Memory verse: Ephesians 3:20: "Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." (NLT)
Do you ever imagine what God's dream is for your life? Why you're here? What He wants to use you for? God gave us our imagination. He wants us to be creative. This week's theme is stretching your imagination. God has plans and blessings in store for us that we could never comprehend or fathom. He tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him." (NLT) Joshua never would have guessed that God would ask him to have his army march around the city of Jericho seven times. I'm sure it didn't make any sense to him, but he loved God and he trusted in His promise in Joshua 6:2 when he says "see I have delivered Jericho into your hands" (NIV) His victory was already confirmed. All Joshua had to do was obey. Is God stretching your imagination? Is He working in you in ways you've never dreamed of? If not, pray today and open yourself up to the possibilities of His unimaginable promises.
Letting go of doubt.
Joshua's life reveals four secrets of being used by God. We're going to look at them over the next few days. Joshua wanted to be used by God and so the first thing
he had to do was let go of doubt. Joshua was a great warrior. He successfully commanded the army of Israel for many years. However he had to lead the Israelites after Moses. Those were some big shoes to fill. Not only that, but the job ahead of Joshua was huge! He had to lead the Israelites into a foreign land that was occupied by seven enemy nations all larger and more powerful that the Israelites. Joshua was apprehensive, even doubtful that he could do a good job after Moses. We know this because God is time and again encouraging him. Four times in Joshua 1 God tells him "Be determined and confident." Joshua 1:9 says "Be bold and strong. Banish fear and doubt for remember the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (NLT) Joshua was successful because he was able to choose to believe God and let go of his doubt.
Dear God, please open my heart to Your truths. Help me to choose not to doubt Your promises. Take away my fear that I might seek You with all my heart. In Jesus' name, amen.
Looking for a promise.
Joshua learned another secret of being used by God. Look for a promise. God's promise to Joshua was the land the Israelites were to inherit. Specifically "every place where you set your foot" according to Joshua 1:3 (NLT). God always keeps his promises because He cannot lie. At the end of his life, Joshua sees that they have conquered all of Palestine and he acknowledges that God has kept His promise. In Joshua 23 he says "every promise He has made has been kept. Not one has failed." (NLT) Read aloud this week's memory verse, Ephesians 3:20, it's printed on Monday's page. This is a terrific promise of God. Does God have a promise for your life? His word tells us He does. Are you looking for it? Pick a promise from God and speak it out loud to yourself today.
Leaning on the Lord.
Secret three that Joshua learned is to lean on the Lord. Have you ever done a trust fall? You know, all the kids at summer camp stand in a line a few feet apart from each other while you're on a platform about four feet above them. You close your eyes and fall backwards into their out-stretched arms, trusting them to catch you. Basically, that is what we are doing when we lean on God. We're depending on Him to hold us up. God held his arms out for Joshua. He says in Joshua 1:5 "No one will be able to defeat you all your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forget you." (NIV) God promises that He will never leave us. We can lean on Him. Who do you lean on? God or your own understanding? Leaning on anything or anyone but God leads only to disappointment. Maybe you have experienced this firsthand in your life. If so, you've learned the truth of Proverbs 3. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." (NIV) Trusting someone to hold you up is frightening. It's placing yourself voluntarily into the hands of another, with the risk of being hurt. Doubt will always make you question 'Is God going to hold me up?' That's what leaning in faith is all about. So today, take a deep breath, close your eyes and let yourself fall backwards in trust into the ever-present arms of the Lord.
Launch out in faith.
Joshua's fourth and last secret to being used by God is to launch out in faith. Marching seven times around Jericho wasn't the only imagination-stretching idea God had for Joshua. Even before that he and the Israelites had to cross over the Jordan river. You may think 'no big deal, it's just a river' after the Red Sea, this should be easy. But keep in mind that this generation of Israelites did not experience the parting of the Red Sea. That entire generation, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, had died. So here Joshua stands at the edge of the Jordan river, during flood season, no less, launching out in faith. All of his army is looking to him asking 'How do we get across?' Do you think God was stretching their imaginations by asking them to launch out in faith? You bet! Imagine what the priests must have thought when Joshua tells them to take the ark of the covenant and walk into the raging river Jordan. Again, Joshua let go of his doubt. He didn't compare himself to others, he didn't focus on past mistakes, he pressed forward, launching out in faith, confident of God's promises. What is your Jordan? Your barrier that you can't get around? Will you surrender your need to know and simply step out in faith?
Dear God, I want to surrender to Your will, give me Your strength and Your wisdom to step out in faith today. In Jesus' name, amen.
Ever wonder where doubt comes from? One place doubt originates is in comparing our abilities to those of others. Joshua doubted when he compared his leadership abilities to those of Moses. Are you caught in this trap? Do you compare yourself to others? The second thing that causes doubt is remembering our failures. Some small, some huge, but all of the mistakes that we have made in the past are in the past. God doesn't want us to focus on the past. If we're always looking backward, we cannot focus on what God has for us to do in the future. Are you preoccupied with some mistake from your past? Do you doubt God can use you because of it? Doubt is a choice. We can doubt and listen to the lie that Satan tells us or we can believe the truth of God, but we can't do both. Don't let doubt distract you from God's promises. Speak His promises to yourself and to others. Choose to let go of your doubt today.
Is your desire to be used by God? If so, He promises strength, success, and support. If He calls you to do something that requires strength, He will provide you with strength. If He calls you to do something that requires endurance, He will provide you with stamina. We can rest assured that He will not call us to do something without providing us with the resources. Joshua 1:5 says "No one will be able to stand against you."(NLT) God will give you the power to do what He asks. God also promises success in verse 8 if we are careful to obey God. And in verse 9 He promises His support: "I will be with you wherever you go."(NLT) Look for a promise of God in your life today.
Dear God, I want to find Your promises. Make them clear to me today through Your word. In Jesus' name, amen.