Taking Your Promised Land

My son, who is in elementary school, is having to read Pilgrim’s Progress. I remember having to read it at a young age too. Quite honestly I think it should be required reading for every Christian adult because there is so much depth to it. In it, Christian Pilgrim reads about Heaven and begins his journey to find Christ. On the way he meets people like Evangelist and Helper who guide him toward the Celestial City. He also encounters people like Worldly Wiseman, Despair and Formalist who try to persuade him to get off the straight and narrow path. Each person warms him not to listen to the others and he has to decide who is right and suffer the consequences when he listens to the wrong voices.

In Numbers 13, God told Moses to send out one person from each tribe to go throughout the Promised Land to scout it. They saw how fertile the land was, checked out the terrain and saw the cities. They noticed that there were several nations living in the land as well. They all agreed that it was a good land as God promised, but they also saw that there were giants and fortified cities that would be difficult to go to war with. The people began to murmur and to doubt God’s promise to give them the land. Then in verse 30 it says, “Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, ‘Let’s go up and take the land—now. We can do it’” (MSG). You know the story. The people listened to the 10 spies with a negative report and faced the consequences.

What has God promises you? What voices are causing you to doubt Him? We often forget that there is a process to receiving His promises. There are battles that must be won, faith steps to be taken and moments where you push past what your eyes see. If God has promised something to you, there will be giants and people who try to persuade you away from going after it. There comes a point where you either trust God or you don’t. Receiving His promises is never easy. It takes faith and it takes courage to move towards it because others can’t see it or feel the passion God placed in you. Who’s voice will you listen to? There are consequences for listening to the wrong ones, but there’s also forgiveness. Ask God to give you wisdom in who you listen to and courage to proceed. Go take your land. You can do it!

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Trusting In God’s Goodness

In Numbers 11, the children of Israel had left Egypt and were on their way to the Promised Land. They began to grumble about how hard their new life was and it upset God. They then began to crave something they didn’t have: meat. Manna, God’s provision, was getting old. They were sick of having it every day, so they complained that they wanted meat. God told moses He was going to give them meat. So much meat that they were going to get sick of it. He was going to provide it for 30 days, and lots of it. In verses 21-22 Moses replied, “I’m standing here surrounded by 600,000 men on foot and you say, ‘I’ll give them meat, meat every day for a month.’ So where’s it coming from? Even if all the flocks and herds were butchered, would that be enough? Even if all the fish in the sea were caught, would that be enough?” (MSG)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been guilty of this. I look at my needs, then I look at what I have and I tell God how impossible the situation is. Depending on how desperate the situation is, I may even go a step further, like Moses, and tell Him that even His resources are not enough. I try to take a supernatural God and out natural constraints on Him. This attitude, though temporary, is wrong and it comes from having the wrong perspective. In my desperation, I tend to look at God through the lens of my problem rather than the other way around. This attitude is telling God that I feel He is incapable of taking care of me or unable to meet my needs. God’s response to Moses is the gut check I need in those situations. He said, “So, do you think I can’t take care of you? You’ll see soon enough whether what I say happens for you or not.”

When I start thinking this way, I go back to Philippians 4:19. It says, “And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (AMP). I remind myself of God’s promises and of His faithfulness. He doesn’t always answer in the ways that I think He should or could, but He always fills my needs. He has been faithful all of my life, and when I look back on desperate situations and times in my life, I can see the hand of God at work. He has not failed me yet, and I can tell you that He will not fail you either. His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is great (Lamentations 3:23). You don’t have to know where or how He will provide for you. Just trust in His goodness, and make your requests known to Him. He will take care of you.

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Perfect Peacefulness

In Mark 4:35-41, there’s a story we’re all familiar with. Jesus made the decision for He and the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee. Several boats followed them too. While they were crossing the sea, the Amplified Bible says, “A fierce windstorm began to blow, and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already being swamped.” The disciples panicked because the boat was about to go under. Where was Jesus during all this? Soundly asleep in the stern of the boat. They woke Him and asked, “Do you not care that we are about to die?” Verse 39 says, “And He got up and [sternly] rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still (muzzled)!’ And the wind died down [as if it had grown weary] and there was [at once] a great calm [a perfect peacefulness].”

If you’re like me, your boat feels like it’s taking on water and that it could capsize. The winds and waves are beating against it and are overwhelming. You might be wondering where Jesus is in all of this. Doesn’t He care that the world is on lock down? Doesn’t He care that so many of us have lost our jobs, businesses and work? I can tell you that one word from Him can calm the storm, but more than that, He can speak one word to you and send a great calm of perfect peacefulness into your life. God has always been your source of money, of security and of peace. I know it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed right now, but if you’ll take your eyes off the storm and turn them to Him, you’ll find the peace you need.

Here are some Bible verses on not being overwhelmed.

1. This is what I’ve learned through it all: All believers should confess their sins to God; do it every time God has uncovered you in the time of exposing. For if you do this, when sudden storms of life overwhelm, you’ll be kept safe.

Psalms 32:6 TPT

2. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you.

Isaiah 43:2 GNT

3. We’ve been overwhelmed with grief; come now and overwhelm us with gladness. Replace our years of trouble with decades of delight.

Psalms 90:15 TPT

4. Do not let the floodwater overwhelm me, Nor the deep waters swallow me up, Nor the pit [of Sheol] shut its mouth over me.

Psalms 69:15 AMP

5. No evil can overwhelm a good person, but the wicked have their hands full of it.

Proverbs 12:21 MSG

Bonus verse:

And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!


‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭TPT‬‬

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God’s Not Finished

There was a viral video that floated around on Facebook for a while. It’s of an artist on Ukraine’s Got Talent. She has a large canvas and begins to draw what appears to be one of the judges. As she continues to work on it, the judges become impatient. One by one, they give her the dreaded X. After all judges give her the X, she takes the canvas, turns it upside down, then throws a chalky substance on the canvas. When the dust clears, it’s a portrait of someone else.

I think we are all a bit like those judges at times when God is trying to do a work in our lives. We think we know what He’s up to, and we don’t agree with it. We think we know best and we X out of His plan. We are always trying to put together the pieces of what He’s doing, and we are judging it. The problem is that we truly have no clue what He’s doing because we have the wrong perspective, and He’s not finished yet. We’ve got to learn to have patience while God works in our lives.

We’ve become a part of the culture that tries to figure everything out before it’s done. We like things now rather than later. We don’t let things develop and mature like they’re supposed to. God wants us to be patient, especially when He’s working in our lives. Isaiah 30:18 says, “But GOD’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. GOD takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones” (MSG).

God’s message to us today is to be patient while He works. He’s taking a His time, doing the things that are necessary. You may not understand it, or be able to see the full picture of what He’s doing right now. If you will wait for Him to complete what He’s started, you won’t be disappointed. Don’t be like those judges and miss out on the art that God is trying to create in your life. God’s not finished yet. The final product is worth the wait.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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The Law Of Generosity

In this time of hoarding, panic buying and shortages, it’s good to hear stories of how people are helping others. I’ve got friends who give toilet paper to people who are saying they’re running out. I’ve seen someone over tip for their takeout dinner knowing that the server isn’t getting a lot right now. I also heard of someone who sent their hairdresser the money they were going to spend on haircuts this month even though they weren’t going to be able to go in. These people are not succumbing to the fear. Instead, they’re being generous in a time when hoarding and selfishness is the norm.

If you were to take a pen, hold it out in front of you and let go of it, what would happen? Of course it would drop. But what if you did it again? And again? And again a million times? It would drop every time. Why? Because the Law of Gravity is at work. God has laws too, that when enacted, will give you the same results over and over just like gravity. One of those is the Law of Generosity. In Luke 6:38, Jesus told us that if we give, it will be given back to us, full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Our motives can’t be that we’re giving just so we get. They have to be from the heart of generosity. You must be giving so that you’re blessing those who have no ability to pay you back.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “Be generous, and you will be prosperous. Help others, and you will be helped” (GNT). The Law of Generosity was established in the Old Testament. God loves it when we put away our selfishness in order to help someone else. He blesses that. It’s not even about the amount you give either. Remember there was a widow who gave two pennies, and Jesus said she had given more than all the others who had brought in bags of money. God is always looking at our heart. He’s also always prompting us to give to others. Look around you today. Who is God asking you to be generous to? Look past the fear that is so rampant in today’s world and listen to the voice of God. We need to Law of Generosity in our world activated now more than ever.

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Your Firm Foundation

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus told the people that people who listen to what He says and applies it is like a wise person who builds their house on a firm and unshakable foundation. Then He said that those who hear His words and doesn’t apply them is like a foolish person who built their house on sand instead of a foundation. When the storms of life come, and it rains day after day, one of those houses will collapse and the other will stand strong no matter what comes against it. Hearing what Jesus says is important, that’s where faith comes from, but it’s not enough. We must apply the godly principles to our lives if we want the blessings that they produce. You can’t get the foundation He was talking about unless you do something with His teachings.

In today’s world, we are watching the rain come down day after day. The wind is blowing against everyone’s houses. Financial markets are crashing across the world. Education systems are under stress trying to figure out how to respond in this time of crisis. Governments across the world are scrambling trying to protect their people and keep their country afloat. The flood waters are rising and the houses that have been built on the sand are crashing down. Fear and panic have taken over the world as people watch what they’ve built get destroyed. Believers are no different. The things they have built are being affected by the storm and floods too, but there is a difference. We have a firm foundation that will remain no matter what comes.

Proverbs 10:25 says, “When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation” (NLT). There is no need to fear or panic as a person who has applied God’s Word to their life. He is still in control and He is still your source. He is your Jehovah Jireh, your provider. No matter how high the waters rise or how long the storm lasts, the godly, the ones who have built their lives on applying God’s Word, have a lasting foundation that is unshakable. You have an anchor of hope that will not let you be moved in this time. Hold onto your faith. Hold onto the promises of God. Rest on your foundation that He has given you. He will be true to His Word. Even Job lost everything, but he held onto his foundation and was able to worship in the storm.

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Empowering Growth

I’m nowhere near a professional gardener, but I do love planting a small garden each spring. There’s just something about tilling some earth, planting seeds, watering them, watching them grow and then enjoying the results. I’ve noticed though that sometimes my plants produce the minimum amount of vegetables while someone else brings in a bumper crop. Ive learned that there are a lot of variables that make them different. The soil is one of the greatest factors in how well the plants will do. It needs the right amount of vitamins and minerals for the plants I have to help them. There also the amount of water and sunlight they receive as well that will affect how they grow. The more I adjust these three things, the greater the more I can empower them to grow and produce.

As Christians, we’re not so different. Christianity is not just a one time event where we accept Jesus as our savior. It’s a lifetime of growth that comes after His seed is planted in our heart. In Matthew 13, Jesus told the parable where a sower scattered seeds among 4 different soils. Three out of four seeds sprouted, but only the ones in the seeds that were in good soil produced the crop he was looking for. The environment we’re in has a lot to do with our growth. Another thing we can do to empower our own growth is to stay watered in the Word of God. We can’t just live on the water we receive on Sundays. We must get watered daily. Finally, we must be exposed to the Son. Prayer is our time with the Son who causes us to be healthy and to grow. When these three things are consistent in our lives, we will not only grow, but produce fruit which is to create and empower other believers to grow.

Romans 15:2 says, “Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity” (TPT). Every one us need to have the goal of not just maturing ourselves, but to empower others to grow and produce as well. You have the power to create the atmosphere around you. Are your words and actions toward others creating an environment where others can grow? Are you fertilizing the seeds that have been planted in their heart? Does your life reflect the Son? Our goal should be to do these three things consistently. We need to make sure we are headed for maturity, and that we are empowering others to mature as well.

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