true to His word, and He will make "a way of escape." (1 Corinthians 10:13)