When God promised the Israelites the promised land, He also promised to drive their enemies from among them. However, many times as I read through the book of Joshua I noticed that the bible said the Israelites were not able to drive out all their enemies and in some cases lives among thee enemies or forced them into hard labor. Despite this fact, the book of Joshua concluded with the verse:
Not a single one of all the good promises the LORD had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true. Joshua 21:45 NLT
Well that sounds very contradictory! If God fulfilled every promise then why weren’t all their enemies destroyed? Well after a whole generation this made sense. In the book of Judges, we see why:
…he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience…Judges 3:2 NIV
To the doubtful person, God had not kept his promise. However, because God has the bird’s eye view of our lives and certainly did of the Israelites. He left a few nations among them to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who would come later who had no experience in battle. God knew the Israelites would need to be prepared for battles later on in their history so He left nations in their promised land who would eventually give them this experience.
When life seems like it is not going the way you want or God’s promises seem unfulfilled, do not look to the bigness of your problem but to the bigness of your God. And know that His plans are always for your good, though you may not understand them today, he is making you battle ready for your tomorrow.
Have you ever watched a movie where bad things continue to happen to the good guy and you just sit at the edge of your seat waiting for things to turn the corner? Or is this your lived experience where things seem to just not work out and when you think relief is around the corner, you encounter another disappointment? Well, this has been my work life lately. Just when I think it cannot get any worse, something happens to prove that it sure can!
I have fallen into a bad habit of complaining and sometimes to stress to whoever is listening how dire I think my situation is, I overemphasize portions of my ordeals or exaggerate what others did as I recount these stories. I have certainly thought of easier ways for my terrible experiences to end and some of them have not been exactly neighborly. For the past few weeks I have been praying for psychological, emotional, and physical strength just to get through my days and a few days ago it came in the form of a scripture:
The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil. Psalm 125: 3 NIV
The reason I find solace in this scripture is that it affirms for me that God is truly interested in every detail of my life. He sees I am struggling and I know He will intervene in the nick of time so that I am not tempted to do wrong out of desperation to be rid of the negative experiences I am encountering at work. The problem will surely come to an end.
If your life is like the movie I described and is anything like mine then my prayer for you today is simple: May the Lord direct your steps and delight in every detail of your life ( psalm 37:23). May the hand of the enemy cease to rest upon whatever concerns you so out of desperation, frustration, or in your quest for solutions you are not tempted into wrongdoing. May Jesus be your living hope this week and if your foot is slipping or when your anxiety is great within you, may His consolation bring you joy and His unfailing love support you (Psalm 94:18-19). Amen
Have you ever tried to help someone and ended up making the situation worse? Have you ever been completely genuine with your actions and had your intentions misconstrued? This year has been filled with many such events for me. In communicating with the people that report to me at work, with my friends, and even sometimes with my husband, sometimes my words and actions have been taken the wrong way leading to angst and conflict. This can be very emotionally draining and discouraging.
After having one such day this week where I thought I was encouraging a friend but sadly what he heard was discouragement, I in defeat turned to my bible and this is the prayer I found:
…we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.2 Thessalonians 1:11 NIV
What sweet encouragement! What blessedness to read that it is God who brings to fruition our every desire for goodness! This takes the pressure off being good and having good intentions. This tells me I no longer have to worry how my “goodness” or good intentions are perceived. That is God’s job to bring it to fruition. My job is to continue to do good deeds prompted by faith and God’s job is to make sure that the intent is realized fully in those who need it. And you know the beauty of all of this? It is not so that I feel good about myself but so that Jesus is glorified!
We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.2 Thessalonians 1:12 NIV
So today I pray for you that God will make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by your faith.
It has been a minute since I got into writing but that is another story for another day. In my last post a few months ago, I talked about a role model in a rather obscure character: King David’s mother. In my more recent bible readings, I came across a scripture that exemplifies the role of fathers in the lives of their children. In the past few days, a rather dear friend has been blessed with his firstborn son and so this is dedicated to him and to all the great fathers I know.
For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 NIV
Fathers are admonished to encourage their children- to celebrate them and be their #1 fan. It is a child’s blessing to have a father that encourages him/ her to reach his/ her potential and is so proud of his child he wants to shout it off the mountain tops. Society is rife with absentee fathers- men who do not take any responsibility for the physical, psychological, spiritual, emotional and financial well being of their children. However, God admonishes fathers not to exasperate their children by the way they treat them lest they become discouraged (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).
A father’s role is to provide comfort and be a source of comfort for his children. Fathers are pillars of safety for their children- in all spheres of life. Fathers need to create an atmosphere where their children are not afraid of them but rather respect and reverence them (Hebrews 12:9). The words that come out of a father’s mouth and the actions that he portrays should bring comfort to a child and not fear. Society deems women to be relatively more nurturing than men and with the ideology of nurturing comes comfort. However, God’s standard for fathers is that they too ought to be a source of comfort for their kids.
I spoke earlier about dads encouraging their children to reach their fullest potential and there is no greater goal on earth than the goal of living a life that is worthy of an eternal calling (Ephesians 4:1-3). A very significant role God has entrusted to fathers as the spiritual head of their households is to be examples of godly living and to chart the path for their children to follow. Fathers are to set the standards of holy living for their children and to charge their kids to live holy lives. This is the greatest reward of fatherhood: that the travails of a father results in Christ being formed in their children (Galatians 4:19).
So today I leave you with this… are you role modelling godly fatherhood? Are you a source of encouragement, comfort and a beacon of godliness for your children, biological or otherwise?