The Land of Promise

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Where we are is not as important as who and whose we are in that place.

Scripture of the Day:

Joshua 1:7-8

7 “Make sure you are very strong and brave! Carefully obey all the law my servant Moses charged you to keep! Do not swerve from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be successful in all you do. This law scroll must not leave your lips! You must memorize it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful.”

I missed blogging yesterday while moving my son into his dorm. So many thoughts have flooded my mind this week, taking inventory of the foundation laid before this next chapter begins for him – and us.

Everybody likes something new, and our souls yearn for the next thing. But sometimes we are called to stay.

I wonder if this message in Joshua is not just for those going into the new land, but for those who stayed behind. The tribes of Israel who chose an inheritance east of the Jordan – wouldn’t they also need to be strong and brave? They had agreed to help the other tribes get into the promised land, but they did not want to settle there.

Fear and familiarity with what they knew likely robbed them of God’s blessing, but even in that place of choosing a lesser inheritance, they, too, would need God’s strength and to remember their God in that place.

Sometimes we are called to move and explore new adventures and sometimes we learn to be content with the same circumstances and provision. In either case, the greatest thing we need is God and His word.

Where we are is not as important as who and whose we are in that place.

My son will now need to forge ahead in his new station of life and make choices that will impact his life and future. I am truly excited for him. But we who are left “east” of his new land need to figure out life without him.

The foundation laid all these years has become stones of remembrance for us all. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan, God spoke to Joshua and told His people to place stones of remembrance in the midst of them as a reminder that God had been faithful to them.

Instead of sorrow at this crossing from childhood to adulthood, I reflect on the “stones” of remembrance that God allowed us to lay on the foundation of my children and our family. He has been faithful to my family – through raging waters and fiery storms. He has brought us into a land of promise – as we abide in Him.

Even when we are creatures of habit and don’t prefer change, God can meet us at that place and transform it from a place of sorrow into a place of worship.

 

Lord, I thank You for every stone laid in my life – the painful, the sweet, the undeserved blessings. All of it You mysteriously use for eternal means. May You be glorified in each moment, each step of our lives.

Innoculation Against Identity Theft

Photo Credits: www.bhvcpa.com

Photo Credits:
http://www.bhvcpa.com

Isaiah 23:13

“Look at the land of the Chaldeans, these people who have lost their identity!” 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Colossians 1:27

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

1 Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

I am sure in an earlier time that having one’s identity stolen would have seemed rather odd and difficult to pull off.  Today, it is becoming one of the most common crimes of our day.  Unbeknownst to us, we all might have fallen prey to identity theft ourselves.

It seems ridiculous to consider that we would willingly give up our identity, or forget who we are – nonetheless, it is true.  For if we really believed what Scripture says about who we are in Christ, we would turn this world upside down.  The enemy knows this, which is why he works so hard to distract, discourage and defeat us.  If he succeeds, he is one step closer to destroying us and the world remains lost.  We must not forget our mission.

And what is our identity?  We are one with Christ – the LORD of all the earth.  We are children of God, beloved and cherished by our Father in heaven.  Called on a mission to make Christ known.  We are redeemed, forgiven, and NOTHING could ever separate us from the love of God.

What about the accusations?  Surely some of what the enemy says are true.  But greater than any failure is the love of God still.  We are more than conquerors through Jesus.  Fact.  Look in the mirror and see yourself as a child of God given much mercy.  That is what you are – and God wants to use you to share that same love and grace with others.

It is not just missionaries who are tasked with this calling – but all who are called by God and receive His salvation.  Don’t forget that you belong to Him and He has plans for you.  Rise up, shake the dust off and get to the calling of God on your life – He will complete the work He has begun in you, all for His glory.

Worshipful Wednesday: Who is Worship For?

Photo Credits inbythroughhim.blogspot.com

Photo Credits
inbythroughhim.blogspot.com

Psalm 9:1-2

“I will thank the Lord with all my heart!  I will tell about all your amazing deeds! 2 I will be happy and rejoice in you!  I will sing praises to you, O sovereign One!”

John 4:24

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Hebrews 13:15

“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”

Hebrews 12:28

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.”

Thank you for stopping by on this Worshipful Wednesday!  Worship is often misunderstood as a part of the church service alone, but it is a lifestyle of thanksgiving to the One Who has given us every blessing we have.  As a worship leader in churches for over twenty years now, I confess that contemplating God’s Holiness, goodness and character in song is one of my favorite things to do.  I say one of, because just reading and listening to His Word fills me with an inner joy that cannot be contained.  But I fear our worship is lackluster in comparison to what God deserves.

Worship is cultivating gratitude from a heart that recognizes our own dependence on God.  It is in the very act of worship that we draw nearer to God.  Affection in marriage or in the parent/child relationship is the most essential aspect of those relationships.  A child and a parent both want to know they are loved and adored.  We can become hardened in this world and begin to think that receiving adoration is our highest goal, though.  God knows we need affirmation and love, but our greatest joy is found in giving that highest worship to Him.

I remember as a new believer not understanding why God would require us to worship Him.  It seemed a little vain to me at the time, though I did not want to even think such a thought.  But if God had not commanded us to worship, we would worship far lesser things.  What our hearts are set on to worship affects greatly how we live on this earth.  Practically speaking, when we worship created things which cannot compare to the greatness of our God, our aspirations are lesser than what God could accomplish in us.

Until we grow deeper in our relationship with God and see that He is worthy of the highest praise and adoration, it does not make sense to us in our humanity.  Certainly contemplating all that God has done makes Him praiseworthy, but in our pride we can be deceived into thinking we deserve what God has done for us.

Our flesh can be overwhelmed with worshiping God for all eternity – it seems tiring and repetitive.  That is when we realize that we have not really gotten a glimpse of Who God is.  We need to worship Him to know Him more.  We can be fans of people on this earth, but they will ultimately all perish and their splendor will fade.  But God – the great I AM, is not like us. No, He is Holy, perfect in all He does, without beginning or end.

We need to worship someone greater than we are.  Worshiping the creation could never fulfill us like worshiping our Creator – the only One truly worthy of praise!  We need to be transformed and that happens in His presence.  Our hearts and minds easily falter and can be divided.  Worshiping God aligns our will with God’s, and helps us to focus on what really matters and to fulfill God’s purpose for our lives: knowing Him.

The irony in God’s command for us to worship Him is that He does not need our worship – it is we who need to worship.  It is in love, not selfishness, that He is requiring us to worship Him.  We are harassed and helpless sheep who need direction. Thank God that He has shown us Himself and our need to worship Him alone.  Worship Him now.  Contemplate all that He has done for you.  Set aside the barriers that hinder sincere worship.  He is worthy.

Lord, help us to worship You in humility and truth.  You are worthy of all our praise and adoration.