Courage to Follow God’s Instructions -Part 2

How many marriages do you think ended because a husband or a wife gave up too soon? They obeyed God, but not long enough.

How many Christians have not become all that God wanted them to be simply because they stopped trying? How many of us have failed to defeat our own “Jerichos” because we gave up?

How many lost people have not become Christians because their believer friends stopped praying for them, stopped looking for ways to share the gospel with them, stopped obeying the Great Commission too soon?

In his commentary on Joshua Dr. Alan Redpath suggests that “many people don’t see the answers to their prayers simply because they have stopped one round short in their conquest of their personal Jericho.” We may have been doing the right things but we simply stop doing them.  This leads to our second basic training point for following Christ.

  1. I must be persistent in obedience.

Careful reading of the text seems to indicate that Joshua did not tell the people how many times they were going to have to circle the city or even exactly what was going to happen at the end of their seven days’ marching. No, the people were given their instructions one day at a time. At the end of their assignment for that day, having encircled the walls, they were directed back to their camp, and nothing happened. They had obeyed Joshua, who had been obeying God. They had encircled the walls, but when they returned to camp, the walls were still standing, no one had surrendered, and the Jewish armies seemed to be no closer to the final conquest of Canaan than they had been the day before.

This is how it was at the end of the second day and the third and the fourth and the fifth and the sixth. This is what things looked like after the sixth lap on day seven. Absolutely nothing appeared to have changed. Jericho’s walls stood intact and its ramparts were still full of soldiers bristling with weapons.

It was only after the seventh lap on the seventh day and the shout that followed, that Jericho’s walls collapsed. The victory was won only after the people obeyed and continued to obey God.

We need to learn to practice this same strategy in our own struggles because there is no substitute for continued obedience to God. Even when we can’t see success we must obey and obey and obey and obey. Remember, the kind of faith that pleases God is an obedient faith, obedience in spite of the results.

We tried, we made a couple “laps” around its walls, but we weren’t persistent enough in our obedience. That old saying is true, quitters never win. And remember you’re not a failure until you quit so hang in there! To deal with the Jericho’s of life requires consistent and persistent obedience.

How many times do problems look impossible but really aren’t?

George Danzig was a senior at Stanford University during the Depression. All the seniors that year knew they’d be joining unemployment lines when their class graduated. There was a slim chance that the top person in the class might get a teaching job. George was not at the head of his class, but he hoped that if he were able to achieve a perfect score on the final exam, he might be given a job. He studied so hard for the exam that he arrived late to class. When he got to class, the others were already hard at work. He was embarrassed and just picked up his paper and slunk into his desk. He sat down and worked the eight problems on the test paper; then he started on the two written on the board. Try as he might, he couldn’t solve either of them.

He was devastated. Out of the ten problems, he had missed those two on the board for sure. But just as he was about to hand in the paper, he took a chance and asked the professor if he could have a couple of days to work on the two he had missed. He was surprised when his professor agreed. George rushed home and plunged into those equations with a vengeance. He spent hours and hours, but he could find the solution for only one of them. He never could solve the other. It was impossible. When he turned in his work, he knew he had lost all chance of a job. That was the darkest moment of his life.

The next morning a pounding on the door awakened George. It was his mathematics professor, very excited. “George! George!” he kept shouting, “You’ve made mathematics history!” George didn’t know what his professor was talking about so the professor explained. Before the exam, he had encouraged the class to keep trying in spite of setback and failure. “Don’t be discouraged,” he had counseled. “Remember, there are classic problems that no one can solve. Even Einstein was unable to unlock their secrets.” He then wrote two of those “unsolvable” problems on the blackboard. George had come to class late and missed those opening remarks.

He didn’t know the problems on the board were impossible to solve. He thought they were part of his exam and was determined that he could work them. And he solved one! Thanks to his persistence, he did the impossible. That very morning the professor made George Danzig his assistant. He taught at Stanford until his retirement.

Danzig’s persistence enabled him to get a job, it made it possible for him to win the battle of unemployment, and our dogged determination to obey God and keep on obeying God will help us deal with our own struggles.

Remember, as Eugene Peterson said, “Christian discipleship is a long obedience in the same direction.”   Hear God. Listen to His leading. And then obey Him and keep on doing so.

Here’s another test, can you continue to obey even if people are making fun of you?

I imagine that on the first day the people of Jericho would probably have been quiet watching to see what the huge encircling army would do. And can you picture how bizarre that sight would have been? Think of it: a silent attacking force of millions watched by silent defenders, waiting for something to happen that never did. I bet you could have cut the tension with a knife!

But I’m sure the defenders’ silence would not have lasted beyond the first day. Eventually they would have begun to mock the Jewish soldiers saying things like: “What do you think you’re doing, marching around our walls? What are you looking for, a way in? Do you think we’re so foolish as to have left a door open somewhere? Are you afraid to fight? Why don’t you climb up here? Come on, give it a shot! We’ll show you how a city should be defended. Cowards!”

I bet their taunts increased and became more vulgar as every day passed. Under such circumstances, it would have been difficult for anyone to keep silent! And, then what do you think the Hebrews were thinking about during their silent march as they ignored the jibes of the people of Jericho?  They didn’t have anything else to do but think, so what went through their minds?   Hopefully it was, “You just wait, you will see!”  “This obedience to God will pay off, if not today, someday!”

Can we be that certain? As we obey we know that some will taunt us, but we are on the right path!   This leads us to our final point, when victory comes we will celebrate.

  1. I will Celebrate at God’s Victory

God told Joshua that Jericho was already delivered into his hands—the enemy was already defeated! What confidence Joshua must have had as he went into battle! Christians also fight against a defeated enemy. Our enemy, Satan, has been defeated by Christ

Remember that we fight from victory, not just for victory. 

The follower of Christ stands in a position of guaranteed victory because Jesus Christ has already defeated every spiritual enemy (John 12:31). Jesus defeated Satan not only in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11), but also during His earthly ministry (12:22-29), on the cross (Col. 2:13-15), and in His resurrection and ascension (Eph. 1:19-23). As He intercedes for His people in heaven, He helps us mature and accomplish His will (Heb. 13:20-21); and “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)

This week in my study I learned that back then the Jews used two different kinds of trumpets. Some were made of silver and others were crafted out of Ram’s horns. The silver trumpets were used especially by the priests to signal the camp when something important was happening and the rams’ horns were used primarily for celebrations.

The priests didn’t use the silver trumpets in this event. They used their ram horns because Israel was not declaring war. There was no war. They were celebrating victory, God’s victory. We must remember this as we encounter obstacles in our attempt to live for God. We don’t fight for victory but from it because the battle is the Lord’s and He has already won.

Let’s put it this way. We should live not like victims but as victors because that’s what we are!

Darrell

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Courage to Follow God’s Instructions

Life is full of battles in one form or other.  Right now you are dealing with relational struggles, parental struggles, health struggles, marital struggles, career struggles-because life is full of battles.

And to be able to deal with all them, as any general worth his stars will tell you, strategy is everything.  No significant victory can be won without a well-planned military strategy. Strategy in military conflicts is so important that most nations have established military academies to train their officers how to lay strategic plans and carry out orders during military campaigns.

The strategy to conquer the city of Jericho was unique. It was unique in two ways: the strategy was laid out by God Himself, and the strategy was a seemingly foolish plan. The expositor John Huffman quotes one of the comedy routines that Bill Cosby, the comedian, follows in discussing the battle of Jericho. The routine is worth quoting to show the seemingly foolish strategy:

“Okay, Joshua, let me be sure that I’ve got this straight. You say that for six days we’ll walk around the city of Jericho carrying the ark of the covenant, saying absolutely nothing, with seven of our priests blowing the ram’s horn trumpets? Then on the seventh day we walk around seven times silently? Then all at once, when the trumpets start blowing, we all start shouting, and those double walls are going to fall down? Come on, Joshua, that doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.”

The military strategy laid out by the Lord actually did not make much sense. Nevertheless, Joshua believed God. He believed that God would perform a miracle and give victory over the great city of Jericho, give victory if he did one simple thing: obeyed God.

Victory over Jericho was to demonstrate one great truth for all of history: faith in God is the most powerful force in all the world. A person conquers and is victorious over all the enemies of life only if he believes and trusts God. Victory is achieved through faith. The walls of Jericho came tumbling down, collapsed because the Israelites believed God and trusted His Word.

The same is true of us, when facing a battle we can have a strategy that is our own or we can look to God for a strategy.  We can fight life’s battles God’s way or our way.  We can fight life’s battles with our strength or God’s strength.

Today we are focusing on the strategy that a general named Joshua used to conquer Jericho. the principles behind Joshua’s battle tactics in this particular conflict will help us in the struggles of life because there is indeed a sense in which we all face our own “Jerichos,” seemingly insurmountable trials and tribulations that often block our path.

Joshua had to deal with Jericho, he couldn’t just bypass it, because to do so would mean leaving a large military force at his rear, and that would be foolish strategy indeed. On the other hand, conquering Jericho was easier said than done because its walls were strong and high. Jericho had not one but two walls. The outer wall was six feet thick and the inner one was twelve feet thick. These double walls, combined with the position of the city, made it virtually impregnable.

How then could any general hope to conquer this fortress city? There were several options, several strategies, available to Joshua and I’m sure he would have heard them if, he had gathered his generals to seek their counsel:

For example someone would have probably suggested that he build siege ramps. This is what the Romans under General Silva did in order to get his soldiers up to the fortress on Masada and over its walls in order to attack Jewish zealots after the fall of Jerusalem.

Another general might have advised Joshua to just dig in, surround the city, and starve its defenders into submission. That was another common strategy to employ when dealing with a fortified city. You may remember that Jerusalem was besieged more than once.

But the Biblical record shows that Joshua did not adopt either of these strategies. In fact, he didn’t even seek them.  Joshua was in constant contact with his Commander-in-Chief-the One Who made the rocks out of which Jericho was built, as well as the mountain on which it stood. Joshua’s Counselor and Guide was-and still is-an infallible Strategist and Commander.

Joshua 6 records the continuing conversation that Joshua was having with “The Commander of the Lord’s Army,” from Chapter 5, which as we learned in the last post was the pre-incarnate Christ, or in theological terms, a Christophany.

1  Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.
2  Then the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.
3  March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.
4  Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.
5  When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.” Joshua 6:1-5 (NIV)

Now, if you were a soldier in the Hebrew army attending Joshua’s briefing and heard this plan of battle for the first time, what would you think? Wouldn’t you question your leader’s sanity? High, thick, fortified walls do not fall to the noise of tramping feet. Cities are not won by trumpets. Yet the Biblical record tells us this is exactly what happened. The people did not question Joshua’s sanity or his orders because they knew that they were God’s commands. And one thing they had learned in their 40-year-long desert boot camp, was to obey God.

So, each day for six days they all walked in silence around the watching city and on the seventh day they repeated this apparently futile exercise seven times. No one spoke, not even a whisper. The only noise was the sound of the rams’ horns blown by the priests. Then, on their seventh lap on the seventh day, when the city was entirely surrounded by the Jewish people, Joshua commanded saying, “Now! Shout! For the Lord has given you the city.”

And the people did shout. Verse 20 says, “When the trumpets sounded the people shouted, the wall collapsed; so every man charged straight in and took the city.”

Many people have questioned the accuracy of this battle as recorded in Joshua. They think this because they have had a hard time believing that marching and shouting and trumpet blowing could bring down massive double walls. But an article in U.S. News and World Report back in October of 1991 told of scientists who now confirm the Biblical record. Here’s a direct quote from the article:

“The city’s wall do appear to have collapsed suddenly and the blackened timbers and stones, as well as a layer of soot dating to 1400 B.C., all suggest that the city burned, as the Bible says it did. Archeologist Kathleen Kenyon also found bushels of grain on the site, .consistent with the Bible’s account of a springtime conquest so rapid that Jericho’s besieged populace had not exhausted their food.”

With such a superb confirmation of the biblical account, no wonder TIME magazine titled it’s article on the same discovery, “Score One For The Bible.” (March 5, 1990)

The New York Times also covered it with a title, Believer’s Score in Battle over the Battle of Jericho. 

So let’s be clear, Jericho was a real place, this biblical account is a real event.

There are important principles we need to remember when it comes to dealing with our own struggles. Think of these principles as basic training for any soldier of the Lord.

  1. I must obey even when it doesn’t make sense

In other words, as Warren Wiersbe puts it, in every battle of life we must devote ourselves to God completely. We need to embrace a mindset that says,

“I will always obey God. He is the Commander-in-chief of my life. This is His battle, not mine. My goal in life is to further His purposes not my own.”

In any struggle we must respond not by trying to “win, ” not by trying to “look right.” No, instead we must seek to respond in ways that further God’s kingdom.

How many things does God ask us to do that do not make sense?

I’m not sure why God blesses 90% of my income when I tithe more than 100% of my income when I keep it for myself.   90% with God’s blessing always goes farther!

I don’t understand why forgiving the person that hurt me (as God says) allows me to have peace instead of anger and bitterness.

I’m not sure why serving my wife Niki and laying down my life as God instructs makes for a better marriage.  I would think it would make me seem weak yet in God’s economy it really works.

I’ve found that God’s instructions may not always make sense but when I follow them they work.

Will you follow God’s instructions when they don’t make sense to you?

Darrell

In the next post we’ll look at the second basic training principle for followers of Christ.

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A Fresh Encounter with Jesus

Are you facing an overwhelming problem?  Throughout life there are times when we need a special experience with God. A deep sense of loneliness, discouragement, depression, emptiness, or purposelessness; some accident, disease, or death; some severe problem, difficulty, obstacle, or loss—many things—can create a desperate need for a special time with God. When a need strikes, our task is to get alone with God just as we will see Joshua do. God will meet us if we will just get alone and seek His face. God will help us and meet our need. He will give us His presence and power and guidance. God will be our helper in time of need.

Joshua was off alone surveying Jericho (Joshua 5:13-14). Obviously, he had walked some distance away from the camp, close enough to Jericho so that he could survey the land surrounding the great city. As with any military commander, he was sensing the strain of the upcoming battle, the pressure and tension, the stress and heaviness of the burden of war. He knew that war involved wounds and spilt blood, maiming and crippling, the loss of limbs and disfigurement, injuries and severe pain. He knew that war involved death and the loss of loved ones, terrible grief and suffering for wives, children, parents, and relatives. Obviously, he was sensing a desperate need to get alone with God, to seek His sustaining grace and strength. He needed a very, very special time alone with the Lord to pray and plan. While praying, note that his head was apparently bowed. When he looked up, he was face-to-face with a man who had a drawn sword.

Look at Joshua 5:13-15 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” 15 Then the Commander of the LORD’S army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

As Joshua was lifting his eyes and looking towards Jericho, the next great challenge they would face, he saw a MAN. No ordinary man. This was the “Commander of the Lord’s army,”  Joshua heard the same words that Moses heard back in Exodus 3:5 at the burning bush when God told Moses to remove his shoes for he was standing on holy ground.

In this situation, Joshua was looking upon the very face of Jesus Christ. This was, as theologians describe, a Christophany. This was an encounter with Christ to give His people the encouragement they need to carry on.

Jesus was the Burning Bush that was not consumed in Exodus 3:14, describing himself as the “I am” and Moses went from being a hired hand in hiding to the liberator of God’s people. Jesus confirms that He is the same “I am” in John 8:58

Jesus appeared to Abraham in Genesis 14:18-20 as a high priest named Melchizedek bringing bread and wine, a future symbol his body and blood.  He blessed him in his victory and pointed him to a new level of worship as Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.  Hebrews 7 confirms that this is Jesus.

Here in Joshua 5, he is described as “the commander of the Lord’s armies.”  The same description of Jesus found in Revelation 19, who is riding a white horse leading the armies of heaven.

Before this encounter Joshua must have been asking the question, What am I going to do now? I’m looking at this place called Jericho. This obstacle seems so big.  How are we going to overcome it? And so, God in all His wisdom, decides that Joshua needs another pep talk. Joshua needed a fresh encounter with Christ.

He wants to give us that encouragement that we need to carry on. He knows we’re asking questions of ourselves. Questions like How? Why? What Do I Do Now? He knows exactly what we’re going through, and He doesn’t want us to go through it alone.

God appeared to Joshua here to give him encouragement, to give him direction, to help him see how and why to carry on. God gave Joshua the comfort of knowing that God would deliver Jericho into their hands. That He would deliver them through the days ahead. And, God wants to do the same for us.

Joshua was standing in the presence of Christ. This was an opportunity to see what God had in store.

Jesus has a fresh encounter for you. He may not show up in a burning bush or in the middle of the road talking to us as he did for Moses and Joshua.   We probably won’t see an angelic, glorified Man standing before us. But we can have a Fresh Encounter all the same.

The kind of encounter that Jesus has for us is just as personal, just as powerful, just as meaningful as Moses and Joshua had.  In college when Christ was calling me to ministry I had several encounters with Jesus making it clear that I was supposed to go in that direction. Life changing decisions like whether to marry Niki, to become a pastor, to plant the church to add additional staff, additional locations, and taking new directions as a church all required that I surrender, seek Christ, fast, pray and have a fresh encounter with Jesus.

Christ desires for us to have a fresh encounter that can continue throughout the rest of our lives. God had a great plan in store for Joshua. He knew that Jericho would be conquered. He knew what the end result would be, and He needed Joshua to follow through. To encounter God, to experience His power, His encouragement, His presence. And then, Joshua would be ready for the task ahead.

In our lives, in our challenges, in our problems, we can be sure that God has a great plan in store for us. God knows what lies ahead for us. He knows the victories that we will experience. He knows what we will be able to accomplish in His power and in His presence.

We all stand in the face of these adversities and ask ourselves, “Why is this happening?” How will I get through this obstacle?”  God wants to begin to provide for us in a new way, a way that we’re not used to, a way that we couldn’t have imagined. A way that will meet every challenge, that will meet our every need.

He wants us to see Him in all of his glory and know that He will lead us, He will guide us. He will direct our steps. He wants us to see that God is not finished with us. He has great things in store for us, great victories in store, great days ahead.

We can have a fresh encounter with Jesus. He wants us to be moved by His presence and power. To take hold of His hand and allow Him to deliver us through any challenge we face.

If you are in a situation where you’re asking why? If you’re facing one of those life-changing trials, one of those valley experiences that knock every bit of the air out of you then you are ready.   Overwhelming problems help us be ready to pray and seek the face of Christ. Large obstacles help us be ready to obey what Jesus says.

In our next post we will see how to have courage to follow God’s instructions even when they do not make sense.

Darrell

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Courage to Accept My Leadership Role

You are a leader in some area and leadership is overwhelming.  Have you ever felt overwhelmed by what you have to do? As a parent I remember experiencing this feeling the first time I brought our son home from the hospital. I instantly loved the little guy with every molecule in my body, but as I considered the challenge of feeding, clothing, and parenting that child for the next 21 years, that staggering responsibility made me felt completely inadequate. I could not conceive of how I was going to find the parental wisdom and patience and energy and money get this all-important job done. And trying to take care of his newborn’s needs on 4 hours sleep a night only magnified this feeling.

Maybe there have been times when your job has made you feel overwhelmed. The constant work, the late hours, the business trips, the ever-increasing demands, all this combined to make you feel like you’re drowning.

Maybe you’ve felt overwhelmed by your finances. No matter how carefully you budget, the bills always threaten to overwhelm your income. And it seems like only a matter of time before you will begin to lose ground.

As a student you feel overwhelmed as you face final exams. That week-long pile of huge, make-it-or-break-it tests can feel like a tidal wave that towers over you. You don’t know how you are possibly going to cram enough information into your head and keep it there long enough to get the grade you need.

I could go on and on because life is indeed full of things that can make us feel overwhelmed-parenting, career, finances, difficult relationships, health issues, the list is almost endless. And if you can relate, then you can relate to a book of the Bible that deals with a man who I believe experienced this feeling in the incident that is recorded in today’s text.

His name is Joshua and we can learn from his example.

1  After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2  “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them…

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6  “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them…

7  Be strong and very courageous….. 9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1: 1-9 (NIV)

We all need a pep talk from time to time and God give Joshua one here.   Did you sense Joshua’s fear? In case you missed it let me point out that three-times God had to encourage him to, “Be strong and courageous.”  I think that at this moment Joshua is so overwhelmed that he feels like a frightened little boy. In fact, it seems to me that in verse 9 God speaks to him in Father-to-son terms and says, “Don’t be terrified Joshua; don’t be afraid; don’t be discouraged. All this may seem overwhelming but don’t worry, I’m going to be with you every step of the way.”

So, it’s clear that Joshua was feeling overwhelmed at this point in his life. He was afraid. Reminds me of a story I heard of about a sergeant in a parachute regiment. He was a seasoned jumper and one day he found himself sitting next to a lieutenant in the plane who was fresh from jump school. The Lieutenant looked a bit pale so as they approached their jump zone the sergeant leaned over and said, “Are you scared, sir?”

The lieutenant replied, “No just a bit apprehensive.” The sergeant asked, “, what’s the difference?”

And the lieutenant replied, “Apprehensive means I’m scared with a university education.”

Whichever word you want to use, Joshua was it.

When we face leadership challenges I believe deep down each of us asks three questions:

Why me?  What if I fail? Do I have what it takes?

I believe God gives the answers to each of these questions.

Why me?   I can have courage because God has called me.  The spouse you have, the kids you have, the job you have the place where you live, the relative you have all these have been given to you by God.  I believe that God brought me my wife Niki.  If I ask “why me?” the better question would be “why not me?”  Will I step up to love, serve and commit myself to Niki or do I want someone else to?  Do I want to parent my three children or do I want the state to?  Do I want to do my job or do I want someone else to?   You are on this planet at this moment to do what God placed you here to do, but God knew that you were to best person for the job he gave you.

“Moses is dead.  You are the leader Joshua.  I have called you.”

What if I fail?  Honestly, we will.  We are human, but to be as successful as we possibly can God will equip us.     I can have courage because God equips me.

We see that God equips Joshua with the word of God. How? The answer to these questions is in verse 8 where God says to Joshua,

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.”

In other words, Joshua’s strength for the task he faced would come from the written Word of God. He would get the power and the courage and the guidance necessary for dealing with the overwhelming responsibilities that faced him every morning by reading, studying, and believing its promises. The precepts and principles found in “The Book of Law” would give him the wisdom he needed to get this job done.

Now, of course Joshua didn’t have our Bible-most of it had not been written yet-but he did have the first five books of the Old Testament. Most Biblical scholars believe the entire five Books of Moses-Genesis through Deuteronomy-comprised this the “book of Law” that is referenced in verse 8. You see, during the years of his leadership, Moses had kept a written record of God’s words and acts. Deuteronomy 31:9 tells us he had committed this record to the care of the priests.

And please note it wasn’t enough for the priests to carry and guard this precious book. No, Joshua was to take time to read it daily and make it a part of his inner person by meditating on it. And to deal with our own times of fear we need to do the same thing.

What if you ignore God’s laws and decide to lie, steal and cheat? That’s a sure way to lose everything!  God’s law shows us the ways to be successful. If we follow God’s words we will be “prosperous and successful.”

But remember prosperity and success are not to be measured by the standards of the world.  Prosperity and success may not be riches, a fully funded 401k and keeping us with the Jones.  Here’s the questions to ask yourself, and if you can answer “yes” to these three questions then your will be successful in the eyes of God regardless of what the world says,

  1. Did I follow the word of God?
  2. Did I depend on the spirit of God? (Did I do it all in my own strength or did I pray for God’s help, strength and guidance?)
  3. Did I do it for the Glory of God? (Am I building my own kingdom for my selfish purposes or do I see myself as God’s servant building His Kingdom?)

The last question we often ask as leaders is, “Do I have what it takes?”   The answer is, “probably not”, but that’s ok.

However, I do have what it takes because God is with me!  I can have courage because God is with me.

Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1: 1-9 (NIV)

God promises to be with us!

The Bible is so full of God’s promises, that it is not really possible to count them. Some people have tried and come up with about 3000. Others have counted 7000. Herbert Lockyer wrote a book called All the promises of the Bible and claims to list 8000.

Do you know what the most frequent promise in the Bible?

“I will be with you.”  See Psalm 23:4, Psalm 139:8, Matthew 28:20, Genesis 28:15, Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6  to name a few!

In good times, in bad times, in pleasure, in pain, at the side of the hospital bed or casket God is with us.  In parenting, in marriage in our job in hobbies, at the highest mountain or the depths of the sea God is with us!

I can have courage because God called me, God equips me with His Word and God is with me!

You can have courage too.

Darrell

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