A Taste of the Promise

This is an excerpt from my book, Treasures From the Battle, published in 2003. It is based on Deuteronomy 1:19-25.

     In all of our lives there lies a “Promised Land”, a place of divine destination that flows with milk and honey or to put it another way, a place of supernatural abundance. When God brought His people out of Egypt, this is the location to which He was leading them. And even though the promised land was promised to them, they were going to have to battle the inhabitants to possess it.  Like the Israelite’s, we must also fight to obtain the promise: the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose in our hearts and lives. Life is a journey of changing times and seasons. No matter where we find ourselves, there are times when God will allow us to experience a “taste of the promise”. These little happenings in our lives are necessary and inspiring because they compel us onward even in the face of tremendous adversity; they offer a foretaste of what is to come. For the Israelite’s, this meant not only spying out the land but bringing back some of the beautiful, abundant produce. According to the book of numbers, the fruit was so bountiful it took two men to carry a single cluster of grapes.

     However, prior to the Israelite’s entry into the promised land, God gave them specific instructions to spy it out. In other words, He was giving them a sneak peak of sorts. As they spied out the land they became acutely aware of two things. They first became aware of what was laid up for them in that rich and plentiful land, but they also began to understand what it would take for them to fully possess it. While they loved what was in the land, they were not so thrilled about who was currently living there. After considering the number and size of their enemies, they decided it was not a price they were willing to pay.

     Like the Israelites, God has placed dreams in your heart and mine. And in accordance with His perfect will, it is His plan to bring those dreams to fruition. Unfortunately, overcoming opposition is a part of the process. This nation realized that to possess the land of promise they would have to face the giants who lived there. Likewise, there are times in our lives where we may need to confront certain obstacles. Some examples might be  fear, depression anxiety or unforgiveness. And, as is often the case, our obstacles can seem far too big for our ability to overcome them. In our own strength we are no match. We can feel like the children of Israel did when they  cried, “We are indeed grasshoppers in comparison.”But herein lies our hope: In our hearts, we hold the promises of God.

     Let us not be like the children of Israel who never came into all God had for them because of fear, doubt and unbelief. My prayer today, is that each of us  would come  to realize wholly, the plan that God has for our lives; that we would posses a spirit like Caleb and Joshua, two of those who spied out the land. They had a different spirit than the rest of Israel. The Bible says their hearts were fully committed to the Lord. My God Grant  you and me the courage to face and overcome every obstacle in our lives. May we never be satisfied to live and die in the desert, only having had a taste of the promise.

Be blessed.


The Chance of a Lifetime

 When you hear someone mention the phrase “The chance of a lifetime”, what kinds of thoughts come to your mind? An actress being offered the role she always dreamed of? A small businessman being presented with an opportunity to sign a million dollar contract? A first generation college student receiving an offer of admission to a top university? An obscure singer  being pursued by a major music company with the offer of a record deal?


    For most of us, when we hear the phrase “the chance of a lifetime” these are the types of scenarios that come to mind.  We think of that one big break, a happenstance of being at the right place at the right time, that if not seized with all one’s strength, might likely never come again. This week however, I want to challenge us to think about this expression in a way that is more practical. Today I am giving you a new definition to ponder. Think about the chance of a lifetime as a chance that is continually present with us, occurring everyday of our lives. In other words, it is an opportunity for change that is repeatedly happening over the course of our lives.


    The chance of a lifetime occurs every time we are brought face to face with the opportunity to acknowledge truth in our lives. In addition, acknowledging truth has the potential to produce  lasting change. The Gadarene Demoniac, whose account is recorded in the Gospel of Mark chapter 5, is a wonderful example of someone who was presented with such a moment. In Mark’s account, this man lived among the tombs and was extremely dangerous. There was no level of human restraint that could hold him. Moreover, he wandered throughout the cemetery and countryside wailing and cutting himself with sharp stones. He lived a life engrossed in mental torment and physically self-destructive behavior until the day he encountered the Messiah. the Bible says, “When he saw Jesus, he ran and worshipped Him.” For the Gadarene Demoniac, that was his big break, his “million dollar contract” if you will. Coming face to face with truth, in the person of Jesus Christ, was his chance of a lifetime. He both submitted to truth and embraced it in a single act of worship. When Jesus asked, “What is your name?” He was identifying what had been driving this man to destruction, and would-be death. Because of his response to truth, he was set free, and his life was never the same. In his twisted and dark world, when he could not find his way out of his circumstance, Jesus presented this man with the chance of a lifetime: He brought him face to face with the inside reasons for his outside behavior. This man received all that God had for him when he correctly responded to everything he was presented with.


    By contrast, Adam, Eve and Cain represent different ways of responding to truth. When God inquired “Adam where are you?”,  he was attempting to bring Adam to a place of truth. The question “Where are you?” was for Adam’s benefit, not God’s. He knew very well where Adam was, but Adam needed to know and admit this truth to himself. The same concept was true for Eve. When God asked “What have you done?”, it wasn’t about what God was trying to extract from her, instead it had everything to do with what He was trying to impart to her. The question was for Eve’s sake, not God’s. When God asked Cain, “Where is your brother?” he retorted, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Again, God was attempting to reveal truth, not for His benefit but for the benefit of the person to whom He was speaking. In each of these situations where man had done wrong, failed, and made tremendous mistakes, God was not after them to punish them. He was coming for them, to love them, to rescue them, to heal them and to set them free. But instead of accepting and embracing the truth, Adam chose to blame his wife. While Eve did admit to the events as they occurred, she failed to acknowledge her actions as a result of those events. And Cain chose to avoid the issue altogether. Instead his tactic was to divert the issue of truth by asking an all-knowing God a rhetorical question.


    Seriously think about this statement. Everyday of our lives we are presented at one time or another with the chance of a lifetime because everyday we live, we are confronted with the opportunity to face truth in ways that could potentially change our lives forever. On the flip side exists a concurrent option to reject the truth, which can result in a life that is empty and mundane, full of fear, depression, anxiety, anger, bitterness  and unforgiveness (whether against ourselves or others). For some this might mean getting honest with ourselves and God about our part in the breakdown of our family relationships.  


  What might have happened if Adam, Eve and Cain had faced and embraced the truth God was trying to bring about in each of their lives? While none of us know what might have been, we certainly know what was: Adam became enslaved to the ground. He no longer worked in a way where the earth easily produced food for him. For the rest of his life he would  be forced to toil to fulfill his need and the need of his family for food. Eve was brought  forth to be co-ruler on the earth. Positionally, in her relationship to her husband she was brought low. She would be ruled over instead of ruling. Furthermore she would bring forth children in pain and suffering. Both Adam and Eve ended up ‘bringing forth fruit’ in suffering to one degree or another. Adam, the fruit of the ground and Eve, the fruit of the womb. As for Cain, he spent the rest of his life, far more days than you or I could ever imagine, wandering on the earth in an unsettled and restless state. The earth would not produce food for him. And it is very likely, that at least some of these consequences were due to the fact that each of these individuals in one way or another failed to recognize their chance of a lifetime.

This Week’s Readings:

Mark 5

Genesis 3



The Greatest Need of Man

      In the Gospel of John 18:37,  just prior to His crucifixion, during a conversation with Pontius Pilate, who served as a regional governor in Rome, Jesus makes one of the most profound statements in scripture I have ever pondered. In one sentence, Jesus discloses His sole reason for coming to this earth. He said, “To this end I was born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.”(KJV)

      Think about this for a moment; Jesus had been handed over to the Jewish leaders. The jewish leaders  handed Him over to the Romans because the Jews wanted to have Him executed. Jesus is on trial. He knows He is about to die. Yet in His conversation with Pilate He never mentions dying for mankind as His reason for coming to this earth. Instead, in one of the last conversations He would have on this earth, He declares that He has come to this earth for one reason and one reason only, to give testimony to the truth.

       The greatest need of man today is his need for truth. The fact that Jesus came relating to man, spending time with him, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, raising the dead, opening blind eyes, making the deaf to hear, embracing the outcast and dying for our sins are all manifestations of the the truth of who we are to Him and Who He longs to be to us.  When we struggle in our emotions, with our image of self, with whether God loves us, if He will provide and care for us, if He really hears our prayers, if He is even interested, we are not really struggling with isolated issues; we are struggling with truth.

         When Eve began to question truth in the garden it dictated what she saw, what she desired, what she believed and what she did. While none of us know what Eve thought of the appearance of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil prior to her conversation with the serpent, there is little doubt as to how it appeared to her after the conversation.  Genesis 3:6-7 reveals this fact. It reads, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat.” (KJV) At the root of all sin is a lie. God never told Eve the tree was good for food, but she believed it was. She believed the tree would bring her a grander experience in life, even when God had emphatically stated it would only bring death.  What she saw dictated what she believed. What she believed dictated what she wanted. And what she wanted dictated what she did.

      We further learn from scripture that Adam and Eve not only hid among the trees of the garden to hide from God, but they sewed fig leaves together attempting to cover their nakedness from God, and arguably from each other. Before sin man was naked and unashamed. After sin, man was naked and ashamed. The beauty that God created man to enjoy in freedom, he now concealed in guilt and shame. The woman Adam hailed as, “flesh of my flesh” now became the reason for all his troubles. Sin changed what man believed about God, what he believed about himself, and what he believed about others; sadly, none of  what he came to believe, was based on truth.

     In the garden, when man fell out of relationship with God, he fell out of relationship with truth; the truth about his identity,  his purpose, his value and his worth. So when Jesus tells Pilate just, “I came for this reason alone: to bear witness or give testimony to the truth.” We understand why. Jesus came to reveal the truth about who we are, Who God is, who we are to God and Who God longs to be to us. He came to reveal God’s love, God’s heart and God’s will to mankind. In a nutshell, He came to reveal the truth. Because it is only in knowing the truth that we are genuinely set free.

 Passages For Meditation This Week:

  • Gospel of John 8:32, 14:6, 16:13, 17:17
  • Ephesians 6:14
  • Proverbs 12:22
  • 3 John 4

May God’s peace be upon you  and your family this week.

Stop Carrying What Does Not Belong To You

     This week’s blog is based on the book of Genesis chapter 3:12. While there are seemingly a multitude of life lessons we could discuss this week from this passage,  there is one that feels especially heavy on my heart, and it will be the focus topic for this week’s blog. To give a little background knowledge, Adam and Eve had just disobeyed God. In the garden they were free to eat from any tree they desired except one: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had given specific instructions regarding this tree. He said, “If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” (NLT) Adam and Eve found themselves in a mess because they had just violated the sole restriction God placed on them in the garden: they had eaten from the tree of which He told them, “You may not eat.”

    Until this point, mankind had communed  in the garden with God openly and freely. Now something was wrong. The relationship man had with God had been negatively impacted. Fellowship gave way to fear. The Bible says, “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He replied, ‘I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ The Lord God asked. ‘Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?’ The man replied, ‘It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”

     If I could paraphrase what Adam was saying, it might sound something like this, “Yes Lord, I did disobey you, but it was not my fault. This woman whom You put here with me, she was the one who gave me the fruit, and that is why I ate it. Now we are in this big mess; my relationship with you is horribly impacted; I am suffering from a distorted image of myself, and living in fear of punishment from you, and it is all because of this woman you gave me.”

     Although that may sound funny, it is actually very serious. One of the issues that we often deal with in the midst of the breakdown of any significant life relationship is that of guilt, self blame and condemnation. When Adam indicated Eve as the sole reason for why he had eaten the fruit, he was in fact indicating her as the primary reason for all that had transpired. The words he spoke were not only spoken in the presence of God, they were spoken in the presence of Eve. Adam blamed his wife for the mess in which they found themselves. I wonder to what extent Eve blamed herself? Without a doubt this affected every aspect of her life.

       Was there a large level of responsibility that Eve needed to own in this situation? Absolutely, there is no doubt about that. The problem was not that Eve was held partly responsible on the part of Adam. Indeed, she should have been. What was problematic was that Adam held  Eve wholly responsible. And that is the topic of our discussion this week. Far too many women are carrying what is not theirs to own. As a result, we are struggling with depression, self-hatred, guilt, fear and anxiety to name a few. Others may try to hand you the responsibility for their life situation, but you do not have to own it. This is one of the life lessons that God is teaching me.  

     At times, I have blamed myself for my own life situation, as well as others, be it previous situations in my marriage or in the lives of my children or something else.  Adam was not in that situation because of Eve. He was in that situation because of himself. Eating the fruit from the tree of which God told him not to eat, was not Eve’s fault. It was his own.  If you are in this place today, God wants to set you free from guilt, self-blame and condemnation. Long-term, these are toxic mindsets and emotions. They are a hindrance to life and well-being. Stop carrying what does not belong to you. It is healthy to take responsibility for the life mistakes you may have made; we all should, but it is not your responsibility to carry what is not yours to own. Take responsibility for your own actions, and allow others to do the same.

May God richly bless you this week. May His peace and love be with you and upon you.

This week’s readings:

  • Genesis chapter 3
  • Psalms 103:12
  • Isaiah 43:25

If you have been encouraged in any way by what you have read, please do not hesitate to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.