As 2015 was coming to an end there were a few things really strongly on my heart that I felt like were some words from the Lord for my life in 2016. One was a word I felt like He wanted me to continue to share with others, and that’s the need to read and study the Bible. If you’ve read much of my blog, you know this is something I talk about a lot. I believe it to be one of the absolute keys to life, and if you’re not reading your Bible regularly I just want to take this moment to encourage you to do so. Start off in tiny increments if that’s what it takes, read it for 5 minutes a night even! Anything that can get the habit established in your life is a good thing, so if you have to start out small then do it.
The other word that was really present in my spirit as 2015 came to a close was boldness. This one was more for me and I know that for a fact because this is a weakness of mine. I am a full of faith, Jesus loving, Bible studying dude who goes to church (at least) twice a week, talks about God a ton with my friends and family, and loves God with all my heart. My friends and family members and church family members would attest to this. The problem is, I’m not positive that other people I’m around in life know these things about me. I’m openly Christian, I think most acquaintances and people I deal with in my work life would agree, but in my limited interactions with people out in the world I don’t know that I’m seen as someone who’s on fire for God and filled to the brim with His love. And that’s a major, major problem.
The main reason I feel this way is because my exposure to the world is extremely limited. I spend almost all of my free time either at church, at home, with my close friends, or with my family. When it comes to work, I do 95% of it from home, and really it’s in that 5% of my time out on assignment where I think I’m falling short. I spend a lot of time at City Hall covering city council meetings. While there, I chat with a few friends, do my job, then go home. Are there opportunities while there to share my faith, to invite people to church, to minister to those who are hurting? Instinctively, I want to say no, because I hate feeling like I’m coming up short for the Lord. But the fact is, there are almost certainly ministry opportunities there and I’m missing them because I’m lacking boldness. I’m too comfortable just getting by, too comfortable with the relationships I’ve made there, and therefore I’ve never really stepped up and stepped out and boldly tried to find a chance to share Jesus in that place.
So when I started sensing that God was giving me this word for 2016, I really listened up. Boldness. Even now, seriously, when I typed the word, I just felt the Holy Spirit moving. This is an important word, and God wouldn’t be putting it all over me unless it was going to be necessary in 2016. As personal of a message it is, like everything on this blog, I’m sharing about it because I hope that it might resonate with some of you out there.
Okay, so that’s a really long introduction to this blog. Remember, this was in December of 2015 when I started hearing that word. Boldness. I had just finished my study of the life of Moses and decided to just keep trucking through the Old Testament. So right after Moses, I started reading the book of Joshua. He was something of an apprentice to Moses, and when Moses passed away it was Joshua who God placed in charge of the people of Israel. As the book of Joshua opens, the Lord shares some instruction and direction with Joshua, and in the infinite coolness and magic of the Bible, it just so happened to line up with the word God had placed into my life.
Joshua 1:6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.
“Strong and courageous” just jumped off the page of my Bible at me. As I read those two words I heard my word again. Boldness. Then I kept reading as the Lord continued to instruct Joshua.
Joshua 1:7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
Strong and courageous. Boldness. So I keep reading as the Lord keeps talking to Joshua.
Joshua 1:9 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.”
Strong and Courageous. Boldness. A few verses later, Joshua is assuming command and the people of Israel share some words with him.
Joshua 1:18 Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”
Strong and courageous. Boldness. Joshua heard it three times from the Lord in quick succession. And this is God we’re talking about, so when He starts repeating something I think it’s extra important to take notice of it. God didn’t just tell Joshua to be strong and courageous, He told him it three times. Right after that, Joshua gets reminded of the command from his people.
I love the way the Bible feels so alive and so relevant to my life. On Monday, I’m going to close out my look at this subject by getting into what it means to be strong and courageous. I also want to spend a little time looking at what Joshua did with this lesson from the Lord.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, today I want to say thank you for power. You know my heart, you know the meekness that resides there, the hesitation and resistance I have to stepping out and being bold. But what I love so much is that you’re not asking me to be strong and courageous alone. In Joshua 1:9 you deliver the key to unlocking my strength and courage. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. You didn’t ask Joshua to go out and be bold alone, you told him to go out and be bold and that you’d be there the whole time. So Lord, today I ask you for the same thing. Fill me with your spirit, give me the strength to step up and seize the same promise you made to Joshua. I don’t have to fear being bold because I step into boldness not alone, but with you by my side. And with the God of the universe with me, there is no thing in the physical or spiritual realm that I need to fear. Thank you for the confidence and power your word instills in me. Thank you for the boldness your presence instills in me. I may not always be much on my own, but with you I can do anything. There is no situation that I can’t conquer if I’m facing it with you by my side. God, what a sense of comfort and peace that brings me. You’re simply amazing. You don’t put us into impossible situations, because no situation is impossible with you. I like to think that you don’t even recognize the word impossible, because it just doesn’t exist to you. It shouldn’t exist for me, either. My healing isn’t impossible, I see it happening every day. My growth as a man of faith, as one of your saints and your people isn’t impossible, I see it happening every day. The saving of the lost people, those who don’t know you and are struggling to find their way in this world isn’t impossible, I know it’s happening every day. Unrestrained God, unlimited God, unstoppable God, flow through my life and flow through this world. We are a people who need you in a bad way. We need your love, your wisdom, your guidance. We need your kingship, Lord, not just in our church, not just in our hearts, but over this entire world. Establish your kingdom, surge through our nations and light ablaze a return to you, Father, a fresh age of godly living and soul saving. Nothing is impossible for you, God. What an exciting time to be alive, and what an exciting King to have in my life. I love you, Lord, because you first loved me. Thank you for the soul saving love you show to me daily. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.
We actually talked about something other than Moses! I’m excited about what’s coming up next on this blog. God’s word is full of incredible things and I’m really enjoying blogging about the inspiration and teaching I find in the Bible.
I love you guys. I hope the week is closing out on a good note for everyone. The weekend is almost upon us and I hope you find time to relax and recharge. God loves you more than you know!