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God’s Protection

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4.
In the Old Testament, Israel had waited to move for 40 years. God gave them three days to get ready. When the people of Israel were about to face enemies that had been described as giants, God told Joshua not to be terrified or discouraged. Wherever we go, whatever we do, will put us in contact with circumstances that are beyond our control. Discouragement is not so much a flash of lightning as a fog bank. It’s what happens when we are alone, when hope is gone. Discouragement comes when we feel worthless and incapable. Though not as spectacular as terror, discouragement may be more lethal.

The people of Israel were about to face enemies that had been described as giants. We all face giants on a regular basis. What do we do when we feel trapped, when giants seem to be converging on us? We take our burdens to God and leave them there. Four truths from the life of Joshua underscore God’s provision for the needs of His people:

  • First, nothing should terrify or discourage us if we rest in God’s presence: ‘As I was with Moses, so I will be with you’ (Joshua 1:5, NIV). God was with Moses, He was with Joshua, and He is with us. He won’t forsake us. In the darkest night, He is there.
  • Second, nothing should terrify or discourage us if we rely on God’s power: ‘No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life’ (Joshua 1:5, NIV). No one! The universe is under God’s control–He leads forth the stars. Not one star is missing.
  • Third, nothing should terrify or discourage us if we believe God’s promises: ‘I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses’ (Joshua 1:3, NIV). … ‘You will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them’ (Joshua 1:6, NIV). Note that God’s presence provides us the power to appropriate His promises. God promises to get His people over the river. He will be with us when the river is calm. Enjoy His presence. When the river is a torrent, trust His power. When difficulty comes, rely on God’s promises.
  • Fourth, nothing should terrify or discourage us if we obey God’s Word: ‘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… . Meditate on [the Book] day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful’ (Joshua 1:7-8, NIV).

Success is predicated upon obedience to God. To do that we must grow in our personal relationship with God. We must trust His power, claim His promises and obey His Commandments”.

Pleasure and Joy

There is a difference between pleasure and joy. The Bible says, “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man” (Proverbs 21:17). When we love pleasure, we are poor, if that is what we are seeking. Scripture also talks about people who are “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). Do you love pleasure more than you love God?

When we come to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in our hearts. Joy is produced by the Holy Spirit. More than 100 Scriptures talk about the joy of the Lord. That was the announcement at that first Christmas: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10).

If you take a stand and mean it, you may suffer persecution. Some of your friends will drift away. They don’t want to be with people like you. You speak to their conscience. They feel uncomfortable in your presence because you live for God. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, for in like manner their fathers did to the prophets” (Luke 6:22-23).

Jesus said, “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Make the choice that Moses made—he turned his back on pleasure and followed God’s way. The Scriptures say, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). Moses chose the joy of following God rather than having the pleasures of Egypt.

Are you following the Lord Jesus? Or are you following the pleasures of this world and fulfilling the lusts of your own heart?

Strength to say No

More than 100 years ago a man living in London was converted to Christ. He became pastor of a church in the slums of London. He went to the poor, the down and out and the oppressed. He formed a little group of people called the Hallelujah Band, and he would stand on street corners and preach the Gospel. Many of the clergy were embarrassed by it all. The man was called before a conference of religious leaders, who said, “William Booth, will you go where we tell you to go? If not, you will be defrocked.” In the balcony a woman stood. She was Booth’s wife, Catherine. She said, “William, say, ‘No, never!'” And he said, “No.” That no changed history in Great Britain and in many other parts of the world, as Booth founded the Salvation Army, which has given help for both body and soul wherever it has gone.

I want to ask you a question: What is the most difficult word for young people to pronounce? It’s the word no.

There was a man in the Scriptures who said no. His name was Daniel. He “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank” (Daniel 1:8). Daniel was a young man who had found a purpose in life. As a teenager, he had been captured by the Babylonians. He was taken to Babylon to be trained in all their ways. But Daniel refused to eat the king’s meat or drink the king’s wine, even though he knew how dangerous that refusal would be. How different Daniel was from those who can’t wait until they get away from home to live it up. Daniel was a long way from home. He could have yielded; no one back home would have known the difference. Daniel knew that it might mean death to refuse the king. This early no in Daniel’s life prepared him for the big no when he faced the den of lions (Daniel 6:4-23) and when he refused the gifts that Belshazzar promised him if he would interpret the handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5:16-17).

There’s another man in the Bible, by the name of Joseph. He also said no. Joseph was sold into Egypt and became a slave to Potiphar, who was a top man to the emperor, Pharaoh. Joseph was strong; he was handsome. And Potiphar’s wife found him appealing. She begged him to have sex with her. But he said no. Day after day she begged him, trying to wear him down. And time after time Joseph resisted and said no. One day, when everyone was out of the house, she grabbed him and said, “Come with me to bed.” Once again Joseph said no, and he pulled away. As he did, she took his coat and kept it. Then when her husband came home, she accused Joseph to her husband and said, “This slave has tried to seduce me” (Genesis 39:1-20).

Another man in the Bible who encountered a similar situation was Moses. The Bible says, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:24-25). Moses had to make a choice, just as we have to make choices. Moses, as heir to the throne of Egypt, had the choice of accepting all the pleasures of Egypt. But one day he made a choice. Moses said no to all that was offered. He said, “I’ll go suffer with the people of God. I choose God rather than these pleasures.”

When we say no, God will help us to stand by it. He will give us courage. You say, “But the temptations are so great. I can’t resist them.” Of course you can’t. In my own strength I can’t either. We cannot live pure lives without the help of God. We need to give our lives to Jesus Christ, let Him come in and help us to live during these times of wickedness.

The Beginning of Wisdom

“The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom…” – Psalm 111:10

Do you need more wisdom in your life today? The Bible says that the reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That word fear in this instance doesn’t mean “to be afraid;” it means to have honor and respect. It means that we revere Him because He is God. When you truly respect Him for who He is and worship Him out of a grateful heart, then supernatural wisdom will operate in your life. You’ll know just what to do in difficult situations, and you’ll be a voice of godly counsel with your friends and family.

Start reverently worshiping Him today by declaring His goodness and faithfulness in your life. Declare that He is your Provider, your Healer, your Redeemer. When you focus on your God instead of focusing on your problems, you are honoring Him. As you honor Him, wisdom will flow through you, and you’ll be empowered to live the life of victory He has planned for your life!

What does God Want?

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22, NKJV).

Dear Friends,

We may be through with the Christmas day, but the season is still on, Christ came into this world to ensure reconciliation with God and man, Have we ever pondered on what God wants from us even though he has given a great sacrifice.

All we have to do is what the Lord says, even if we think we have a better idea! When we give God the things He has indicated that He wants from us, there is a certain peace that indicates that our sacrifice is acceptable to God. Talk to God about the things you have put on the altar lately. Are these the sacrifices He has asked you for?

… Have we asked the Lord, “What will You have me to do or to give?” … Maybe we dare not ask this for fear that God will want something very close to our hearts. If we dare to get serious about living a life of surrender, it may well mean that our favorite things get placed on the altar. But if they do, there will be such peace in our hearts that we will kick ourselves for not surrendering sooner!