At the beginning of this year, the Most High is reminding us, His children through Yeshua (Jesus) as He did the children of Israel through Joshua:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
He promises to be with us wherever we go, in whatever situation whether perilous or peaceful. In addition, our heavenly Father promises to go ahead of us and be our rear guard in our pursuit of holiness (Isaiah 52:10-12) as this is His predestined plan for our lives.
The children of Israel were told by the Most High to follow closely behind the ark of the Tabernacle, symbolic of His presence, so that they would be led and protected by the Angel of covenant (Exodus 3:8) to where He was taking them because they have never been that way before (Joshua3:4). Likewise, we are to cultivate a lifestyle in His presence daily.
Two key things that our heavenly Father requires of us which guarantee His sustained presence are humility and obedient. Scripture reminds us that our Father “resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 NKJV). Regarding obedience, Yeshua says
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him…If anyoneloves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me (John 14:21-23 NJKV).
As we trust our heavenly Father to lead and protect us throughout the year, may we remember that we also have a part to play in our covenant relationship with Him.
The journey through the promised land for Israel was a powerful illustration of how God’s people then as now go through the journey of life with a cycle of challenges, problems and obstacles some of which seem insurmountable.
Every step of the way through the promised land was a step of faith, at times their faith was so weak that they murmured, many resorted to idolising a golden calf and some did not even make it to the promised land.
In Joshua 3:3-4 when the LORD told them to follow after the Ark of the Covenant carried by the priests, the Israelites did not know where they were going, as they had never been that way before. They therefore did not know how close or how far they were to the promised land. They had to put their trust totally in God who alone knew the way.
Likewise without God’s leading we do not know what is ahead of us. Without Him we have no idea at what stage of our breakthrough we are in or how long we still need to wait until we receive what we believe God has promised us in personal prophecy or through His Word.
In the wilderness journey the Israelites were led by a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day and received constant counsel and instruction as guidance by God through Moses and then Joshua, as New Covenant believers in our journey of life, we have access to the revelatory realm of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit. We cannot and should not underestimate the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives to draw us closer to God so that we know Him as well as His will and direction for our lives.
When we trust God, we are willing to obey Him and do so by taking steps of faith through the leading of the Holy Spirit in the direction in which He is leading us.
The greatest steps of faith based on our trust in God we will need to take are at the beginning or at the brink of our undertaking, be it a journey, a new job, a project or a ministry.
I sense this juncture is the point at which Satan reinforces his natural and spiritual armies against our progression, attempting to sabotage our plans and therefore these are times when we should strengthen ourselves through intensified or increased prayer, fasting and praise as well as scriptural meditation.
CROSSING THE RED SEA
An illustration of the intensified danger at the commencement of a journey with the intention of stopping it: when the Israelites had just left Egypt they thought the final plague was enough to keep Pharaoh from pursuing them but they were greatly mistaken for he mobilized his horsemen with their chariots and pursued them! The Israelites were terrified as they realised they had no where to turn, with Pharaoh and his army closing in behind them and the Red Sea before them.
But they served a God who is omnipotent and omniscient. He is the sovereign one Adonai, who always has the last word on any matter, for He is the creator and controller of the universe. God foreknew this would happen and devised a miraculous plan of deliverance which would be one of the all time miraculous testimonies the world has ever heard of and would be recounted from generation to generation. Right before their eyes the Red Sea parted and they were able to cross over safely, however Pharaoh’s horsemen and chariots drowned.
“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (Is. 59:19b)
CROSSING THE JORDAN
“The priests who carried the Ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.” (Joshua 3:17NASB)
The nation of Israel had come to the end of their journey and their last hurdle was the crossing of the Jordan River which would take them into the promised land. Here we find another water path as the Red Sea which if but for God would have served as a great obstacle to them moving forward to attain His promises.
As with the Red Sea, the Jordan River (Joshua 3:13) was parted supernaturally by God for them to walk across.
It is worth noting how the Lord kept the waters of the Jordan River on one side; the priests carrying “the Ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan” until all the Israelites had finished crossing it.
At the brink of the Israelites’ entry into the promised land, this imagery speaks louder than words and is very powerful; The Ark and the priests carrying it, speak of God’s presence and “Right Hand” or intercessory might in the midst of obstacles so that a way is made for deliverance or release. It also makes a statement that nothing, not even the laws of nature, can withstand God’s power of intervention for the sake of His people.
“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth;…I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.” (Isa.43:19 KJV)
God is today speaking in the same way to us. Our Royal High Priest Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit are not only leading the way, but also making intercession for us in the midst of every situation so that a way is made for us to enter into our promises.
God therefore strategises to take us through every hurdle safely. Our part is to trust and obey for the manifestation of a glorious outcome.
TRUST, OBEY AND TAKE STEPS OF FAITH INTO YOUR PROMISES
In both cases, at the beginning of the journey through the wilderness and at the end so as to enter the promised land, the Israelites were blessed with the miracle of the parting of waters so that they could walk across.
The LORD was saying “the greater the danger you are facing, or is advancing behind you, the greater the miracle I will outwork to deliver you and bring you to the place I am sending you”.
How easy is it to cross over parted waters? It takes great trust in the one who parted it to decide to obey them and take steps of faith to walk across, knowing that they will keep it parted until you get to the other side.
The Israelites who left Israel were not the same crowd who entered the promised land apart from two, Joshua and Caleb. God made sure that the crowd who left Egypt with Joshua and Caleb did not receive their inheritance, instead they died in the wilderness. Why? because of their unbelief.
Joshua and Caleb represented a generation who had a different spirit, in other words they trusted God to do what was impossible to man. They were people of great faith in God and fearless of the giants they would encounter in the promised land (Numbers 11). It is therefore this generation that God chose to enter the promised land. When we trust God, we are fearless, quick to obey and activate our faith in Him so that He is glorified. These are the qualities of the Joshua and Caleb generation, qualities necessary to receive and sustain the promises of God.
Friends, let us examine our hearts today and ask ourselves, are we among the Joshua & Caleb generation in these last days before the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?
Is there anything “old ways of Egypt” in us i.e. mindsets, attitudes, presumptions, secret faults that must die or be overcome so that we can truly be consecrated unto God as true worshippers.
It is never too late to re-address areas of our lives and put things right so that we attain the fullness of our inheritance in God through Jesus Christ. God reveals to redeem.
Thank you for the promises and destiny you have for me.
Forgive me when I have not trusted you or I have been fearful to take steps of faith according to your word.
I am thankful that as you are all knowing, you have a plan or strategy to overcome every obstacle or danger on my behalf by your mighty power.
I ask that you would help me to stay in that place of trusting you completely with every decision and direction I desire to take knowing that you will redirect my course if it is not your will.
Presidents come and presidents go, but God who allowed their election & period in office always remains on the throne. He has the final say in world events as in individual lives. If He allows them then they form a part of His plan.
Therefore let us rejoice in all things, regardless of who is president or prime minister or who approves/ likes us or not. Our sense of significance or worth, potential to fulfil our God given destiny should be derived from God and God alone.
Therefore don’t be angry at anyone as if they are your master or lord, rather look deep within while in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and you will be enlightened daily to the treasure of an identity and destiny especially planned for you.
Let us also stand up for the weak and vulnerable always as Christ would do, using every opportunity to glorify God in whatever we say and do.
“You can fix anything but a blank page just start writing.” I received an email with this quote.
In a Christian context and with a Christian mindset I would say I cannot fix anything including a blank page to be honest.
I used to think I could fix things myself, and it was not because I was trained in DIY techniques nor think that I had a natural creative flair in relation to physically putting things together. Also it was not because I thought I was gifted with an abundance of wisdom to transform things, people or life in general.
Such a mindset developed not consciously but subconsciously rooted I believe in the carnal fallen nature of self dependence and a tendency to control and manipulate situations for a self satisfied outcome.
But when I came to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I gradually realised that everything I personally tried to fix or concoct without Christ being at the centre, although it may have looked perfect on the outside would in no time result in pain and heartache or not bear godly fruit.
Likewise in my writing life, I have noticed a blank page will stay blank or sprawled with my own facts, details and stories if I have not spent quality time with my heavenly Father consistently. I give glory to God that my call to write remained private for a good number of years before it became very public after which there was no holding me back!!
Privately, I learnt to write daily devotionals, words of encouragement from God to me personally and prophecies I did not feel compelled to show anyone but to pray about so that they would come to fruition. I learnt to discern increasingly God’s voice and to distinguish it from other voices including my own. I also enjoyed preparing for my cell group meetings. While I wrote out my thoughts, reflections and questions for the group, I always did so only after a time of prayer and worship surrendering the whole cell meeting to God and yielding to Him to direct me to His choice of scriptures to use. God is my source of inspiration and wisdom in ministry as in every area of my life.
In my writing ministry, I perceive God as the writer, the poet or the “Word-Smith”, and I am His “Pen”. As His “Pen”, I am His vessel of inspiration to me first and then through me to others. I am still learning to yield more and more daily in every area of ministry to God’s prompting and voice.
Through Christ, God is reconciling the world back to himself and as believers in Christ we are commissioned to do likewise in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is how powerful we are in whatever ministry we engage in for Christ and that includes writing.
May we give ourselves wholeheartedly to every ministry stream we are called to whether it is writing, evangelism, preaching or feeding the hungry for our Almighty God is ever present and working through His people in all these areas.
It is my personal belief and I state that from experience that believers in Christ need to stay constantly tuned in to God for inspiration and not only through bible study, prayer and singing praises but also by being attentive to events around them and in the world at large.
Why? This is because God speaks through everything or situations around us and this includes people’s actions, nature and the world as a whole. Praying for spiritual gifts is very important because a writer needs to sharpen their sensitivity to God which includes their ability to hear from Him as to what He wants them to write about among other things.
After all Jesus said that He only did what he saw the Father doing and that the works he did were not his own for the Father who sent Him was doing the works. As a born again Christian writer my confession is the same as that of Christ; I set my gaze on God daily so that He takes absolute control and works through me which includes fixing things and the blank page.
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