New Beginnings & a Lesson from Joshua
- Thursday, December 21, 2006
There’s something awesome about closure. I love bringing a defined end to a project, a problem or a season. Consequently, I love the end of the year. It not only represents a sense of completion, but I know that something new is ahead… and that’s what I really love: new beginnings!
I’m sorry… I can’t help it! I really start to get excited about this time of the year. I love the holidays. Yes, they do tend to be somewhat stressful, but I am determined that this year I am going to enjoy all of the elements of the holidays! I’m going to enjoy putting up the decorations – even though they have to be taken down in just a few weeks. I’m going to enjoy shopping with thousands upon thousands of my closest friends at our local mall. And I’m going to enjoy finding that perfect gift for each special person in my life. But, let me move on to what really excites me about this time of year.
In the Old Testament, Joshua found himself in that very place – at a new beginning. Moses had passed on to his glory, and the children of Israel had not yet begun their journey into the Promised Land. Up to this point, they had only journeyed to it.
Coincidentally, doesn’t that seem to represent a lot of our lives? In so many areas, we’re just not there yet; we’re still on the way. But we can be encouraged. God is bringing closure to that season of our lives and the journey into is about to begin!
Joshua had a promise from the Lord that he would be used to lead this massive movement into a land that was filled not only with wonderful milk and honey, but with despicable giants who were guarding those precious treasures! It would not only be a land of delight, but also one which would require military action along with determination and persistence. Prior to beginning this incredible journey, Joshua would need more than just a good idea or the promise of a fresh start. He would need what I call a sustaining word from the Lord – a promise to keep him even when times got tough. We can read the words he received in Joshua 3:7, where the Lord told Joshua:
Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses.
The foundation for that promise is found just a few chapters before, in Joshua 1:9:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
God promised to make him a leader, and Joshua had to choose to be brave while God enlarged his territory – physically, with taking the land of the giants – and relationally, in the eyes of those around him.
This is what I call "kingdom expansion" in our lives – and the foundation of that is always the Word of God. Like Joshua, we are called to a specific purpose, which unfolds as the Word of God works its way into what we say, what we do and how we think. Way before the battle or the journey begins and even into the battle, we must reconfirm our foundation by reminding ourselves of God’s word to us: repeating it with our thoughts and our words, and living it in our actions.
God’s Word promises we will have plenty of opportunities to become distracted and disengaged, ultimately denying (and being denied) the very things God has promised us. But, we must maintain that sustaining Word of God on our lives, which becomes our expectation of what God is going to do, where we will be, what will take place.
There were three specific things that Joshua had to do in order to successfully take his people into the place to which God had called them. In approaching the New Year, the new challenges and the new opportunities, we can learn these specific things from Joshua’s life.
Joshua’s plan was one of courage and determined success predicated on the Word of the Lord to him. God had already instructed Joshua and he not only had a tactical, militaristic plan, but he also had a spiritual plan. This was God’s journey and would not be waged by the weapons and inventions of human reasoning and understanding.
As I face my New Year, I must have a plan and a determined purpose. I will not just exist through this year, but I will journey! I will walk out God’s will for my life. In the ways that I talk, think and act; it will be obvious and apparent that I am planning to go over my Jordan – my wilderness, a land of confusion and distraction – and into my Canaan – my Promised Land, a land where my dreams and promises come true.
What will it take to cross into my Canaan? Is it just going to happen or is there something that I must do to in order to increase my capacity? Far too often, we assume that this stuff of God’s kingdom is just about miracles and unexpected – even supernatural – occurrences. But I’ve found that it’s far from that. Most of what we experience in the kingdom of God is a matter of our preparation and our expectancy and God’s response to it.
We have a responsibility to be on the front lines of bringing God’s will on this earth. It’s interesting to me that God told Joshua, “I will be with you.” In other words, you get out there and do what I have called you to do and I will be with you as you do it!
Where has God called you to make a difference? What promises and dreams do you have? Which scriptures have come alive to you, giving you a future and a hope? What will it take for you to get to where God has called you to be? And what commitment are you willing to make to get there? This is how we prepare, and make room for God to bring His blessings into our lives.
The bottom line is that God was not going to hand Joshua’s destiny to him on a silver platter. Joshua was going to have to work for it – and work hard. So are you and I. God knew that there were giants in the land, and He had equipped Joshua and the children of Israel to defeat these very giants. It was something God birthed in them – by teaching them how to fight and how to win. By the anointing and the life of Jesus, it has also been birthed in us!
But, we must determine – must believe by faith – that we are not going back into the wilderness. Everything that God has for us is forward and ahead of us. We must have a mentality – the thought processes that will help us take possession of God’s promises for us. Do we dare call this a “possession mentality”?
When we side with God, agreeing with His promises, planning ways to make them come about, preparing ourselves to take possession of the dreams He gives us, we can’t be stopped. We just refuse to let go. We draw the line and choose not to look back. We dig our toes in the mud of the Jordan, and get going over!
Happy New Year to you!
Pastors Scott & Veronica Reece met while attending Bible College and since have actively pursued the increase of the Kingdom of God. Their partnership has been built on the foundation of faith. They planted a church in 1995 and have seen the church continue to grow into a dynamic, thriving fellowship. Pastor Scott teaches on family relationships, the authority of the believer, living victoriously on the earth, becoming everything you can be in Christ and walking in love. His humorous approach makes the Word fun and keeps people smiling as they learn more about the life and the love of God.
First published in The Mother’s Heart magazine, a publication for mothers with hearts in their homes. Visit our website at: www.The-Mothers-Heart.com.
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