Archive | September 2013

Fear, Doubt, Discouragement Oh My!

Joshua 1:9 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 6:2-5 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. 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. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

I remember the first thing God asked me to do something radical. I was just 13 He told me to go and speak with my youth pastor about giving a talk on taming the tongue. I remembered how scared I was but I did it anyway and 5 people gave their lives to Christ and 10 people accepted the Holy Spirit. Who knew that just a few months later I would be tempted and because of my guilt and shame that I would run away from God just like the Woman at the Well running from people because of her shame.

The next time God would ask me to do something radical would be just a year after I gave my life back over to Christ. He asked me to give up my dream of becoming a lawyer and serving him in vocational ministry. Yes he asked me to work for Christian organization. After battling it for a day, God even went so far to get the guest speaker at the conference to call me out! I listened but I did not know how hard it was going to be. I had to raise almost $1,300 in monthly support. I didn’t know many people and it was hard. It was so hard that my support coach sent me to the hospital. I labored, I called, I cried, I complained, I said to God I give up, but I knew deep down in my heart that He was calling me to it! At the midnight hour He delivered and I said Thank you. The hardship didn’t end there. I had a hard time on my team, but God had given me students to pour into. It was a blessing to see how they grew in Christ even now I see them around I get on my knees and say thank you Lord! For you were the only person who could do this and not me!

Now here I am age 30 and I am going through another thing that God is asking me to blindly step out in faith. I keep asking myself can I do it. What if I step out and nothing doesn’t come of it, was it just a test that my heart was broken in the end. What is the lesson here that you are trying to teach me God. Today I got hit with a migraine today as I wrestled God with my situation He pointed me to Joshua.

Do you know how many times God told Joshua to be strong and courageous? Three times God told Joshua to be strong and courageous; why? Joshua has now become leader over Israel, for a long time Moses was the leader and he just died. Now Joshua is given the task by God to lead the Israelites into the Promise Land. Here is the problem there were other nations living in the Promise Land so they would have to go in a fight for the land that God had promised.

Here is Joshua is not only just a leader he has to be a commander following the Lord fighting for the land that God has promised. Is there any doubt that he was afraid? I would be and right now am. But God reassured Joshua that He was with him that He would not leave nor forsake him that just as He was with Moses He would be with Joshua.

The first lesson here is that we can be afraid of what God wants us to do it’s natural but here’s the thing don’t be afraid be strong and courageous! Scary isn’t it! Yet God causes us to go into a situation, where we need to trust that He has everything worked out, and that it won’t be easy. Sure you can look at the grass on the other side and say wow that looks easier I don’t have to struggle it’s just so easy but yet God is saying no to that greener side. He wants you to step out in faith, step out of the fear, and trust Him! Sound so easy right? It is not.

Joshua learned the hard way the cost of rebelling against God. He knew that if he quit that would be displeasing to God. Joshua saw how God was with Moses (bad temper and all) and he knew as God was saying to him I’ll be with you just like Moses, Joshua could trust that.

I believe in our Christian lives today that we have been taught to take the easy way out. If a spouse cheated then we can divorce. If a job is not going well start looking for another job. If one relationship becomes too tempting in the flesh to run, but one or both people does not want to work on accountability but to move onto another relationship.  I can go on and on, but you get my point? We take the easy road out instead of doing what God has commanded you to do. We say to God “this is too much I can’t bear”. What if You are wrong and I can’t do this or it’s not going to happen as You say.

We as followers of Christ need to learn how to stand, how to trust God in every situation and not cop out, not blame, or push it aside. We must be like Indiana Jones closing our eyes and taking that step of faith. We must speak out against the fear that is holding us back from God instructions. In other words we need to fight!

After Joshua came to terms and released his fear, he started doing what the LORD had commanded him. Doesn’t it seem kind of crazy that God will tell Joshua to have the people walk around a city wall once a day for six days and on the 7th to walk around 7 times and then on the last shout!

If I was in Joshua place I would have looked at God kind of crazy like what do you mean? If Joshua would have done that it would have been spoken out of doubt and fear. Yet Joshua trusting in the LORD obeyed the command and gave the order just as God gave it to him. What happened? The walls came down!

What if Joshua had stayed in a place of fear and doubt? Would God just sit there and worked it out of Joshua for another 40 years? Would God replaced Joshua, it is a possibility.

What if you are choosing to stay in fear and doubt, what would you be giving up? Would you, be giving up a relationship that God has called you too because the temptation was too much? Would you abandon your marriage because it was not happy or the pain of the adultery was too great? Would you, be giving up a ministry because you doubted and fear that you could speak well or have the energy to do it? Would you, be letting go of a job that God designed for you but you said that working with the people was just too hard? What would you be giving up if you stayed in a place of fear and doubt?

God has called out to you to be strong and courageous, and fear not for He is with you in the situation. God is with me in the situation I am struggling with and he is with you. Has he given you instructions on what to do but yet it seems scary? He has given me instructions and they are pretty scary because of the unknown.

Wait is that it? We choose to stay in fear and doubt because of the unknown so you just don’t fight and stand? Joshua did not know how God would free up the promise land, but Joshua trusted God enough that His plans are good. Can we, you, me trust that the plans that God has is good?

Fear not for I am with you, be strong and courageous.

To move out of fear and doubt takes a willingness to take a step of faith. To take that moment and say to God I don’t know how you will do this but I know you can. Not if you can, I know you can.

Fear not for I am with you.

God is with you in the difficult situations. He leading and guiding you. Trust in His instructions for they are good.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.

The battle is the Lord’s not yours.

Today I challenge you to take the step that God wants you to do.

Have I not commanded you to be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid, Do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you.

God is with you, God is with you.

Prayer:

My Father in Heaven, your kingdom comes, your will be done. I give to you my fears and doubt. I will do as you have commanded me to do.

In Jesus Name Amen.

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Chosen By God

Genesis 29:31 When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.

Have you ever been picked over? What about when a spouse cheats on you and you wonder why was the other person better than you? I know what it is like to be picked over for someone else (job, school etc.).  I also have known women who husband had cheated on her and for a while kept wondering what was wrong with me. I know of a guy friend who really liked a certain girl who then moved away not wanting to do a long relationship thing, and he starts to think was it worth it, am I worth it.

In our culture we put so much weight on being chosen by the perfect “one”, to be chosen by the perfect job, to be chosen by the perfect group of friends instead of knowing that you are already chosen by the perfect person his name is Jesus.

When you look in the bible the person who really understood this, who lived with the heartache of not being the one chosen by a man or even by her own family is Leah. Who was not chosen by Jacob to love, trick by her father, but was chosen by God to love and cherish. Her full story is found in Genesis 29.

We don’t know much about Leah, we know that she was not as beautiful as Rachel. We know that she was weak eyed. We don’t know if she had a pleasant attitude or not. What we know for certain that Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah. Jacob worked for seven years for the more beautiful sister Rachel whom he loved. When it came time for the wedding Laban gave Jacob Leah and Jacob didn’t know until after the wedding night!

Can you just imagine the pain that went through Leah’s heart? We don’t know how Laban tricked her saying that Jacob asked for her hand in marriage, or if Rachel got really scared etc…  But then to wake up when your husband says where is my wife Rachel after a night of probably passionate love making had to hurt a lot. Not only that to realize that in after your bride week is done he will marry another person! Can you imagine the insecurity that popped up for Leah, and the pain that she went through?

Well God did and he opened up her womb to bear children. We know that Leah longed to be loved and chosen by Jacob. We know this by the names of her first three sons: Ruben; my husband will surely love me now, Simeon; the Lord has seen that I was not loved, Levi; my husband will be attached to me now I have given him 3 sons.  How much did that hurt when Jacob still didn’t return her affection?  Finally Leah turned to the LORD whom she knew loved her more than her husband. Turned to the LORD who could only fill in that missing piece that she was longing for in her heart and in her life! We see this in the naming of her fourth son Judah (This time I will praise the LORD). She finally understood where her worth lies, her worth was not in the number of children she bore, but it was in the LORD

Of course every person on earth longs to be loved and chosen here on earth but if you can’t understand that there is a God who loves you more than any person here on earth. He has chosen you! He chose you to love, to be with forever. It doesn’t matter if you do not get picked by a person here on earth, because you have been chosen by the creator of the Universe.

This is something I believe if you understand and take to heart, and then everything else around you will fall into place no matter what happens in your life. I’m not saying that it is easy thing to do, sometimes it’s a fight to accept, but it is the truth. You are chosen, you are wanted, and you are loved.

If you are in a situation where your spouse cheated on you and you are asking yourself; why my spouse didn’t choose me.  Your husband or wife did something foolish and hurtful, but remember you are chosen by the Father to be loved and cherish, For God loves you and has chosen you to be his.

If you are in a dating situation and getting to the DTR and if you are wondering if the person will chose you. Remember and know that you have already been chosen by the Father to be loved and cherish, For God loves you and has chosen you to be his bride.

If you are in a situation where your family is choosing not to talk to you because of your decision to follow Jesus Christ. You have been chosen by the Father to be loved and cherish, For God loves you and has chosen you to be his, and part of a bigger family who loves you.

You are chosen, you have been chosen by God and He loves you.