Courage in the Crisis

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

“One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, just as He promised you.” Joshua 23:10 (ESV)

“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.” Joshua 23:14 (ESV)

Photo by u0410u043du043du0430 u0420u044bu0436u043au043eu0432u0430 on Pexels.com

Over the past few days I have kept hearing the word “courage” within my spirit and then saw this word in front of me during my Bible reading time as I make my way through the book of Joshua. What was even more ironic, or more so divinely aligned was that about one month ago, I found a bible study reading plan on this book that I never completed. I picked up the book and scanned my brain as I perused through the lesson plans, trying to devise a time when I would be able to use and apply it. Well, here we are and now what a mighty word courage truly is, especially during these unsteady times.

As you may or may not know, I love to study and when I see a word that speaks to me, I look up different definitions that may ring a bell and widen the scope of my perception. In searching the word on dictionary.com, two definitions stuck out which I believe are applicable during this period of history in the making. The first definition is the “ability to do something that frightens one” and the second is “strength in the face of pain or grief”.  I then understood why God commanded Joshua several times to be strong and courageous because strength is a pre-requisite for courage. And if there were ever a time when both are needed, it is right now.

I am not sure what you may be facing or embracing that is frightening, but I know God has a word and promise for us all. If you have time during your isolation season and if like me, you need courage during the crisis, read the book of Joshua. It literally points out God’s commands, what He spoke over His people and the fulfillment of those promises. When He spoke to Joshua in the 1st chapter, Joshua was taking over leadership from someone whom everyone respected that had just died; Moses. I imagine that Joshua may have considered himself not qualified, but God commanded Him to be that which He was calling him to be.

What is God commanding you to do during this “Covid-crisis”? If He can create a leader out of one person who would bring His chosen to the land He promised, then what do you think He can do through you? What scares you most about this season of seclusion and what promise is God trying to fulfill in your life right now?  God will give us the courage we need to confront our fears, but we must do what He has commanded us to complete. This act of obedience is tied to our blessing and if He can call Joshua up to the forefront, then imagine where He may be preparing to send you?

Stay Encouraged in Him!

A Pregnant Pause

Have you been wondering lately what God is trying to convey to you in this season we are all in or is it just me? I had a recent conversation with a group of friends that I pray with every Thursday evening and I mentioned that I felt like I was on pause and needed prayer in order to learn the lesson that I need to learn to graduate to the next level that God is taking me to. Although there is so much happening all around us and its literally hard to keep track of what is the latest guidance, I also sense a pause in the world that is divinely connected to our purpose and the will that God has for our life.

Yesterday morning, I listened to a sermon and the pastor literally mentioned the word “pause”. My ears perked up since I said the same word the day before which made me even more intrigued that I felt this, someone said it and that God was trying to convey something to me in that moment. During these uncertain times, I have been reading more Psalms lately because I can so relate to the words that are pouring out like a river flowing, often creating additional conversation between me and God. After reading this verse, I asked Him what He wanted me to take away from this and it was right there in bold letters: “be still and know.”  

When I first analyzed the “be still” part, I thought about the journey as a moment of pregnancy when the development and incubation of a precious person or animal is being molded and formed in order to be released into the world. I then sensed that during this time where we must stay in and isolate from others, that God wants us to be still; not lazy or distracted, but still. In this stillness, He can communicate to us on a different frequency if we receive it, which can birth beauty out of the ashes we experience daily.

As I settled into this, I then reviewed the next statement “and know that I am God.”  I mean, I know that He is God, but when I read it again and again, I felt it. It was peace. Knowing who God is in your life provides us with the encouragement we need to get up each day and to embrace what we are to face. If we allow Him in to actually create the metamorphosis in our life right now as we are being separated and perhaps set apart for something greater, then, like the end of a pregnancy, we will give birth to something that only God can place in us. As you continue your coping in quarantine, try meditating on this scripture verse for the next seven days and ask God to reveal the “be still and know” part of the verse on a personal and intimate level.

As we enter into the second trimester of this year, create space to be still in His presence and to know that He is God, your God, our God now and forever more.

Stay Encouraged!

Be Stirred, Not Shaken

“Not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word..” 2Thessalonians 2:2-3 (ESV)

All I can say is that it has been an interesting few weeks. I think we all can agree that life as we know it will NEVER be the same. It can rattle the mind and distress our spirit if we are not careful and over the last few days as I watched the news, read social media posts and studied the statistics regarding the rate at which this virus is increasing, I thought to myself, “if we are not rooted in faith in our God, this will shake us to our core.”

This is a season where anything that can be shaken will be shaken. We see it all around us. Every man made foundation is being shaken right now and any sense of normalcy has been altered and we as a people have had to make life altering adjustments in order to bear it all. I do not know if you experienced this, but March especially this year has felt extremely long and tortuous to me and if I did not believe in the God I serve who is FAITHFUL, I do not think I would be able to handle all of this.

I am not diminishing those feelings of concern and uncertainty and when I began to sense my spirit becoming off-balanced, I have to go right to the source; God and the Bible, in order to turn down the dial of fear. God led me to read the book of 2 Thessalonians this morning and after reading this letter to the church of Thessalonica, I recognized how aligned it is to what we are experiencing today and that we must really ready ourselves for what is next and know what we believe and who we really serve.

I encourage you to seek God to stir you up from the inside out. Prepare your mind and spirit through His leading. Focus on using your gifts in these challenging times to be a portal of energy and light for someone else. Remember who your God is, what He has said about you concerning your life and the promises that He has given you through His Word. Stand firm in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13) and do not be shaken, be STIRRED by His Spirit within you.

Stay Encouraged!

His Rock, Your Wave

THE ROCK, His work is perfect; ALL HIS ways are entirely just. A faithful God, without prejudice, HE is righteous and true. (Deuteronomy 32:4)

Have you ever really examined a rock? I mean really examined it? Or even better, have you ever wondered why a rock is named a rock? Well, let us take a moment to get out of what we are thinking right now and shift to this topic for a few minutes. A rock is a solid mass that is formed by three different mechanisms but the running theme is that it is SOLID. When I woke up this morning, I did not know where God would take me, but He took me to this verse and it really solidified (no pun intended) what we as a people should be directing our attention to during this crisis season.

It is so easy to see our storm as an insurmountable wave that will decimate anything in its path. This is a time in our life that no one was ready to handle, but yet here we are dealing with it. What do you think that says about who you believe in? Maybe, you can do the impossible in an impossible situation? Maybe you can overcome the wave by recognizing who your ROCK is? Maybe you need to shift something out of perspective (your wave) and bring to the forefront what is most important (THE ROCK)? What is your maybe?

I know you may literally feel like you are drowning in whatever you are feeling which most likely is rooted in FEAR of the unknown, BUT GOD friends and family. BUT GOD! He is the ROCK. He is the foundation on which we stand. He is a just GOD. He is faithful. He is! He is! Everything you are worrying about or wondering, shift it to HIM. FOCUS on THE ROCK of your salvation. Praise Him even while you are trying to get out of the wave. Stretch out your hand and reach for His ROCK.

I promise, the worrying that you are doing right now is getting you NOWHERE, but believing, worshipping and focusing on HIM will get you EVERYWHERE. So today and each day, FOCUS on THE ROCK. What does He say about your wave?

You are here today for such a time as this and this too shall pass so bypass your wave, stand on HIS ROCK, seek HIM in everything and worry not.

Stay Encouraged. We are in this together!

He Is Your Shelter in Place

Numbers 35:13 And the cities that you give shall be your six cities of refuge (ESV)  

1 Timothy 2:3-4 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (ESV)

I just finished reading through the book of Numbers and all I can say is “Wow”.  This book has provided so much revelation regarding what we are experiencing as world right now. If you think about the times we are living in, we are literally watching history being made before our eyes and it can be overwhelming to even think about. As many regions in the world are ordering a “shelter in place”, due to this modern day plague’s aggressiveness, I remembered reading this passage in Numbers and felt safety in just a few words.

You may be wondering why, so I am going to provide you with a little synopsis. So after the Lord gave Moses instructions for the Israelites to occupy the Promised Land; Canaan, God spoke to Moses about establishing boundaries of Canaan, distributing the land and providing certain cities to certain groups, including refuge cities for those who seek asylum. I looked at this again and thought to myself, “God, you truly think of everything and everyone.” He prepared a place for those who would be out casted due to committing crimes such as murder, to await to be judged.  I kept reading that over and over again because it stirred up something in my spirit and I started to think about the word asylum and refuge as meaning a place for protection and shelter for safety.

This reminded me that God is our refuge and our place of shelter and in these times, now more than ever, we are being ordered to shelter in place and maybe, just maybe, He is urging us to find refuge in Him. He truly desires everyone on earth to be saved and to be kept safe from the entanglements of the enemy so that we can live with Him in eternity. There is one caveat to this though, our free will to believe Jesus as our Savior and to receive the Holy Spirit within us.

This morning, you may be thinking, “God, how am I going to get through this season?” or “God, why is this happening?” The truth is, we may never know fully. There may be conspiracy theories or opinions out there, but that is a moot point. The point is, is that we are being given time to get in agreement with His Word, right now. We are being provided an opportunity to get in relationship with Him on an intimate level. So why waste the moment? If He thought of those who would need asylum during BC times, then why should we underestimate what He can do in 2020?  He has thought of everything and everyone including you and what you are going through. So as you shelter in place, seek His face.

Stay Encouraged.

Are You Worried in Your Wilderness?

Numbers 11:23

God answered Moses, “So do you think I can’t take care of you?”

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

I was up early as usual deep in prayer and in my devotional time with God thinking about what we are experiencing not only as a nation but as a globe and all I can say is that we are in a testing season. I committed this year to read through the Bible again, this time in the Message version and it just so happened, well I should say by divine guidance that today’s message is from Numbers 11-14 and Psalm 33. I challenge you to read this through in its entirety but in a nut shell, the words in the text speaks of a time when the people of Israel, led out of Egypt are in a wilderness, a testing season, a season that we are experiencing now as a world.  

As I read this through, I have to admit that I wanted to put it aside, not ready to dig in, but my mourning spirit longed to know more to reflect and apply what I am reading to my personal life as I know that God’s Word is living and if He is directing me to read something in particular, it is for me to use and understand for myself and perhaps for others. You see, during these times, the people of Israel were complaining, doubting God and all that He is capable of doing, even though He came through for them in so many ways, day after day, month after month, year after year.    

Their posture struck me or convicted me in a way as I thought about recent times when my flesh wanted me to worry, which is so easy to do right now, trust me, I get it. I have to train my mind to remove any thoughts that are out of alignment to what His Word says. As I kept reading, I came up on a sentence where God, speaking directly to Moses asks “So, do you think I can’t take care of you?” (Numbers 11:23 MSG) and the words jumped out at me like a teleprompter. I then felt the urge to write which usually means that someone else like me needs to think about what God is asking especially now.

So as we try to take our wilderness season one day at a time, think about the question God posed to Moses and apply it to your own life. Do you really believe in what He is capable of doing in your life? Do you really trust Him with everything? Do you really believe that He will take care of you? I think we all must position ourselves and realize that what is happening is out of our control, but there is something we can control: our thoughts, belief and will. I urge you as I am urging myself, believe GOD for what you need. He will provide for you. He knows what will happen from the beginning to the end.

When things around you start to fall apart and people begin to show their true selves and the man made infrastructure begins to crumble, press in, remain obedient, have faith, get on your knees and pray, submit to His leading and follow Him all the way.

Stay Encouraged.

By Faith

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11

For some reason I woke up this morning an hour earlier than I normally do. I then tried to will myself back to sleep but felt the urging to get up and get my day going. During this season in my life, when I sense the need to do something, I have learned to be obedient. As I become more discerning, I realize that is the Holy Spirit speaking into me and I just need to obey the call. Little did I know that the longing to write this morning would wash over me as I read my daily bible passage as part of my morning devotional time with God.

I have recently felt an inner stirring, an unrest and a sense of uneasiness within in me that made me question where I am in my walk and not feeling like I am doing enough or that I am drifting a bit from where I am supposed to be in Him. I then realized that my faith had been tested in recent months that has been slowly chipping away at my heart’s desires and slowly affecting my connection with my heavenly Father.  I mean in my head, I know God has me covered and I know that He will provide me with the tools and strategy to be able to serve His purpose, but I was wavering in the faith part because of my lack of belief and because of my impatience. 

And then this happened this morning drawing me closer to Him as I attempted to dissect the meaning behind the message of this scripture reading. As I kept reading, two words kept jumping out at me: “by faith.” As I read it for the first time, I highlighted it, then saw those two words again and highlighted it and then repeated over and over again until after fifteen times, I heard Him speak into me those two words, “by faith”. If Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses’ parents, Moses, the people of Israel and Rahab used their faith in Him to keep going and go through their journey, then so can we.

It’s funny how God reveals something to you when He does; if you are listening. I circled back to something I did yesterday that solidified this morning that He was showing me things directly. I went to the gym yesterday morning and started an online sermon from a pastor I frequently listen to. He started the message and actually asked the audience if anyone wanted to ask God for increased faith. For some reason, I stopped that sermon and searched for another one because I wanted to save that message for this morning’s run to truly listen. I was saving the faith message but He was preparing the message for me to receive in a different way so that all of my spiritual senses would be completely open to write about.

I am not sure who this is for besides me, but if you are struggling in your faith or need a reminder of those who relied in their faith to do the will of God, then read this scripture passage and ask God to increase your faith in your season of doubt. There is too much at stake not to. We are literally in a spiritual battle each day and if our faith is not strong in Him, then we begin to doubt what He can do which creates confusion in our life especially when we experience trouble or lack. 

Our faith in Him can be the very thing that opens us up to receive what we need when we need it. Our faith produces confidence that things are going to work out and our faith provides clarity in our journey. We cannot please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6), so “by faith” should be part of our daily experience. I pray that you and I can walk in our faith with boldness and intent, remembering all that He has done for us and knowing that there is so much more in store, but we have to do our part. We have to have FAITH.

HAVE a BLESSED DAY IN FAITH!!