The Booster Rocket
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses My servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites.” Joshua 1:1-2
A rocket launch is truly an amazing phenomenon to me. Tons of weight is stacked vertically to the sky with thousands of gallons of fuel exploding in a matter of moments. Soon the rocket drops its take-off boosters and uses additional boosters to move the rocket to the next stage of the mission. The first engines have a unique purpose…to get the rocket to the next stage.
Joshua was known for almost 40 years as “Joshua, servant of Moses.” God’s preparation for him required years of selfless service, training in the desert, and tests of faith. Those preparation years were booster rockets designed to move Joshua into each new stage of his development and his ultimate calling.
God allows each of us preparation times to lay a foundation that He plans to build on. Some of those foundation times appear to be laborious and meaningless, yet these varied experiences are what God is using to frame your life for the message He plans to speak through you. Without these foundational experiences, the Jordan River can never be crossed and we cannot enter the Promised Land.
Embrace these times of seeming inactivity from God. They, too, are a rocket booster to your next stage of your walk with God.
Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
Mindful of You
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him?
Recommended Reading – Psalm 111:1-9
When the ancients looked up at the heavens, they didn’t know what they were seeing. We may know more about the universe than they did, but we still know relatively little. The observable universe is thought to be 92 billion light-years in diameter — and one light-year is 6 trillion miles. So do the math: 92 billion times 6 trillion equals . . . well, it equals a long way from one side of the observable universe to the other. And what about the unobservable part?
Based just on what they saw and understood of the heavens, the ancient biblical writers were overwhelmed with their smallness measured against its immensity. And they were amazed that God invested time and attention in them. When we have problems in life, they seem very large — and they are. But when we consider that God is powerful enough to have created the universe, we realize He is more than capable of meeting our needs.
God cares about you and your needs. Bring them to Him in a spirit of worship and thanksgiving, knowing that He is mindful of your place in His creation.
The vast majority of mankind never gives a thought of gratitude towards God for all His care and blessings.
Donald Grey Barnhouse
Is Perception Reality?
“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18).
One the great acts of the prophet Elijah took place at Mount Carmel where he called down fire upon the altar of Baal and slaughtered 400 prophets of Baal. I have been to Mount Carmel in Israel and stood upon this mountain where this took place. Once the miracle took place Elijah was forced to flee because Jezebel swore to take his life for what he did.
Elijah went into depression after this event. He fled to the desert and sat under a broom tree and asked God to let him die. He was so discouraged because he felt he was the only godly prophet left in the land of Israel. This is often what happens after God does a significant work through us. Satan comes along and wants to steal what God has done and bring the servant of God down. Satan makes us believe a lie about our situation. This was the case for Elijah.
Elijah’s perception was not reality. He thought he was the last of the prophets. He could not see what God was doing. God informed Elijah that there were actually seven thousand of His representatives in the land who had not bowed down to Baal. Now give some thought to that statement. Elijah thought he was the only one left. God says there are 7,000 left! What a discrepancy in perception and reality.
This is often the case for you and I. We look at our situations and conclude based on the circumstances that reality must be this way. But God says, “No, you do not see what I see or what I know or what I am doing. The situation is very different than what you are perceiving.”
Be careful not to draw conclusions about your situation that may not be based on truth. God always has a plan for His servants that we may not know about. Ask God to give you His perception of the situation, not yours.
A Shoe Salesman
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” Matthew 19:26
Dwight L. Moody was a poorly educated, unordained, shoe salesman who felt God’s call to preach the gospel. Early one morning he and some friends gathered in a hay field for a season of prayer, confession, and consecration. His friend Henry Varley said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.” Moody was deeply moved by these words. He later went to a meeting where Charles Spurgeon was speaking. In that meeting Moody recalled the words spoken by his friend, “The world had yet to see!…with and for and through and in!…A man!” Varley meant any man! Varley didn’t say he had to be educated, or brilliant, or anything else. Just a man! Well, by the Holy Spirit in him, he’d be one of those men. Then suddenly, in that high gallery, he saw something he’d never realized before. It was not Mr. Spurgeon, after all, who was doing that work; it was God. And if God could use Mr. Spurgeon, why should He not use the rest of us, and why should we not all just lay ourselves at the Master’s feet and say to Him, “Send me! Use me!”
D.L. Moody was an ordinary man who sought to be fully and wholly committed to Christ. God did extraordinary things through this ordinary man. Moody became one of the great evangelists of modern times. He founded a Bible college, Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, which sends out men and women trained in service for God. Are you an ordinary man or woman in whom God wants to do extraordinary things? God desires that for every child of His. Ask God to do extraordinary things in your life. Begin today to trust Him to accomplish great things for His Kingdom through you.
Yesterday’s Fights / Today’s Faith
Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.
1 Samuel 17:36
Recommended Reading – 1 Samuel 17:40-51
When the shepherding lad, David, went to check on his brothers in the army, he was alarmed to find them paralyzed with fear because of the threats of a Philistine giant named Goliath. The whole army seemed stupefied, from King Saul down to the lowest ranks. David offered to take on the giant, but his brothers were scornful and Saul was doubtful. “You are a youth,” Saul said. But David told him how he had killed the lion and the bear that had threatened his flocks. In verse 37, he said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
And God did.
Our Lord’s past performance of faithfulness is an ever-present comfort during times of distress. One of the reasons God allows trials is to strengthen our faith for the future. Don’t waste yesterday’s lessons by forgetting the deliverance of God. The same God who delivered you from the lion and the bear will give you victory and grace today and tomorrow.
Never, never forget the things He has done.
David Jeremiah, in When Your World Falls Apart
The Everlasting Arms
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Recommended Reading – Psalm 107:28-30
On May 7, 1710, the great Bible scholar Matthew Henry preached a sermon entitled “The Everlasting Arms.” It was the final message in a three-and-a-half-year series of sermons on the subject of the Promises of God. To Matthew Henry, God’s promises were His everlasting arms. They support us, bear us, carry us, and we can never exhaust them. “They are a foundation of our faith, and we have them as such,” said Henry. “On these we are to build all our expectations from God; and in all temptations and trials we have them to rest our souls upon. . . . We have them as the means by which the grace of God works for our holiness and comfort, for by these we are made partakers of a divine nature.”
When trouble comes, we have a refuge that we can run to. The Everlasting Arms, which are represented by the promises of God, will provide the shelter we require, regardless of the circumstances.
If you’re in a storm today, find a precious promise, fix your thoughts upon it, and discover afresh that your eternal God is your refuge.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms; I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms.
The Butterfly Principle
“The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.” Exodus 14:8
Overprotective parents do their children a great injustice. The caterpillar that lies inside the cocoon will never become the beautiful butterfly if someone cuts open the cocoon prematurely. It is the struggle itself that allows the butterfly to emerge as a strong, new creature of nature.
God understands how necessary this process is. That is why we are allowed to experience difficult, often life-changing events. He even orchestrates them-all for our benefit. What the Israelites thought was a cruel joke when Pharaoh sent troops to pursue them after they had been freed and penned against the shore of the Red Sea became the stage for the most publicized miracle of all time-the parting of the Red Sea. Generation after generation has heard this incredible story of deliverance. God puts us against the “Red Seas” in order to show His power in and through us. If we do not know God can deliver, then we can never learn to trust Him. Circumstances that go beyond our capabilities of solving them place us at God’s complete mercy. This is how He likes it.
Do not fear the calamity that comes your way. If you are faithful to Him in the test, you will see God’s power manifested like never before. Just as the Israelites were able to sing a song of deliverance, you too will have your own testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness; and you will be able to recall it for others to build your faith and theirs.