Oh how much I long for that every day of my life. I long for God to empower me and give me confidence to be BRAVE. To be BOLD. I pray for that every day – because let’s be honest….don’t we all want that?
And as I am praying and hoping and wishing that God will somehow give me this (because I whole heartedly believe that He can do anything) I have a realization…or as I like to call it the “whomp whomp whomp” moment… that moment when you realize you were working too hard on something so simple.
This particular moment I am speaking of (because the reality is, it happens quite frequently for me) was one that happened as I was reading Joshua 10 a couple of weeks ago. The back story to Joshua is that God has directed Him (and assured him that He would succeed) to lead this battle in defense of the Israelites land and to protect the people. The battle was going to be against ALL of the Amorite kings – all FIVE had ganged up to defeat Joshua and attack Gibeon.
I can see how Joshua would feel a little under equipped to handle this task. (Because I sure would!!). But God, the promise-KEEPER, whispers to Joshua “Don’t give them a second thought. I’ve put them under your thumb – not one of them will stand up to you.” (10:8) God understands our potential, and He gives us countless reasons to put our faith in Him, even if we feel like we are not enough.
I can imagine Joshua is feeling little more equipped KNOWING God is a promise-keeper. KNOWING He will use his little potential and God’s big potential to fight this battle and bring Israel to victory.
Battle after battle, God comes through for His people. Joshua (with God) leads His armies to victory after victory. God even “pitched huge stones on them out of the sky and many died. More died from hailstones than the people of Israel killed with the sword.” (10:11) Wow…can you imagine?
God is coming through for them in BIG ways. He is following through on His word. Joshua and his armies have faith and because of that, God continues to fight for them.
I don’t know about you but I LOVE that image.
I love hearing stories about how God fights for those who follow Him. We are all too accustomed to hearing stories of pain and suffering, of struggles and heartbreaks. For some reason those are the ones that are written about, those are the ones where we see God show up big time with redemption.
But how warm is your heart when you hear a story about how God comes through when people have bold faith? Like a young girl who has pursued God faithfully for a husband for years, stayed pure and prayed daily; and He rewards her with the man of her dreams. Or when a woman has been praying for years for a baby - has had 2 miscarriages and is pushing 40- is still laying down her hearts desires at the feet of Jesus – and she finally gets the baby she has been hoping for.
Man, my heart leaps for joy with stories of BIG FAITH rewarded with BIG ANWSERS.
God comes through for us. That’s why we have faith – because we have no doubt in His promise-keeping ability.
That’s why the last part of Chapter 10 gets me pumped – because Joshua BOLDLY and BRAVLEY asserts his faith. There is no dancing around it, or using big words to ask for it. He simply states it – basically demands it – and God comes through. God likes simple and He loves bold. The chapter comes to a climax as Joshua’s armies are in the middle of the biggest battle – the combined armies of the five Amorite kings versus the Army of Israel at Gibeon. They are tired and the sun is starting to go down, but the Israelites needed more daylight to complete the victory. I can imagine all of the men are looking to Joshua for direction, because if the sun goes down, they stop fighting, then they lose their momentum and potentially the battle.
So Joshua does the most simple, most astonishing thing…he DEMANDS the sun to stand still. He simply says “ Stop, Sun, over Gibeon; Halt Moon over Aijalon Valley.” And the sun stopped, and the moon stood still until he defeated his enemies.” (10:11)
How incredible. Can you believe it? Joshua was brave, and God listened. Joshua was bold and God delivered.
I can just imagine that Joshua was feeling a lot of different emotions. Hope, fear, faith, doubt, excitement, and disappointment - all of these are swarming in his head. He had a decision to make and he chose faith. He chose to trust God.
What a lesson on living with audacious faith.
Our God is perfectly willing to perform the impossible in our daily lives…IF WE JUST ASK.
Be bold in your faith. Be brave in your desires. Ask God for what you want. And watch Him come through.
Genesis 16, 17:7, 20:11, 22:8, Matthew 17:20, 2 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 11:8
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
Have you ever been afraid to let God down? I often lay awake at night recounting the ways I failed Him throughout the day. As I struggle to wrap my mind around God’s constant faithfulness, I wonder if He gets fed up with me and my continual defeat over something He has walked me through a thousand times. Although God has found me faithless more than I would like to admit, He has always maintained his end of the deal. Each time I come to Him with repentance, He meets me with mercy and teaches me.
If there was someone who had intense faith, it was good ol’ Father Abraham. Just ask the author of Hebrews 11:8 who wrote, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Not only do we admire Abraham for his blind faith as he traveled, but also in his willingness to sacrifice His promised son, Isaac. Abraham had experienced the faithfulness of God’s promise, and he knew, “God would provide,” (Gen. 22:8a, ESV).
Despite Abraham’s great faith, I wonder if he had days like I have had. Did he ever experience restless nights knowing he did not give God the trust He deserved? After all, he lied to King Abimelech (I bet if you say that guy’s name fast enough it sounds like you’re sneezing). Abraham said that his wife was his sister in fear for his own life because of her beauty (Gen. 20:11b). This couple allowed fear to creep in and sway their decisions, which led to the time they thought it was a good idea for Abraham to sleep with his wife’s servant in an effort to bring forth the son God had promised to him (Gen. 16). I wonder if Abraham thought God had forgotten about His promise. Or maybe Abraham thought God needed a hand with the whole situation. It seems ridiculous, but I’ve been there.
Although Abraham often had his own slips and falls on his journey with the Lord, our sovereign God was faithfully working and never wavering, even when his child came up short. Despite the times Abraham tried to hurry God’s plan along, God was stronger than any of Abraham’s faults. Even in the first book of the Bible, God was preparing for His Son, through Abraham. God was faithful enough for His own promises and for Abraham’s own calling. “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you” (Gen. 17:7). The everlasting covenant God promised to Abraham would ultimately lead to the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
As a child of God, you cannot mess up His plans or interrupt His faithfulness. You cannot sin your way out of His love, nor can you doubt your way out of His salvation. When our failures seem to have grown into a tall, dark mountain casting a shadow down upon our dwindled faith, gather up that mustard seed worth you have left and tell that mountain to move (Matt. 17:20).
What mountain can you pray for God to move in your life today?
Our faith is proven in the one we believe in, Jesus, the Faithful One. Allow our strong God to carry you and your faith. He can be trusted and He alone is faithful enough for every single one of us. When you see just how trustworthy He is, it gives you even more faith for this hard journey of life. In those times when you feel that you have let Him down, remember He’s the One holding you, faith and all.
“For when we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”
Jesus Calms the Storm – Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25
In three accounts of the Gospels in the New Testament, we encounter a miracle of Jesus that is well known. A story we all know and love because it showcases so much of who Jesus is. But how many times do we “speed read” passages such as this one, brushing over what Jesus shows about Himself and what we should learn about faith from this story.
In a nutshell, in any of the accounts you read the disciples follow Jesus into a boat after He shares many stories called parables. A big, rough storm comes and sweeps over the boat and Jesus was asleep. The disciples shook Him, woke Him up and He rebuked them because they had such little faith and the disciples were in total awe that the winds and waves obeyed Him.
This passage shows me so many things about Jesus. First of all, just like we do, He needed rest. Not just a nap but a full-on slumber that a terrible storm could not wake Him from. What true humanity this shows of Him during His time on earth? Not only that, but in the midst of it all He knew the storm would come before the disciples ever stepped into the boat. Has that ever crossed your mind? Even seeing His miracles and listening under the sound of His voice, the disciples still doubted Him. When the storm came the Bible says the disciples shook Him until He awoke and calmed the storm. How often do I struggle to stay afloat in my own boat and feel the need to shake Jesus awake to tell Him what He already knows?
I know Jesus is fully capable of calming my own storm.
I know He’s in my corner, on my team and in my boat at all times.
Before I “stepped into the boat” of becoming a believer He knew what storms I would have to encounter in my time on earth. And He also knew the times I would doubt, shake Him awake and tell Him what He already knows because of His omniscience.
Faith and doubt cannot both reside as passengers of the same boat.
We will encounter storms in our time here on earth and our boat will be shaken. But we serve a mighty, powerful God who is all-knowing, ever-present and never gives up on our doubting hearts.
This passage reminds me of two of my favorite worship songs – The Rock Won’t Move by Vertical Church Band and Oceans by Hillsong. Lyrics from both are below. If you have never listened to either one, check them out. They are two songs that God has used so evidently in my life over the last year.
”When the ground beneath my feet gives way
and I hear the sound of crashing waves
and all my world is washing out to sea.
I’m hidden safe in the God who never moves,
holding fast to the promise of Your truth
that You’re holding tighter still to me.”
-The Rock Won’t Move
“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
let me walk upon the water wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”