Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Mind of a Conqueror

Joshua: the mind of a conqueror, Image courtesy of

I’ve been thinking about Joshua and Caleb this week. Specifically, I’ve been reminded by the Holy Spirit that although an obstacle may loom larger than life, an obstacle does not tower over God. Joshua and Caleb had the mind of a conqueror because they both believed nothing was greater than God. Moses sent twelve men to the land of promise, each was assigned to analyze, assess, and evaluate the level of effort needed to take possession of land promised to the nation of Israel by God. Twelve of those men came back and reported that the land offered the things to which God had spoken of, a land that:

…certainly does flow with milk and honey1

But ten of those men also said:

…the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.2

This is an example of how obstacles appear larger that they really are. Our eyes will cause us to exaggerate and believe things we see, even when the truth echoes before us. Caleb (one of the twelve) responded by saying,

We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.3

Why after all the things God had done for these people did ten of these men reach a place of doubt, worry, anxiety and fear?

I think that these ten men looked not to God, but measured themselves against the people who inhabited the Promised Land. In Egypt, these men were slaves. They had a slave mentality. Even though God delivered them from their Egyptian oppressors, parted the Red Sea, fed them bread from heaven, provided them with meat and water, led them with pillar of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, they still considered themselves as slaves. It’s the reason I believe they kept making references to how good they had it in Egypt; making bricks!

I believe that we embrace our past because we fear the future; even if that past was the worst possible experience we’ve ever had. Why does a person stay in a dead-end job? What keeps a co-dependent dependent? What makes a person see the worst possible thing in their life as something to hold on to? Why does a person find it so easy to say, “I’m a failure” rather than saying, “I’ll face this challenge by trusting God for my success”?

How often do the words, “I can’t”, “I’ll never”, “It’s hopeless”, and “What’s the use” come from your mouth?

Have you ever found yourself singing or (those who don’t sing) humming a tune in your head that somehow doesn’t want to go away? Sometimes, it’s just a catchy phrase such as, “You’ve got mail”, “Not going anywhere”, “What’s in your wallet?” or “Bags fly free”. We hear it and then subconsciously it begins to loop in our mind, constantly repeating; again and again.

The same thing appears to happen when I repeat messages that somehow reinforce that I’m incapable of achieving anything. Instead of saying these words repeatedly, I must choose to say something that gives me faith, joy, contentment and hope. I’m not talking about a commercial where I claim to have the knowledge of a skilled surgeon just because I slept in a certain hotel. No, just saying, “I’m a surgeon” one hundred times, doesn’t make me one. But why are the words, “I'll never...”, so believable to me? What if I began to remind myself of who I am, who I belong to, and who is on my side?

I am a follower of Christ. I confess my faith and trust in Him daily, and yet, something happens when I’m faced with A Problem. I transform it into My Problem, volunteering myself for this duty. I do this even though the words, “the battle is the Lord’s4 are in my spirit, I act as if I’m all alone. Worry, doubt, anxiety and fear are all consuming. Like a wildfire, worry, doubt, anxiety and fear consume me until I’m a living example of worry, doubt, anxiety and fear. I sacrificially offer myself in an effort to appease it, but after being consumed, all that’s left is a discouraged shell of someone who feels helpless and hopeless.

I realize now why the scripture says,

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert.5

I believe this means to throw worry, doubt, anxiety and fear off myself and direct them toward God. What’s the first thing you do when you enter your home? You remove a coat, jacket or sweater; tossing it to a familiar place. Perhaps it’s those shoes you’ve worn all day. Maybe it’s a hat or scarf you remove. You’ve done it so many times, that it becomes a subconscious act. Whatever it is, you don’t continue to wear it because you recognize it’s unnecessary; you’re home, a place of comfort and security. I believe God wants me to have that attitude about Him; He’s my shelter, my spiritual home of comfort and security. It is here that I must remove (cast off) all my cares (worry, doubt, anxiety and fear), and direct them to God.

Why? God cares about me, totally and completely.

So only two of the twelve men (Joshua and Caleb) recognized that the physical appearance of those who lived in the Promised Land didn’t mean defeat, they dared to say,

…and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, 'The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us--a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.' ”6

They understood that the LORD was with them. The LORD would empower them to achieve victory. They understood that when you look at an obstacle with the natural eye, defeat appears imminent, but when I look through the eyes of Christ, that obstacle becomes a stepping stone to victory. Stop carrying around your cares (worry, doubt, anxiety and fear); have the mind of a conqueror, a spiritual conqueror.

Cast them, throw them off; give them to the LORD.

Remember, your obstacle has no protection from God.

Remind yourself that, the LORD is with you.

Do not be afraid of what opposition you face.

Do you want to be a spiritual conqueror?

Stop saying what you can’t do and begin reminding yourself what God can do!

Believe and trust God…Be all you can be in Christ…be a conqueror!

...we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.7

Dear LORD,

You give us Your grace in abundance. In all things we are more than conquerors through Christ. I am confident in You. I acknowledge that the obstacles I face have no protection from You, You are with me, I will not fear what is before me. The realization that You are God and there is none like You gives me both joy and peace. Bless our faith so that we may bless and encourage others, pointing them to You. We can do nothing without You LORD. I bless and exalt Your Name, which is above every name. I thank You for the joy and peace the Holy Spirit gives me. It is written that, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed." Your grace abounds in us O LORD. Thank You. Amen.

  1. Numbers 13:27, NIV
  2. Numbers 13:28-29, NIV
  3. Numbers 13:30, NIV
  4. 1 Samuel 17:47,NASB
  5. 1 Peter 5:7-8, NIV
  6. Numbers 14:7-9, NIV
  7. Romans 8:36-39, NIV
  1. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  2. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I’m Not Giving Out, Not Giving In, and Not Giving Up

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace with the Son of God, image courtesy of Lavista Church of Christ
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king,O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’ ”1

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.2

I was just sharing with those closest to me, how often I’ve failed; any of you who’ve said the same words know what I’m talking about. I use to despise failure. I viewed it as a reflection of who I was, not an inability to accomplish something. I use to think it would be better to never fail; just have a string of successes. This was because I wanted others to look favorably upon me.

I never looked at failure as success.

I never recognized the purpose of being tested. Because of this, I never considered testing a good thing.

Oh but things are different now baby! I’m a new creation in Christ:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!3

I’m in agreement with God because I take joy now when I’m tried. I consider it an opportunity not only for spiritual growth and development, but it’s also an opportunity for God to prove Himself to me. When I say, “It’s an opportunity for God to prove Himself to me”, I really mean through me. I believe God provides me with opportunities to consider it an occasion to rejoice that God and I will partner, demonstrating, He is God of my life. I realize now that this occurs even when I fail, He is still God.

Most of us love to hear about success. Failure? Not so much. I’ve read this passage in Daniel numerous times (as I’m sure many others have too), but I’ve learned something which has evaded me until now.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t care about the outcome of their decision; they were fully committed to their decision.

I don’t mean to say they didn’t want God to save them from the fiery death they were threatened with; yes, they wanted to be spared that kind of death. But they understood that the decision to save them was in God’s hands, not their own. They yielded their decision-making to God.

They could have given out to the threat of death. They could have given in to king Nebuchadnezzar. They could have given up on God.

But they didn’t!

They determined that no matter what happened, they would trust in God for the outcome. We know what happens next, king Nebuchadnezzar becomes furious with their answer. He orders the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than normal, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were tied up and thrown into the blazing furnace. The furnace was so hot that the flames from the fire killed the soldiers who were ordered to throw them in.

I would imagine that the king felt pretty confident in himself, believing that these three had failed to make the right decision. That’s how many look at you when things go bad.

They say,You’re a failure!

There are those who never let you forget that you’re a failure; they like to remind you just in case you’ve forgotten. They remember you back when…

Nobody had ever stood up to this king before, and lived. He had that kind of power; he used his power of intimidation. But these men weren’t like all the Yes men the king was accustomed to standing before him. These men submitted to a higher authority than an earthly king.

They were obedient to God.

I have learned such strength of conviction from these three men. To be able to say, I know God can save me from this terrible ordeal but even if He doesn’t save me from this, I’m ready to go through it, that He, Almighty God may be exalted and praised!

This wasn’t just someone talking the talk, these men walked the talk.

So I know that God is no respecter of persons and when my opportunity comes, and it will surely come, I’m ready to walk the talk. I’m not being cavalier about this because trials aren’t a game. I know I can fail in my trial but God never fails. I’m trusting God.

I’m reminded of the actor in the Allstate insurance commercials. His booming voice evokes assurance, confidence and security when he says, “You’re in good hands with Allstate.

But the God we worship doesn’t emulate assurance, confidence and security.

He is my assurance.

He is my confidence.

He is my security.

I’m going to shout for joy when I’m tried because my trials produce endurance in me, and that’s a good thing. It means that in time, my failures will become fewer and fewer.

It means, I’m not giving out to my trial.

It means, I’m not giving in to fear.

It means, I’m not giving up on God.

I’ll trust Him like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

I’ll trust Him like Abraham when God told him to offer up his son on Mount Moriah, the place where Abraham would worship Jehovah Jireh.

I’ll trust Him like David standing before Goliath with a confidence that trusted in Immanuel, David knew, God is with me.

Can you trust God?

Don’t give out, don’t give in, and don’t give up on God.

He hasn’t given up on you.


Thank you for being the King of kings and Lord of lords. You are Jehovah Jireh, my provider. You are Immanuel, God with us. You've promised to never leave me or forsake me; I believe that Lord. When I face my trials, I will rejoice because I know you want to produce endurance in me. You want me to be confident that in You, I can go all the way. Like the song says, "No matter what tomorrow brings, I'm going all the way!" Thank You Jesus for giving me confidence in You. You conquered sin, death, hell, the grave and everything else. Every knee must bow to You the risen Saviour and Lord. I trust You Lord, You are my strength and shield. Amen.

  1. Daniel 3:16-18, NIV
  2. James 1:2-3, NASB
  3. 2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV
  1. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  2. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Who is God?

Who is God, image courtesy of
From the end of the earth I call to Thee when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.1

Wanda, who writes The Watered Soul, is one of my blogger comrades. I enjoy reading her posts because she offers insights and perspectives which often elude me. She writes with a sensitivity and passion for both God and others (believers and non-believers alike). If you’re not familiar with her blog, I encourage you to visit and see for yourself. Recently she published a post titled Pebble or Rock in which she reflects on God as my rock. The emphasis being that one can have a view of God that appears smaller in comparison to a problem.

As I read this post, I began an assessment of my own view of God and my understanding of who God is. I began to see how easy it is to limit God in my mind as a problem, situation or circumstance increases in magnitude. I also began to see that limiting God in my life means I don’t have a true understanding of what it means to be God and who God is.

How could I profess the supremacy of God while limiting His capability?

My intellectual understanding is limited but the word God implies supremacy, above all things in knowledge, power, creation, capacity, and ability. I believe that God is omnipresent even though I can’t explain how to transcend geography. I believe that God is omniscient although I cannot rationally describe how to know what is not known. I believe that God is omnipotent in spite of the fact that I cannot measure the beginning and end of His power. So my limited view of God is compensated by defining His attributes in a way that is understandable and accepted by me as true.

When I speak about God, I am referring to the supreme Self-Existent One. He lives beyond any means of being sustained; He does not require life support. He is The Living Spirit who always existed beyond the scope of time; He is The One who established time. He is The All-Powerful Being who created all things known and unknown to me; He is the Creator of creators. He is unique, for there is none like Him. He knows all to the degree that I am incapable of knowing beyond what He has revealed to me. I am limited, He is limitless. His holiness, goodness, righteousness, and love are immeasurable.

He is God.

No matter how exhaustive or limited my understanding may be of God, I must first accept what it means to be God. This goes beyond any debate on the existence of God because even the agnostic, atheist and ignorant must accept the possibility of the existence of God in order to understand what it means to be God. I see that even in denying belief in God implies an awareness of what it means to be God.

I must understand what a god has to be, in order for Him to be known by me as God.

My mind says that God is preeminent in everything; in all things known and unknown.

Since I acknowledge that God is preeminent, I admit He is superior to me and everything that pertains to me. I cannot then rule over God because He has preeminence. Since I am inferior to God, so too are the things which pertain to me. There is nothing that supersedes or exceeds God.

Why then do I allow things within my life to have preeminence?

Am I exchanging the truth of who God is by substituting a lie?

I face circumstances which demand my attention, finances, health, marriage, and family are just a few of the issues which I face daily. I must look at these things from the place of submission. I must submit these things to God if I believe he has preeminence. God must rule over my finances, health, marriage, family and all other aspects of my life; I must give Him preeminence.

If I don’t, then these things become my god because in my mind they are greater.

I’m learning that faith and trust are so critically important because in surrendering these things to the preeminence of God, I acknowledge that I need Him to sustain me in every aspect of my life.

The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.2

God exists, image courtesy of

There is no one holy like the Lord, Indeed, there is no one besides Thee, Nor is there any rock like our God.3

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.4

For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God,5

As I contemplate my finances, I must not lose sight of my Rock, He rules my finances. When my health fails me, causing my body to feel sickness and pain, I must remember that God reigns supreme over my body; my sickness is not greater than God.

I may know a great deal or very little about God, but all I need to know is that He is God; which means, He is above everything.

The word impossible cannot restrict Him.

A dire situation cannot cast a shadow upon Him.

He is not limited by the word can’t.

He is supremely God and Godly supreme.

I put my life in His hands and trust Him with the outcome; there is nothing too great that He cannot change or that is beyond His reach. He has touched me before, I expect Him to touch me again. He is the author of miracles and the finisher of my faith. His word commands obedience but only the humble may hear His voice.

Who is God?, image courtesy of

Who is He?

He is God.

Father God,

I thank you for revealing Yourself to me. I acknowledge that You have always existed and that You are the triune God, known by me as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I ask You to forgive me for allowing the circumstances in my life to appear greater than You; nothing is greater than You! I thank You that You've given me prayer as a means to communicate to You all aspects of my life. I am bringing my thoughts into captivity, I submit myself wholly to You. There is nothing that can separate the bond You've established with me through Jesus Christ. I will remember this truth and repeat it. Thank You for Your love and grace that exceeds my understanding. Your name is always before me, I will not forget You. You are holy, faithful and true. Thank You for blessing me. You continually bless my life. Thank You Jesus for establishing a new covenant and for sealing that covenant with Your blood. Thank You Holy Spirit for indwelling me with life, teaching me, leading and guiding me in truth. You are the Rock of my salvation, the stone that the builders rejected. I will praise You forever. Amen.

  1. Psalm 61:2, NASB
  2. Deuteronomy 32:4, NASB
  3. 1 Samuel 2:2, NASB
  4. Psalm 18:2, NASB
  5. Psalm 18:31, NASB
  1. Pebble or Rock, from The Watered Soul, a blog written by Wanda, October 7, 2010
  2. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  3. Unger's Bible Dictionary, By Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, Chicago
  4. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

He Must Increase (Part 2)

Depiction of Increase and Decrease

In my last post, I mentioned that John the Baptist said this concerning Jesus:

A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven…I am not the Christ…He must increase, but I must decrease.1

If I am to truly discover the blessings of God in my life, Christ must increase in me, while I simultaneously decrease.

I also stated that, “God empowers me with the ability to think and act by humbling myself in His presence. I do this by recognizing that, I’m always in God’s presence.

I think the difficulty I face in humbling myself is that I lose sight of God’s presence; I forget where I am. Spiritually, I am always aware of God’s presence, but in my mind and body, I tend to be more consciously aware of myself than God.

How then can I be more consciously aware of God’s presence in my mind and body?

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.2

Here Paul emphasizes the Greek word peripateo (per-ee-pat-eh’-o) which means, to tread all around, i.e. walk at large (especially as proof of ability); figuratively to live, deport oneself, follow (as a companion or votary):--go, be occupied with, walk (about).

In essence, I am to demonstrate in my daily life evidence that I have the ability to recognize I am continually in God’s presence, spiritually, intellectually and bodily. I have been made alive through Christ, for that very purpose; to walk by the Spirit.

All my life, my focus has been on me; what’s good for me, what I want, what I desire, what I seek for myself. This new life in Christ enables me to see what I was unable to in the past; Jesus Christ.

...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…3

By faith, I’m empowered to focus my attention on Jesus, dedicating my life to Him in humble service. In the beginning, I find it most difficult to focus on Jesus, because my mind and body both seek gratification, demanding attention before God’s presence. Over time, my walk produces greater focus on Christ, training my mind and body to be silent before God’s presence.

How will I know I’m truly walking by the Spirit?

I will know because fruit will be produced in my life through my spiritual walk. The bible says,

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are naturally produced by the Spirit.

The purpose of the fruit of the Spirit is to replace the deeds my mind and body produce. As the life of Christ increases in me, those deeds which I previously committed so frequently, become less and less influential and desirable in my life.

I see now that God uses this Spiritual fruit as a source of spiritual food to nourish my spirit. Just as God used manna to sustain the Jews who wandered in the desert for forty years, He sustains me with the fruit of the Spirit. As I taste and see that the Lord is good, I find that I want more of Him in me: more love, more joy, more peace, more patience, more kindness, more goodness, more faithfulness, more gentleness and more self-control.

The key then is humility.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time…4

God is looking for those who will humble themselves in His presence. In doing so, I acknowledge that the presence of God, has become the constant in my life. If you’re looking for God to do something, He has! We have new life through Jesus Christ, guidance and direction from the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit produced in our life.

Now it’s up to you to humble yourself in the presence of God, focus your attention on Jesus Christ, walk in the Spirit, and allow the fruit of the Spirit to be produced in you. Taste and see just how good God is.

Father God,

How wonderful it is to taste and see that the Lord is good. I am in your presence Father; never am I hidden from You. I choose to commit my life in humility right now. I choose to walk in the Spirit; I am no longer led by the carnal thoughts, desires and need for gratification. Every moment of my life will be an opportunity to witness the fruit of the Spirit manifest itself in me. I thank You Father for Your Fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I rejoice Father that I am prepared to live my life humbly before You by Your love and grace. Amen.

  1. John 3:27-28; 30, NASB
  2. Galatians 5:16, NASB
  3. Hebrews 12:3, NASB
  4. 1 Peter 5:6, NASB
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  2. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6