A couple of weekends ago, I was privileged to speak to a group of officers and spouses at the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The theme of the weekend was Trust, Obey and Pray, and I felt as if God was urging me to add the word "Courage" to the theme, for we cannot truly trust and obey, if we haven't faith and God's courage to do so.
Months before as I was praying about the event, I sensed God speaking to my soul. I picked up a scrap piece of paper and a pen, and sitting down in my thinking chair, I began to write the following message:
"It's time to get uncomfortable. Comfort and security has long since passed. This is the time for courage and obedience. We have been chosen for this point in history. God will equip, but it is going to take great withstraint on our part to not act on our own accord; to not run ahead. Things may get unconventional, but these are exciting times."
Uncomfortable? Unconventional? Are these words we like to hear when it comes to the times we are living in?
What about exciting? Do I watch the news and think, "Wow! I'm excited about what's going on? Definitely not. However, if you put everything into perspective...God's perspective....then I guess it could be considered exciting. Let me explain.
I believe we are about to witness the greatest unfolding of God's power this world has ever seen. It is exciting to think that it might not be long until our Lord and Savior returns.
All signs are pointing to a climactic conclusion. Things that I never thought in a million years I would witness first hand, are happening all over the world.
Never before in history are we witnessing a greater assault on the family unit, democracy, integrity, the sanctity of life, or our safety both personal and corporately.
The tricky part is that in the midst of all this chaos, you and I are on the front lines of the battlefield. We have a front row seat to the unfolding of scripture.
These days we are living in are uncomfortable. Ungodliness is on the rise. Evil is no longer lurking in the dark alley ways, but is lit up a like a neon billboard in Vegas.
We have leaders who are making unprecedented decisions which affect each of us, however, through all of it, Christians are called to trust, obey and pray.
- We must trust that He is still in control and that His plans will prevail.
- That we will obey, doing our part so that others may know Him.
- And finally, to pray that God will give us the strength to endure and the encouragement to stand.
Each one of us are going to face battles. They may be physical in nature, spiritual battles, battles at work...at home...yet still others may be battles of the mind. God's response through each of them is to take courage.
How we respond to the battles is crucial because there's a whole world out there watching. We have to ask ourselves two questions:
1. Who will we turn to for help?
2. Will we stand firm or retreat?
If we were to go back and look at the life of Joshua in the Old Testament, we'd find a man who faced numerous battles of giant proportions, yet he chose to trust God and take courage; to be obedient to God's call on his life.
When others were doubting God's protection and provision, Joshua looked at his mountains then looked at his God. He realized in his heart that his God was big enough to move the mountains.
Do we ever doubt? Have you or I ever limited God's power by getting so focused on the mountain that we turned away from His plan?
We must stop looking at the battle line, and instead focus on the One who is in charge of angel armies! He tell us just as He told Joshua, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
What battles are you facing today? Perhaps you are being persecuted for your faith or being overlooked for a promotion. Maye there is a critical incident still haunting your thoughts and affecting every aspect of your life, or your battle is at home - your marriage falling apart and all you can do is cry out to God in sheer frustration, "WHY?"
Whatever the battle....God is the answer!
Just as God told Joshua to prepare and make himself (and the people) ready to receive the blessings He had for them, we must prepare to receive.
Are you spending time in prayer?
Seeking God through His word?
Are you attending a God-centered, Bible believing church?
These are your battle tools...your armor, and a necessity in preparing for the fight.
Finally, look around. Even in the midst of your battles, God is there. Bible scholar Matthew Henry once said, "Christ will be to His people what their faith needs." How is He showing Himself to you today?
To Joshua, He appeared as a man with a drawn sword - the Commander of the Army of the LORD, offering strength and encouragement for the battle ahead.
For you it may look like a phone call, an email or a much needed word of encouragement from a friend. Keep your eyes open and your heart attuned to God's strengthening. If you do, like Joshua, you will find that the sides of your mountain come tumbling down making the way for victory.
Today be encouraged. Though things seem hopeless and dark, God is still in control. Take comfort, Joshua! Trust, Obey and Pray!