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.

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A New Definition of Life

The book of Joshua opens with God announcing the death of Moses. The beginning of the first chapter reads like this, “The Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses; ‘Wherever you set your foot, you will be on land I have given you-from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” (NLT)

For many years, Joshua served as Moses’ assistant. He was used to carrying out directions given to him by God through Moses. However, a new time had come for Joshua. All of a sudden, he was no longer receiving instructions from God through an individual; he was receiving instructions directly from God Himself. A change had taken place in the life of Joshua: Moses was dead. When Moses died, so did a whole way life. To put it another way, under the leadership of Moses, Joshua’s perception of life, including that of his personal identity had been specific to his life in that context. He was used to a particular way of living and carrying out tasks as “Moses’ assistant”.

However, the death of Moses brought about a new definition of life for Joshua, a new reality of personal identity, of purpose, even ability and capacity. God created Joshua to lead. It was part of his DNA, included in his life mission, yet it was only in light of the death of Moses that he was fully able to step into who he was, toward  the fulfillment of the plan of God had for him. While I am sure there was a natural period of mourning for Moses, for what life had been under his leadership, there also certainly came a time when Joshua had to move beyond mourning over what was in his past, to embrace what now defined his present. Joshua did not receive the gift of leadership because Moses died; he had always possessed it. The only difference was, the circumstances of his life now presented the opportunity where he could fully step into that leadership.

Many times, when we experience a serious life change,  there is the tendency to stay in a place of mourning, looking back at what life was, rather than seeing forward to what life can become, grieving over who we were, instead of celebrating the individual we are becoming. The plan God has for our lives does not change, even when the circumstances of our lives do. God knows the details of our lives from beginning to end. And the events of our lives, no matter how tumultuous they may be, do not overwhelm or confuse Him. It is God who created you and me. He alone established your purpose and mine. We don’t know everything, but we serve a God who does.

What has died in your life? What is God trying to reveal to you about who you are as a result? When we are forced into a new definition of life as a result of some major life event like separation or divorce, there also comes the opportunity for a deeper realization of identity, of life purpose. You may only know yourself based on your ideal of who you were in the past.  Nonetheless, take some time  this week to re-consider your potential in life, who you are as well as who you can become. What new positive, life-filled beliefs can you embrace about yourself, your abilities and what you can accomplish presently that you may not have previously considered?

I am facing divorce. Though this life experience has not been completely easy for me, there are realizations I have come to that continue to change my life. I like to declare, “I can because I am”. I can do all that God has put in my heart, because I am completely the individual He has created me to be. I am beautiful. I am capable. I am talented. I am loved by God. And I am more than able to experience the fullness of His plan for my life because He has wired me for success.

Do something else this week: take some time to celebrate who you are as well as who you are becoming. You are a beautiful, capable, intelligent woman. That is God’s declaration about you, to you.  You are loved exceedingly by God. His plans for you are great, and absolutely no life circumstance can change that.

This week’s readings:

  • Joshua chapters 1-5
  • Jeremiah 29:11

God Still Has a Plan

Part of my job as Teacher at a Christian middle/high school is to lead a weekly devotional with a small group of students. Last week’s devotional was entitled, What Does it Mean to Have Faith?  To teach the principle of what it means to have faith, we were given an example of completing a dot to dot puzzle. If you have completed a dot to dot puzzle, you are aware that a picture is present even though you cannot see it. One might be argue, “By faith you begin connecting the dots with lines until the picture begins to take shape.”

In the same way, God has a predetermined plan for each of our lives. There is a picture present even when we cannot readily see it. In addition, life has  a way of presenting us with situations and circumstances we may have never considered.

When I was married twenty- four years ago, I never dreamed I would be facing a divorce twenty-four years later. No one could have ever convinced me that marital separation or divorce would or could occur in my life. But it did. And it has. Yet it is the power of faith that gives me hope.  While this may not be a situation I fully understand, I know that God has a predetermined outcome for my life. Like completing a dot to dot puzzle, faith is believing a predetermined picture is present even when we are still tracing the lines or when the picture we trust will be revealed is still taking shape.

Life may be very difficult right now but take this week to remember, that your life and mine are still taking shape.  Nothing has happened about which God has not been wholly aware. If God did not have a plan we would not be here. If you are still breathing, it is because God still has a plan.

Some suggested readings:

  • Romans 4:17-19
  • Hebrews chapter 11
  • Ephesians 3:20

A Time of Decision

      Today’s post will be short but sweet. Some days I just sit and ponder on God’s goodness; I think about how faithful, merciful and kind He has been to me and my family. He has brought me further than I could have imagined at one time. When I began considering marital separation, it was not an easy process or situation to imagine. I sought counsel from my pastors at the time. I talked to my friends and even my children. But at some point along the way I accepted the truth that I was in a situation that simply was not healthy for me and my family. I needed to step away. At least for a season. For some time, I struggled, vacillating back and forth. It was only when I made a firm decision that peace began to flood my soul. And I can truly testify that God has never left me nor forsaken me. One of the most precious gifts I have received as a result of this journey is genuinely coming to understand the love God has for me. I have come to love Him in a way I never dreamed possible, and my love for Him continues to grow daily. My point is this: when I had to make a really tough decision, God was with me through it all even though it was scary. And the truth is, He will do the same for you, whatever your situation. God knows your situation; I do not. However, I do know one thing: whatever decision you may be wrestling over today,  your heavenly Father will be with you. He will lead you. He will guide you. He will provide for and protect you. And He will never leave you because He loves you.

May God richly bless you this week, and may His peace flood your soul. I pray He would give you the direction you seek, and the wisdom you need according to the unique circumstances of your situation.