Friday, August 12, 2022

"Joy Stealers"

"And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight." Numbers 13:32,33

When the Lord delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, He intended to bring them into their own land-- a land of freedom that flowed with milk and honey. There was great joy among them because after all that time in bondage it was finally going to happen- they were finally going into the land that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. On the verge of entering, Moses sent spies to check out the land. The spies told them that the land was indeed a good land-- flowing with milk and honey, grapes, houses, vineyards, etc. But they also told them there were giants in the land. Even though they saw the good things that God had promised, even though they knew God could take care of the giants just as He had Pharaoh, the giants "stole" their joy. The fear of them outweighed the joy.

The Lord has given you a vision, a promise, a calling, a destination. You know it's from Him, you know this is where He is leading you, and it looks as though the door is finally opening and you are excited with great joy at the idea of "inheriting" and "fulfilling" the promise. You are ready to go in, you can see the potential, you can "see" the "milk, honey and clusters of grapes", but then you all of a sudden you see the "giants" and your heart begins to sink.

You know God has called you to start a business and it looks like the door is opening, but then you "see" the giants- the monthly expenses of rent, utilities, insurance, supplies, employee wages, etc. How will you pay them? You know God has called you to get an education in a certain field. The door opens to go to college, but then you "see" the giants-- the studying, the tests, Algebra. Am I smart enough? Am I too old to learn it? You know the Lord has promised to restore your marriage or to save your children, but then the giants appear-- you discover he/she is seeing someone else; your child gets arrested. In every promise that awaits there is a giant there too.

When they went into the land to spy it out, they saw both-- the good things and the giants. Perhaps that is where you are, you can see the good things God has promised, but you also along with them see the giants. The spies focused more on the giants and therefore told the people, "We can't do it". They let the giants steal their joy and promise. Don't let the giants steal your joy. Don't focus on them. As a matter of fact, don't even focus on the "milk and honey"- the promise. Focus and stay focused on God. When you do, the giants can't steal your joy, they can't stop you, they pose no threat to you, they are already taken care of and defeated by God.

Have a great day. Don't let the giants that you see steal your joy.

For further reading:
Numbers 13

Thursday, August 11, 2022

"It Is Temporary"

"And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth." Numbers 33:5

When the Lord delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, the first place they stopped at was Succoth. The name Succoth means booths. The dictionary defines booths as: a temporary structure made of any type of material. Succoth was not their destination; the promised land was. It was just a temporary stopping place on the journey to their destination.

When Joseph was thrown into the pit, it was not his final destination. The palace was his destination. The pit was a temporary place intended to get him to the next level on his journey to the palace. The pit got him into Potiphar's house (which too was a temporary place.)

If you know that God has a purpose for you to fulfill and where you are is not it, don't get discouraged with where you are. Where you are is only a temporary place that is the avenue to get you to the next level and one step closer to His purpose. Our problem is we want to bypass these temporary places and get straight to the "palace", "the promise land", "the goal". Joseph never would have made it to the palace- God's purpose- had he not gone through the pit, Potiphar's house and the prison first. But they were all temporary places. Don't see where you are as the destination, but rather a steppingstone to the next place in God's plan.

Before my husband had to retire from offshore, he was in a supervisory position. But when he first started working in the oilfield thirty years earlier, he didn't start out as a supervisor. He started out in the lowest position there was. After a period of time, he finally worked his way up to his final position. All the positions he had worked in were only temporary (they were like booths). They were steps to get from one level to another. But he had to go through each, just like Joseph did and just like you and I have to do in order to get to that final level.

So enjoy, be content and learn from this place where you are. And remember that it is only temporary, but you have to pass through it in order to get to God's intended destination for you.

Have a great day. Where you are is only a temporary stopping place, not your final destination.

For further reading:
Philippians 4:11
Romans 8:28

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

"Demotion And Promotion"

"And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison." Genesis 39:20

When Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, he wound up in a man name Potiphar's house. The Lord blessed him and caused him to have favor with Potiphar so much so that he was made overseer of his house and all that he had. Joseph was in a place of position and authority even though he was a slave.

One day Potiphar's wife tried to get Joseph to commit adultery with her. He refused and ran out of the house. In his haste he left his garment behind, and she used it as evidence to support her lie that Joseph had tried to force himself on her. Joseph was thrown into prison.

"What happened?", I am sure he asked. The test came-- would he obey the commands of the Lord and abstain from sexual immorality or give in; would he do the right thing and resist or not? He did the right thing, He followed the commandments of the Lord, he remained faithful to his God and loyal to Potiphar, yet he was thrown into prison.

On the surface it looked as though following the Lord and keeping His commandments only got him in trouble. He certainly didn't look blessed because he did. He passed the test, but the outcome looked like he failed. It cost him-- he went from a position of authority to a prisoner in the king's prison. Joseph didn't realize at the time that what looked like a demotion actually brought him closer to his promotion. Being put in the prison brought him one step closer to the palace.

Often when we have done the right thing (the thing that pleases God) and it seems to "back-fire" on us and it looks like we have been "demoted", what's happening is that it is bringing us closer to our promotion. Joseph would not have made it to the palace had he not gone through the prison. The prison was the reward (although it didn't look like it at the time) for passing the test because it positioned him for the promise. He had to go "down" (demotion) before he could go "up" (promotion) because going "down" is the route that leads "up".

Have a great day. What looks like a demotion may actually be positioning you for promotion.

For further reading:
Genesis 39; 41

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

"Warning Signals"

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot." Revelation 3:15

We live a world that is full of warning signals. The yellow light on a traffic light warns you to slow down and get ready to stop. The signal lights at the railroad track warn you that a train is coming. The sirens at the local Civil Defense warn you that a tornado is in the area. The rippled asphalt on the side of the highway warns you that you are getting off the road. All these warning signals serve a purpose. They let you know when you are in danger. They are meant to be heeded and not ignored if you want to be safe.

There are spiritual warning signals that let us know when we are in danger spiritually. The most dangerous place for us to be is in a place of lukewarmness. There are warning signs that will let you know if you are there. Some of them are lack of love for others; lack of love for God's word; lack of prayer. How are you treating others? Are you exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit in your life? Are you going for days without picking up your Bible and reading it? When was the last time you prayed-- only when you have a need or are in trouble? Is your assembling with other believers going lacking? Are you hungering and thirsting after righteousness? Are you doing the first works? How do you spend the majority of your time?

If you are seeing these things in your life, they are warning signals. Pay attention to them. If you are driving and approach a railroad track and the crossing gate comes down in front of you you are not going to keep going, you are going to stop. You will heed it or you are putting yourself in grave danger. Heed the spiritual warning signs, don't ignore them or you are putting yourself in the danger of becoming lukewarm.

Have a great day. Don't ignore the warning signals, pay attention to them.

For further reading:
Revelation 2:4,5; 3:13,16
Matthew 5:6

Monday, August 8, 2022

"Let's Just Praise The Lord"

"Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" Psalm 107:8

We are always in need of something and if we are wise we will take that need to the Lord because He is the one who meets and supplies all our needs. But in our communion with Him is that all we do-- make request and ask for something? There is another side to communion and it's praise. The verse above is repeated four times word for word in the same chapter. The writer must be trying to say something. 

When was the last time you just praised Him without asking anything? This morning will you join me in praising Him for His goodness, for His faithfulness, for His grace and mercy. Praise Him for His forgiveness that runs deep, for His great, incomprehensible and unconditional love, for not sparing His one and only Son to pay the ransom for our sins. Praise Him for lifting you up out of the pit, for setting your feet upon the solid foundation, for writing your name in His Book of Life, for His healing, delivering power. Praise Him for His loving-kindness and care. Praise Him for meeting all your spiritual, physical and material needs. Praise Him for not leaving you nor forsaking you. Praise Him for the air you breath. "Oh that you would praise Him!" He is worthy of all praise!!! He has done great and mighty things. He is great and greatly to be praised! Like the song says, "I never would have made it"-- you never would have made it period without the Lord. So, give Him praise and give Him glory. And do it not only when you feel like it, not only when He comes through with the answer you have been waiting for, not only when things are going well, but praise Him because He is good, and He is worthy of all praise!

Have a great day. When was the last time you "just praised the Lord"?

For further reading:
Psalm 107:15,21,31; 7:17; 146:1; 48:1