Step up!

“I want to run away,” I sometimes say, half-jokingly, when I feel like the challenges are too much. In that moment, a little cabin on a river somewhere deep in the mountains of Idaho sounds inviting – yes, just for a minute. What’s your escape fantasy?

The book that tells the story of Israel’s conquest of Canaan and their leader, Joshua, opens with the Lord speaking. “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 1:2, NIV)  It is not a stretch of imagination to think that Joshua might have wanted to run away at that moment.

The Israelites were a fickle people, quarrelsome; in no way could we say that they were easy to lead. Jericho, a walled town right across the Jordan River, stood as a reminder that the campaign of conquest wouldn’t be a walk in the park. For 40 years he had been the guy in the second chair. Yes, he was faithful and wise, but Moses was the point man. Now, he’s dead and God hands the job to Joshua!

The Lord is calling you (and me) today. The old era is gone, a new one is emerging that has new challenges, that demands new strategies, that requires us to apply the unchanging principles of our ancient faith to the demands of life in 2020.  Every Christian is gifted by the Spirit to serve somewhere in the purposes of God. Yes, friend, that includes you.  Your family needs a godly Mom who prays for them and shows them the way. That place where you work needs a person who is filled with Light, who reflects Christ. Your church needs you to join the mission – giving, serving, working, praying – so that the work of God will be accomplished in your community. If you’re not hearing a calling that makes you at least a little afraid, may I suggest you may not be listening to the Spirit?

God  gave him promises, assurances that we can build our faith around as well

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.

Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:6-9, NIV)

The last line is the foundation  –  “The Lord will be with you!”  

Jesus repeated that promise to us. Go and make disciples of all the nations … and be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NLT)  Nothing replaces that confidence that comes from His Presence. I remember being a little boy walking with my Dad. When he was holding my hand, I wasn’t afraid of anything. I thought he was Superman. Our God is the Almighty, the Lord of glory, and He is with us, never leaving us.  

So …

Be strong and courageous.”  
Joshua had a choice to make. He could hide in his tent, fearful of the future, OR he could make the choice to step up.   The same choice faces us today. Will we get up and get going? Will we choose strength and courage?  These are not to be confused with bravado, that false ‘courage’ that is fueled by pride. We are strong because the Spirit lives in us. Believe it.

“Meditate in the Word.”  
What fills your thoughts? Do you let your mind wander down pathways of fear, of self-indulgence, of doubt? Feed yourself on the Word of God. The Psalm reminds us that the godly person will “delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1:2-3, NIV)

Yes, that is a key part of living in God’s promises. We do not get to choose which parts we like. He wants all of us or none of us! Let’s respond quickly to Him to avoid the false assurance of saying, “Lord, Lord,” without really letting own us – heart, soul, mind, and strength.

And then He says, “you will be prosperous and successful.” 
God does not intend for us to think that means every Christian will be rich and famous. Those may be part of our cultural ideas of prosperity and success but they are not God’s.  What He promised Joshua (and us) is that when we follow Him faithfully, He will give us insight and wisdom. His wisdom poured into us allows us to become a person of influence, full of the best kind of life and leading others to the same.

This is true success, to be able to say like Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, NLT)

There are rivers to cross, a world to be won, so let us step up to the challenge, taking our holy calling to be the people of the Light, bringing God’s glory to this dark world. Daunting? Sometimes it is. Costly? Always. But, remember that clincher – “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The word from the Word is my favorite benediction from my favorite book. Receive the blessing.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21, NIV)


Way Maker

You are here moving in our midst
I worship You I worship You
You are here working in this place
I worship You I worship You

Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper,
Light in the darkness, my God that is who You are
You are here touching ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You

You are here healing ev’ry heart
I worship You I worship You
You are here turning lives around
I worship You I worship You

You are here mending ev’ry heart
I worship You yeah I worship You Lord
That is who You are
That is who You are
That is who You are
That is who You are

Even when I don’t see it You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it You’re working
You never stop You never stop working
You never stop You never stop working

Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu © 2016 Integrity Music Europe (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music [DC Cook]))

CCLI License # 810055

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