Tag Archives: god is with me

The Land Of Promise

Throwback Thursday is a new 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.

My three year old son surprised me the other day. We were sitting down talking and he wanted to get my attention so used both hands to grab my face to look at him. He said, “Joshua 1:9, Dada.” It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about, but then I remembered it was his memory verse a few weeks back. I thought for a second how they had taught him, then I recited it to him, “Do not be afraid. God is with you.” He smiled and said, “Yeah. God is with you. Joshua 1:9.”

What a great promise to us to hold on to. The full verse says, “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This was God speaking to Joshua before he entered a land of giants and walled cities that he was to conquer. It was 40 years earlier that he had been there as a spy and was outvoted 10-2 because the people were afraid of what they saw. I’m sure the ones who were scared told their kids what the Promised Land had in it. They might have been afraid of what their future held.

Like them, you may be looking at your future and are starting to feel scared. There are uncertainties, giants even huge walls up around the things you feel like God has called you to. When you look at those things, you may be wondering, “How can I accomplish that?” The path to it may be unclear. There may be huge obstacles in your way. But if God has called you to do it, there are no walls high enough that He can’t push down. There are no walls thick enough that He can’t break. There is no enemy strong enough to keep you away from all He has promised. He just needs you to step out in faith.

That’s the hard part. The scary part. When that fear arises, go back to Joshua 1:9. God commanded us to be strong and courageous. He didn’t merely suggest it. He told us not to be afraid or discouraged by the obstacles in our way because He is with us. He doesn’t expect us to do these things in our own strength or abilities. He will do the work as long as we are willing to cross the Jordan and enter the Land of Promise. Our step of faith pushes back fear and activates God’s strength. Don’t hold back because of fear. Go and conquer all that God has for you.

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

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Periods Of Pressing

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had several phone calls, texts, messages and conversations with people who are going through some seriously dark moments in life. Their situations are causing stress, sadness, worry, anxiety, depression, confusion and lack of direction. More than that, it’s causing them to seek out God more than they were. We often can’t see it ourselves when we are walking through a difficult period in our life, but those times draw us closer to God. When we draw closer to God, He draws closer to us.

In these times where we are pressed, God brings out of us things that can’t come out any other way. He uses them to grow us and go help us reach the potential He sees in us. He doesn’t allow us to go through these periods without a purpose. The struggle may seem more than you can bear in the moment, but the reward of what God is doing in us when we endure it is immeasurable. If you’re walking through one of these times, it means God still sees more potential in you and is pushing you into a new season.

When I’m walking through a time like that, i hold onto what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. It says, “We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed” (GNT). These times feel like we are going to be crushed and destroyed, but God inside of you is stronger than any force outside of you trying to crush you. Keep your focus on Him and not on the thing trying to crush you. Great is God’s faithfulness in these times. You may not always get the outcome you desire, but you will not be abandoned by God in these periods of pressing.

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

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Doing The Work


Have you ever tried to get something done, but kept getting distracted? The distractions weren’t there until you decided to start. The moment you engage the project, it seems that the whole world falls apart. Someone calls and needs something right away. You realize you forgot to do something else that you were supposed to do. What you’re using to complete the project breaks or quits working. It gets pretty frustrating doesn’t it?

I gotta say, it happens to all of us and I’m not sure why. Then there’s the whole procrastination thing. When you’ve got a big project you need to be working on, sometimes starting it is the hardest thing to do. Where do I begin? What if I get into this and the distractions start? How long is this going to take? Do I have time to complete it? Why do today what I can put off till tomorrow? We question ourselves and talk ourselves out if starting. It’s easy to do, and I’m pretty sure I’m the king of it. 

As Solomon was becoming king himself, his father David handed him the blueprints for the Temple. It was a daunting project that would require years to complete with thousands of moving parts. Combine that with trying to run a country and you’ve got both distractions and procrastination creeping at your door. In I Chronicles 28:20, David encouraged him by saying, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you” (NLT).

Let that be an encouragement to you today. Do the work that you’re called to do. Push past the procrastination and stay focused through the distractions. Don’t be afraid of the outcome or discouraged by what others may say. You are uniquely qualified to do what God has called you to do. If He didn’t think you could do it, He wouldn’t have called you to it. Be strong, courageous and confident. Take your next step today and trust that God is with you and will be faithful to help you complete it. 

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No More Hiding

  
I always enjoy reading about Gideon. There is so much to glean from him and how God used him. At the time, Israel was being bullied by the Midianites. When their crops would grow, the Midianites would trample them. They would also steal their livestock so they had no meat to eat. It was a scary time to be an Israelite. Even Gideon was hiding when God called him a mighty warrior. He couldn’t see how he was a mighty warrior or that God was with him because of what was going on in Israel.

In Judges 6:14-15, the conversation continued, “Then the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!’ ‘But Lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!’” (NLT) Not only did he feel like God wasn’t with him, he thought of himself as a nobody from nowhere.

God doesn’t care where you’re from, how unimportant you think you are, or what your circumstances look like. He doesn’t pick His leaders that way. God looks at the posture of your heart and your availability. You will never have the capability on your own to accomplish what He’s calling you to. However, with His help, you will be the mighty warrior He sees in you and is calling out. It takes faith and courage to come out of hiding in order to be all that God has called you to be.

Gideon had to come out of the wine press if he was going to lead Israel against the Midianites. You’re going to have to come out of where you’re hiding too so God can accomplish His will. He won’t force you out. You have to choose to step out. He has already spoken to you. He has already called you more than you are. It’s time to quit making excuses and be who God called you to be. If you do, God’s promise to you is found in verse 16. The Lord said to him, “I will be with you.”

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Psalm Of The Living

I’ve never understood why Psalm 23 is solely used at funerals. I believe it is a Psalm for the living. David didn’t write it for a deceased friend. He wrote it to thank God for being his guide in this life. David’s path had twists and turns, ups and downs just like yours and mine.looking back on his life, he realized where God had been right with him in the hardest of times and when God had brought rest when he needed it most. God still does that today for you and me. Let’s look closer at this Psalm today to see how it applies to our lives.

When the first verse says that the Lord is our shepherd, it’s implying that we need someone to feed, guide and protect us. Sheep need help pretty often. The shepherd doesn’t get upset with the sheep for messing up or getting lost. He goes after them and brings them back to safe pasture where they can flourish. It’s a great image of what God does for each of us when we wander away from the path He has for us. He searches for us and returns us to where He wants us and can protect us from the enemy.

I like how the Message puts the next couple of verses. It says, “True to your word, you let me catch my breath and you send me in the right direction.” God knows that there are times in life when we get so busy that we need a break. He intervenes in our lives constantly trying to take us to those still waters causing us to lay down. He wants us to catch our breath and rest from time to time so we won’t burn out. When we’ve caught our breath, He points us in the right direction and sets us loose again.

Sometimes that path goes through the darkest of valleys, but we don’t have to be afraid. The New Living Translation says, “I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” God doesn’t abandon us in the darkness of life. He’s right beside us enduring it with us. When we are in the valley, he is there with his rod and staff to protect and comfort us. He’s not way out ahead of you in the sunlight saying, “Come on! Hurry up and get here.” No. He’s right there with you in the darkness, by your side saying, “I know you’re hurt and I feel your pain. I won’t leave you here in this place.”

In verse five, the Message says, “You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.” No matter who is against you or what life brings in the valley, God has a plan. He has times of refreshing ahead for you. He gives you what you need to sustain you in those times, then He takes you to place where you will know joy once again. He revived our heavy hearts and lifts our spirits. When we look up, we will see that our cup full of blessings is overflowing with God’s goodness. We don’t have to feel forgotten or lost because God still gives blessings in the darkness of the valley.

David wrapped up this powerful Psalm by saying, “I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life. (GNT)” He knew because God had been faithful to him. He could trust God because God had never let him down even in the valley. We too can know that God’s love and goodness will be with us all the days of our lives. The New Living Translation says that God’s goodness and unfailing love will pursue us. He will not stop being with us or pursuing us with His love in this life. So you see, this is a Psalm of the living more than the dead. God is with you right now no matter what part of the path you’re on. Trust in Him and His plan. He’s watching over you like a good shepherd. 

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You Don’t Have To Be Lonely

Some coworkers and I were talking about all the online dating sites. There are ones dedicated to Christians, black people, those looking to get married, those who are already married and even one for farmers. The last one mentioned has most people thinking it’s a joke. The commercials are very low budget and goofy, but their jingle is catchy. It says, “You don’t have to be lonely at farmers only dot com.” While their commercials are notoriously bad, their slogan resonates with so many. “You don’t have to be lonely.”

In today’s world, we are connected more than ever, but somehow feel alone. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, you’re still susceptible to feeling lonely. Since creation, God has been calling out to us telling us we are not alone. He has tried to grab our attention in each sunset and sunrise. He has called to us in the beauty of nature. He paints us a picture each night with the stars. He calls to us with each wave that crashes on the shore, “I’m here. You are not alone.” He has tried to let us know since we were born that we are loved, but we ignore His signs.

We try to fill that loneliness with imperfect relationships, sports, exercise, addictions, online gaming and the Internet. None of it really satisfies us, but we keep trying to fill that void. There is something in each one of us that desires companionship. God placed it in us. His desire is that He would fill that void in each of our lives. When humanity ignored Him long enough, He became one of us so that we would listen to Him. On His mission here, He told us how much He loved us and that we weren’t alone. In fact, one of the very last things He told us was that He would be with us always.

In the last verse in Matthew 28, Jesus’ last words were, “And you can be sure of this: I am with you always.” He knew that we would feel lonely and wanted to encourage us that we would never be alone. He wanted us to know that even though He was taking His place back in Heaven, He would still be here to guide us and to comfort us. He has no desire that any of us would ever feel alone. Hebrews 13:5 reiterates what God told Joshua in the Old Testament. He said, “I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake you nor let you down or relax my hold on you (AMP).” He was emphatic that He will not leave you so that you would know you are not alone.

What things have you put into your life to try to keep from feeling lonely? In what ways are you ignoring God’s voice calling out to you that you aren’t alone? What can you do today to start recognizing His presence in your life? The jingle to that commercial is right: you don’t have to be lonely. You have a God who desperately loves you and wants you to know that He is with you in whatever stage of life you’re in. When He is in His place in your life, everything else will fall into its place. He has not left you alone. He is with you all the days of your life. Will you recognize Him and let Him fill that void?

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