Weak-kneed and Powerful

Common sparrow

Watering: No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

***

“Be strong and very courageous… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

Watching:

Joshua was stepping into very big shoes. He had been Moses’ faithful follower and a great student. In all ways, he had learned to put his faith in God Almighty and not the arm of man. But now God tells him it’s to be his arm and he’s the man; the playing field is changing and he’s being “promoted.”

 

How weak-kneed he must have felt.

 

I love that God answers the prayers of his heart before they are even uttered. I love that He cuts through any seedlings of bravado and brings the Truth straight to the need:

“Be strong.” Joshua must have felt weak.

“Take courage.” Joshua must have felt scared and discouraged.

“Be very courageous.” Joshua must not have thought he heard correctly!

“I will never leave you and I will never forsake you.” Joshua obviously needed reassurance.

I can just hear the heart of God talking gently to Joshua:

I’ve got this, Josh. Really. And in case you are not quite sure about all this, here, listen to those I’ve asked you to lead. They are my echo to you:

“Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses…Only be strong and courageous!

But honestly, what I love most is God never asks Joshua to be like Moses, and he never says,”Get out of your comfort zone.”

No, instead, the God of all comfort, speaks life and hope to Joshua. He speaks strength to his weakness, peace to his fear and assurance to his doubt. God doesn’t ask Joshua to leave the safety of his comfort, rather, he asks him to walk into it:

“I will never leave you and I will never forsake you. Follow me.”

Comfort is found

walking beside the Comforter.

 

Wondering:

So how does this story fit into my spiritual wardrobe? How do I learn from Joshua’s lesson?

I can be scared and weak-kneed

and yet

oh so powerful in Him.

Jesus has given me everything I need for this God-given life.

He will not lead where his spirit has not gone before or does not guard from behind.

He sees, understands and fathers my need.

I can step forward into the God of all comfort, who gently coaches from behind, “This is the way you should go,”

I can follow behind the Good Shepherd who leads and never leaves.

I am known

– and loved –

by the One who calls into being

the things that are not.

“Be strong” Bam! There is strength.

“Be courageous!” Bam! He brings courage.

“Don’t be afraid.” Bam! Fear is gone.

“Don’t be discouraged!” Bam! Discouragement must leave.

I am not loved by a god who says, “I am with you only if you go here, or don’t stumble there, or only take that next step, or else…”

No, I am loved by a risen, living, hugging kind of Savior who says,

“I am with you wherever you go.”

Bam!

I have all the comfort I will ever. possibly. need.

Waiting:

Lord, today, I will listen to your words to Joshua, to me.

Today, I will awaken this dawn with thankfulness for your love and faithfulness that are. so. sure.

Today, Jesus, help me be your encouragement for others, “shoving” them only by prayer into the zone of your comfort.

holding-hands

Advertisements

When you need courage

K7A1434F70FC78_1001466

Watering:

After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua, son of Nun, Moses’ aide:

“….No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Watching:

Three times the Lord tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. Three times He looks into Joshua’s heart and knows the depths of its needs. Three times God encourages and strengthens Joshua with promises. And on the third time the Lord takes out his “Do as I say” Dad’s voice and says:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.” … Josh, you’ve been trained by the best. You’ve been selected by me. I’ve given you your pep talk and told you what to do. Therefore, it is able to be done. So Now, go and BE.

“Be” is the defining action of this command.

BE, Joshua.

It doesn’t say BECOME, or ACT or FIGHT strong and courageously.

It doesn’t say PRAY, or STAND or BELIEVE strong and courageously.

It doesn’t say  LIVE, ATTACK, CONQUER… LOVE or the myriad of verbs the Lord could have said. But no… God says this instead:

BE.

Wondering:

I don’t always “BE” very well. I find myself “DOING” a whole lot more (mostly just spinning my wheels.)

And even just the idea of following in the footsteps of Moses??  Makes me nauseous (in that “trying-to-live-up-to-everyone’s-expectations” kind of way.)  …Which reminds me how desperately I need the same God-given courage:

Rest your mind and heart on my word, sweetheart.

Keep your eyes and your steps focused on me, Punkin.

In all your ways acknowledge me, and I will direct your paths.

I am the Lord your God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, the Red Sea Surgeon, Your Manna-Giving Father, the Great I AM who will never leave you, never forsake you, never slumber or sleep. I will be by your side and help you BE all that I knit you together in the womb to BE.

I AM, so you can BE.

* * *

Joshua, like me,  didn’t have to rise to the occasion… He just simply had to sink to his knees. His only command was to BE.

To BE at rest in the power and Truth of the God

that goes before

and guards from behind.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Moses,

and the God of Joshua.

 

And this same command is mine.

 

Jane, have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. When all your NOWs present themselves as enemies… just simply BE.

Because in my strength and in the courage from my hand, You are mine.

“… and I am the God that fights for you.”

 

Waiting:

Jesus,  you are the the God of Abraham, Isaac and Moses, and the God of Joshua. And you are the God of little ‘ol me.

 Help me to BE … in the NOW of who you are.

Watering Today: Joshua 1-2; Prov. 20; Psalms 20, 120; Acts 10-11

DSCN2262

 

Listening

Watering:

 9 Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things… they came together to wage war against Joshua and Israel.

However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended. They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy. Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgaland said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.”

The Israelites said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?”

“We are your servants, they said to Joshua.

But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

They answered: “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God. For we have heard reports of him…And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a treaty with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is. 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey.”

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord(Joshua 9)

Watching:

The children of Israel were on a roll. By the hand of God, they had had great victory, and their enemies knew it. But the Israelites had forgotten whose victories these had been.

And when God’s people get victory, Satan gets busy – with outright war, or undermining deception.

In the war thing, the Israelites were catching on: they needed to pray, listen, obey, and then win. But the ruse tactic? This was new to them. It proved to be a chink in their armor. They were wary – that was a good thing -but they forgot to confer with their Commander in Chief… What did HE think? What would HE say?

The Israelites tried to figure it out on their own.

And that was never in God’s plan.

Wondering:

There are a lot of things I think I get… but if I’m honest, I don’t.

I’ve seen God’s hand in my life. and I’ve experienced the enemy’s ruses. I’ve seen victories and I’ve experienced missteps. And from both, I’ve learned along the way. But honestly, I’m amazed at how much I still don’t know.

More than that, I’m often tripped up by how much I think I need to know. I don’t get why sometimes it seems easy to hear the Lord’s voice for the next step I am supposed to take… and sometimes so stinkin’ hard. And I don’t always get the ‘whens’ either. When do I step out? When do I wait and watch? When do I hang on and when am I supposed to let go?

Intellectually, I could probably “figure it out on my own.” I could argue all the variables and the ins and outs, and confidently parrot all that I’ve heard along the way … but my own words are just blah, blah, blah to my spirit.

And so, I’m often just a wiggly wavering mess that whimpers,”I’m just not sure!” …why would I pretend other wise? The enemy is a strong contender, and like a lion he searches for those he can destroy, trying to deceive even God’s elect. Seriously, why would I want to make any decision without consulting the One who holds my next heartbeat in His hands… The One who answers me every time and says, “I love you. You are mine. If I am for you, who can be against you?”

How little faith I have. But is that the truth, really? Faith is a gift, so none should boast. And Jesus says I only need a mustard seed’s worth anyway… I have just enough to know that it’s HIS words I need. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing By. The. Word. of God.”

The battles still rage, but the war is won. The enemy still plans his smoke and mirrors, but by the spoken Word of God, I have a God who fights for me. I have a God who holds my Victory in His hand. It is His small still voice I must hear – the only Truth I need to hear….And snuggling close, I can hear Him clearly,

Come to me. Don’t look down. Don’t look around. Look at me. Resist the enemy and he will flee. Cast ALL your cares on me because I care for you. Bring the big and the small – I care about them all. Just ask.  I will speak Truth to silence the lies. I will speak hope to your very core. I will speak peace to guard your heart. Test everything and hold fast to my word. I hold you in my hands, so ask, seek, knock, and I will come and have dinner with you, and we can reason together. You say you’re not worthy, but I’m telling you otherwise. Call out to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

The Israelites tried to figure it out on their own.

… that was never in God’s plan.

Waiting:

Jesus, I will hold fast your word. Where else can I go? You have the words of eternal life.

More Words to Water

DSCF2370

the REAL battle

 Watering:

K7A1434F70FC78_1001272

1“Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.  Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”  (Joshua 14)

Watching:

Caleb gets it. He’s always gotten it. Years before only he and Joshua, spying the promised land, saw the bigness of God – everyone else saw giants.

Only Caleb and Joshua shouted the truth:

Yes, there’s giants, but God is with us; do not fear them! The Giants are nothing but “bread for us.” God’s promises are greater. GOD – the God that parted the Red Sea –  that God, HE is greater, and He is with us. “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

Joshua and Caleb got it. They saw God and he saw them and  He let them cross to the promised land – everyone else God turned back.

Now, forty-five years later, Caleb still gets it:

There’s land still promised – out there and waiting. The giants are inevitable, but God… God is still faithful. God is still greater. I might be old, “but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out.”

God is not daunted by our age – old, or young for that matter. He still plans for us. He still dreams for us. He looks over our future and says, “There are still very large areas of land to be taken over.Come, occupy, overcome.”

Our bodies reach closer each day toward the grave, …”but those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up with wings as eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

And Caleb, wearing his 85 years proudly… knows whose battle it really is. He knows whose victory it will be.

Caleb is ready to rumble.  

Wondering:

This life is on a timeline but God is not bound by any time.

Maybe it will be that this aging body that becomes my biggest giant, or maybe it will be another – but God’s truth is ageless. There is no giant is too big for him.

And it is in my timeless spirit where the battle is won.

If I only see giants, then I’m missing the point of … everything.

If I only see giants, then I have let myself forget:

It is God that works in me.

I have overcome by the blood of His lamb.

I am more than a conqueror.

No weapon formed against me shall prosper.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

He keeps me as the apple of his eye.

…Because, seriously,  if God is for us, who can be against us?

Waiting:

Lord, you and me? … Let’s do this thing.

More word to Water

K7A1434F70FC78_1001272

Sleepovers

Watering:

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land…

Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.”

Then Joshua sent them off, and they went to the place of ambush and lay in wait between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai—but Joshua spent that night with the people.

(Josh 8: 1-9)

Watching:

Joshua had just come through a world wind initiation. His mentor had died and he had been catapulted into his new life of leading – of filling Moses’ shoes. Yikes… his very own “first rodeo.”

“Sure,” Joshua must have wondered, “the Lord had always been there for Moses, but will He be there for me?” Oh, and I’m sure the enemy took every opportunity to taunt him, “Maybe Moses that had that special something… Maybe you don’t have what it takes… Maybe this leading thing is all in your head. Maybe you’ll lose. … Surely you’re going to fail.”

But the Lord was kind and compassionate and told him over and over:

“Be strong and very courageous, Joshua….Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

And the Lord DOES show up for Joshua. He parts the Jordan River. He meets him along the path. He demolishes the walls of Jericho just by the people’s obedience and praise. And turns the people’s heart toward Joshua, just as they had loved Moses.

Everything Joshua could have hoped for…

But then comes that first crushing defeat. They’re routed. Crushed. Laid out. And all those fears come rushing back. And Joshua ends up on his face.

And then God Almighty, the Eye for an Eye God, the God who left Moses behind God. That God speaks straight to Josh the warrior, “Stand up!” But more importantly Joshua hears what his heart needs, “Don’t be afraid, Josh. Don’t be discouraged. Times like this come. I’ll lead you through them. I’ve got your back. You are not defeated. We’ve got this one in the bag.”

And then, the Creator of the Universe lays out His plan, step by step… speaking Peace to Joshua’s fear, speaking Courage to his despair. Helping him up off his face.

But that’s not even the best part of this story! Because what does Joshua do then? Yes, he does the leader thing and relays The Plan… but then he goes and spends the night with the people.

Joshua didn’t need to do that. He had gotten what he needed from God: He could command now.  The dissenting perpetrator had been found out and the ranks had been cleaned. He was free to lead. But instead He went to the people God had placed in his hand. He understood their fear.

Joshua got it. He had been reminded, and understood who was really leading … who was really in command.

He gave away what he had received – so they could all win.

Wondering:

I wonder if the receiving and giving out was the real catalyst God used to bring victory? I wonder if it wasn’t the defeat that brought the real victory to Joshua’s heart. Of course God doesn’t need any man to do any thing. But the fact is He chooses to use us… despite ourselves.

What a wonderfully crazy, dumbfounding, groundbreaking loving Father we have.

Bottom line: What I receive from God, is meant for sleepovers.

Waiting:

Father, you are everything and more than I need. Let me follow you into all the plans you have for me – — through the victories and through the defeats.

More word to water for the day

DSCN1691

Stand Up! What are you doing?

Watering:

The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? (Josh 1:10)

Watching:

The Lord, here, sounds a lot like Jillian Michaels from Biggest Loser, trying to get the contestants back on track. Using a slap or a cold toss of water to wake them up – to get them off their rears – so they can get their flabby-gabby, woe-is-me thinking, back into some potential making action.

And, seriously, what a better personal spiritual crossfit trainer than God?

Wondering:

When I am thrown to my face in despair, like Joshua, my default mode is often: self-loathing, self-pity, and inaction… or on a more ‘up’ day: sarcasm, self-debasement and apathetic indifference. Neither is very pretty.

And, honestly, I think up to this point God has been sweetly tolerant while I’ve wrestled with past demons.

But enough’s enough, ya know? … ’cause after awhile old demons can become ol’ pals. And quite frankly I know it’s time. I’ve been on my face too long.

I’m looking for that inner spirit 6-pack.

So I’m starting to hear THE trainer’s voice: Stop. Enough. Get up. Get going!… Do what you have to do!

…and all the while cheering me on: You can do this, but I won’t coddle you. You can do this, so get going. Stand up!

What are you doing on your face?

Waiting:

Jesus, quite honestly, I’m feeling a little whiny right now – that spirit is willing but the flesh is a mashed potato. Honestly, all I want to do is go back to bed. I’m just so tired of the constant barrage of ‘have tos’ and ‘you shoulds’ and ‘yes, buts…’

Half the time I feel like I am craving affirmations from man that speak of worth and progress, and the other half I could give a rip. But all the time I’m caught in between this flesh and this spirit.

Jesus, I’ve seen some of your intense disciplined kind of coaching. I’ve been through some firsthand. I don’t want to be that whistling tea kettle, whining in desperation… I want to know that Love guides me, and follows me, and surrounds every step of my coming and going, REGARDLESS of my discomfort along the way. My spirit is flabby and I know my boldness and persevering abs could use some definite tune-ups….

So, I’m asking you, Lord, to be mercifully merciless … in that personal trainer kinda way, would you?

More of His morning Word to water

P1000316