January 9, 2004

Encouragement for Today

Whose Report are Your Going to Believe?

Sharon Jaynes

Key Verse:

We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it (Numbers 12:30).

Devotion: 

All through the Bible, God gives us great and wonderful promises about who we are in Christ, what we have in Christ, and where we are in Christ. Let me remind you of just a few.

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength". (Philippians 4:13)

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed". (Proverbs 16:3)

"God...has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3)

"For everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." (1 John 5:5)

The Bible is packed full of many promises just like those. However, the enemy, Satan, tells us that we are worthless losers with little or no power to live in victory.  He tells us we are but "grasshoppers" in the face of our difficulties and struggles. The question arises: Whose reports are we going to believe?

That question has reverberated throughout history.  For example, the Israelites who had been freed from the Egyptian slavery in the book of Exodus faced the same dilemma.  They had been roaming around in the desert for many years, when God signaled it was time to enter the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey.  He said, "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan which I am giving the Israelites."    At God's command, Moses sent in twelve men to spy out the land and ten of them came back with this report:

"We went into the land which you sent us and it does flow with milk and honey! But the people who live there are powerful, the cities are fortified and very large." (Numbers 13:27, 28)  The men went on to say they were like grasshoppers compared to the giants who lived in Canaan. However, two of the spies, Caleb and Aaron, believed God and retorted, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." (12:30).

Guess whom the people believed?  They believed the "evil report" and failed to take the land because of fear. I have an acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. They only saw the giants, but failed to see Almighty God.

God had already given them the land, the people simply had to move forward and possess it. But instead of moving into the Promised Land, they wandered in the desert for many more years.  Caleb and Aaron were the only two who inhabited the Promised Land.  The others died in their unbelief.

Oswald Chambers notes, "Human frailty is another thing that gets between God's words of assurance and our own words and thoughts.  When we realize how feeble we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God seems to be non-existent.  But remember God's assurance to us - "I will never...forsake you."  Have we learned to sing after hearing God's keynote?  Are we continually filled with enough courage to say, "The Lord is my Helper," or are we yielding to fear?"

I don't want to be like those Israelites who didn't believe God told the truth. Do you?  Let me ask you a few questions.  Are you going to move into the land flowing with milk and honey, take the promises found in the Bible and make them yours? Or, are you going to believe the evil report and continue wandering around in the desert - free from slavery, but missing the Promised Land?  Whose report are you going to believe?

My Prayer for Today: 

Dear Lord, Thank you that you have called me to walk in victory.  Help me to realize when I am listening to Satan's lies, "to the evil report," and not to You.  If I am the only person who believes in your promises today, give me the courage to believe and walk forward in faith to what you've called me to do.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Think back over your life for the past few months.  Have you believed what your eyes see or what the God promises in His word?  Make a list of promises of God that mean the most to you and practice believing the truth!

Look back over the promises of God listed above in the devotion and below in the Power Verses.  How might these verses help you defeat that "grasshopper" feeling in your life?

Can you think of a time where you believed God's report instead of the border bullies, naysayers, and gloom and doomers?  What was the result?

Read 1 Samuel 17:34-37 and think about David's courage:

But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."

Where did that courage come from?  Now read the "rest of the story" as Paul Harvey would say. Were there those who thought him crazy?  Were there those who believed he could win the fight? Did it matter to David one way or the other what others thought?  What was the outcome of David's dependence on God? 

If someone gets hit in the forehead, which way would he most likely fall? Which way did Goliath fall? What does that suggest as to who really killed the giant?

Reflection Points:

Is there someone that I have been listening to and believing rather than God?

Have I been living in fear in an area where God has called me to walk in courage?

Have I been looking at a situation and thinking about my own abilities to accomplish what God has called me to do or have I been depending on God to accomplish what He has called me to do - in His strength and in His power?

Do I feel like a grasshopper or a soldier in God's army?

Power Verses:

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).

"This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" (1 John 1:4, 5).

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:20, 21).

*All Scripture references are from the NIV

Additional Resources:

Ultimate Makeover: Becoming Spiritually Beautiful in Christ by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/makeover.html

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html