Giants intended for Glory

What if the giants in your life, the huge terrifying difficulties that cause you to lose heart, to deem impossible, and refuse to go somewhere or do something because you believe you are completely incapable are actually the very things that are intended to display how awesome God is?

“The Lord now said to Moses,  “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites.” Numbers 13:1-2

I have read through these verses about the twelve spies going into the Promised Land many times. I often wonder about the purpose of spying out the land. It was God’s will for His people to live in that land from the very beginning when He promised it to Abraham and his descendants many generations before. It was the good land flowing with milk and honey that He chose for them long ago and now was the time for them to go into it. But God also knew they would see many things that would discourage them. Yet, He told Moses to send them in.

What was God’s intention for the spying out of the land?

Why did ten men come back with a bad report and two men came back with a good report?

While I don’t know God’s intentions, I can ask Him what He wants me to learn from this. One thing that I realize is the importance of looking at the things I face through the truth that God has told me.

All twelve spies were told the land they were going into was the land God promised to give them.

God’s truth said, “I am giving to the Israelites.”

Two of the men chose to look at the things in the Promised Land through the truth of this promise, while ten of the men chose to see the things in the Promised Land through their own eyes.

While spying out the land all twelve men saw the land certainly was flowing with milk and honey just as God had said. They were amazed by the bountiful fruit and brought some back to show the people.

However there came a, “But” in their report.

” But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!  The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley.” 

“We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.  We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”Numbers 13:28-29, 31-33

Whenever I say, “But” followed by something of the world in response to God’s truth it means I have allowed my own flesh to determine something different then God’s truth. 

When the ten spies saw the people and the fortified cities they considered themselves rather than God.

These ten men chose to look at the people and the cities through their own eyes, considering their own abilities, and trusting in their own strength, and determined they were incapable of taking the land.

These ten men made themselves “as God” when they chose to determine what was good for the people of God. 

When you choose to see situations through your own eyes, depending upon your own abilities, and trusting in your own strength you are playing the role of God in your life.

What if everything you looked at was seen through God’s truth?

The two men chose to see the things in the Promised Land through the eyes of faith in God’s truth.

 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” Numbers 13:30

They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land!  And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.  Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” Numbers 14:7-9

Joshua and Caleb saw the Promised Land and the things in it differently.

They saw the good and weren’t afraid of the bad.

They believed the truth of God’s word that said He was giving them the land. They believed they were God’s chosen people and that God was for them. They trusted in the power and love of God more than in themselves and didn’t consider their own abilities and strength.

Joshua and Caleb’s report had a “But,” however, it was followed by, “The Lord is with us!”

Joshua and Caleb chose to believe and to speak the truth when no one else believed them. The Israelites cried, wept, complained, and threatened to stone them for the way they saw the Promised Land.

All who believed the report of the ten men never entered the Promised Land. They never enjoyed the incredible abundance God intended for them. They never realized the amazing power and love God longed for them to experience as He went before them and showed His glory in conquering the land. All they knew was wandering around in the wilderness as they lived out their lives across the river from the promises of God.

So, I wonder, what are the giants and the fortified cities in your life that keep you afraid and focused on yourself? Whose report have you allowed to be “as God” and determine what is best for you?

Joshua and Caleb were the only two who entered the Promised Land and enjoyed the abundant provision and experienced the awesome glory of God displayed on behalf of His people!

 

 

Control Issues

The other day Mark suggested that we go sailing. It was a beautiful warm fall day and being out on the water surrounded by the mountains in all their fall beauty, although rather brown because it has been so dry, would have been wonderful!

So after I declined and opted instead to go for a hike I thought to myself, why?

Why did I choose a hike over sailing?

And do you know what answer came to my mind?

“Because hiking you are in control.

Sailing you aren’t in control.”

Wow! Where did that even come from?

I have to believe it was God.

Because then I began to think about what other things I am afraid of and when I really consider them, it comes down to the fact that I’m not in control. I tend to resist new or unfamiliar situations because I feel inadequate, incapable, and I don’t want to be in a situation that I could make mistakes, where I could be wrong, or could get hurt.

This revelation led me to ask God more about my issue with control.

I love the way God connects the dots of my life. When He shows me things that seemingly have nothing to do with anything, yet, as I allow Him to speak He shows me how so much of my life is woven together and how all the dots throughout my life have made me who I am today.

But I have lived enough life to realize that when God shows me things about myself it isn’t meant to just make me aware, but it is intended for me to grow from.

God wants to work ALL things together for my good!

So when I see some things that I don’t like or understand I realize I don’t need to just assume that is who I am, that I can’t change, and that I will always be the same.

I can respond by thanking God for revealing it to me and then ask Him to show me more.

And so the issue with control…

It wasn’t difficult to think of other ways I have responded by trying to control situations and others.

So I asked God where did that come from?

What were the dots in my life that caused me to feel the need to be in control and to fear not being in control?

Though I realize lots of people have control issues and I could just say, it is my sin nature, lots of people deal with this too, I believe I need to make it personal and allow God to show me the roots of my own sin and why I have control issues so that I can see the lies I believed and replace them with God’s truth.

And so God reminded me of the situation I experienced growing up in my family. Having a disabled sister required my mother’s time and attention leaving me to do so much on my own. I became very capable and independent at a very young age, but what I didn’t realize was the enemy took advantage of that and planted a lie that I needed to take care of myself. I didn’t need others to help me, and as long as I did all the right things I was good.

These lies became my reality and kept me striving to keep life safe, good, and right. But life never stays safe, good, and right, and that’s when fear kicks in and control takes over.

That fear, that emotion, comes out in different ways. Either in refusing to do some things, expressing frustration or anger towards someone who doesn’t see things the way I do, or by having a melt down when I make mistakes.

So when God showed me the lies the enemy planted and how they have kept in a prison of fear and hindered me from growing up into the woman He intends for me to be I asked Him to forgive me for believing the lies meant to rob, kill, and destroy.

What the enemy meant for my harm, God intends for my good!

God never intended me to live life on my own, independent, and in control.

God created me for His good pleasure, and chose me to be His very own, loved and cared for by Him, so that I will bring Him  praise and glory!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,  to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:3-6

God’s truth grows me up!

 

 

 

Your Maker is Your Helper

Where do you look for answers?

Where do you go to find help?

Today we live with so much information, so much knowledge available to us at the touch of our finger tips. The resources are endless.

But how do you decide which buttons to press?

How do you determine what information to read?

How do you choose what answers to believe?

With such easy access to information and so many options available…what is the filter in your mind that determines whether or not the information is true, or whether the answer is right for you?

Now if your situation is a product that needs repair or understanding of how to use it, then looking for the answers is best found in going to the maker of that particular product.

If you are having trouble with your I-phone you may try to fix it yourself by doing a reset. If that doesn’t work, you may ask your friends or google and find there are specific settings that need to be changed. These can be helpful for many of your phone issues, but what do you do when none of these answers work? Oh no! Not the Genius Bar at the Apple Store! Now that requires a lot more time and effort. You may need to be without your phone for awhile until there is an open appointment! But once you are there you will find those who have been trained in the knowledge and understanding of the I-phone. They have diagnostics available that can determine the problem and can offer a solution. And if they can’t solve the problem they have the power to give or sell you one that works.

The maker is the one who knows the product!

The maker has the power to fix the product!

And so, it brings me to my point.

Who made you?

This is a question that the enemy of your soul never wants you to answer correctly. He shrouds it with lies that breed confusion, he redefines it as you give power to the hurts and disappointments of others, and he uses the intellect and wisdom of this world to deceive so that you never really understand the one true answer to this question.

Because when you know the answer to this question, and you live fully convinced of its truth, you will always find the answers you are searching for, and always receive the help you need! 

“Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his.    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3

If you believe God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the One who spoke and everything came into existence is the One who knit you together, and formed every part of you in your mother’s womb…

If you believe God placed you exactly where He wanted you to be, at this specific time, to fulfill His purposes here on earth…

If you believe that God is the One who holds your being together, gives you every breath, and has every one of your days written before even one came into being…

If you believe God knows the number of hairs on your head, every word before you speak it, and promises that nothing in all this world can ever separate you from His presence and His love…

You have available to you all you need!

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

As your Maker, God knows you fully, there is nothing that comes into your day that God didn’t know about. He isn’t caught off guard by something someone said to you, by an accident that happened to you, by a diagnosis, or a financial loss.

Your Maker is your helper!

God has already been there, He has answers, solutions, and all the help you need and He wants you to draw near to Him so He can walk through it with you.

“God is our refuge and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1

As a creation made by God you were never intended to fix yourself, solve your own problems, or find your answers from the world.

David understood this when he wrote Psalm 121,

I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

God is for you, He is able to do exceedingly above and beyond all you could ever think or imagine! His resources are not limited to the things of this world, but are beyond your understanding and your ability! While the world may have answers, they only solve the symptoms, coving over the root issues.

God is more concerned with your heart than your situations because He knows that when your heart is changed your situations will change!  

So, before you press that button in search of an answer, go to God. Get out your Bible and read of His great and precious promises. Read them out loud over yourself and your situation. Ask God what He has to say, and then listen for His answer!

Your Maker is your helper!

Live Generously

While spending some time with my grandson, Elliot, the other day  I was reminded of something the Lord said to me several years ago.

“There is more where that came from.”

A friend and I were having dinner at a restaurant one evening and as we were finishing up she said to me the Lord was putting on her heart to bless a woman and her two daughters who were sitting several tables away from us. Being a single mom her attention was drawn to the woman and she had been watching them as they ate dinner together. I remembered I had some extra cash in my wallet and agreed to pray together about what we should do. As we prayed about how we should bless this woman and her girls and how we should share God’s love for them my mind went back to the amount of cash I had in my wallet and considered, “That’s all I have, should I give it all?” It was then that the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear, “There is more where that came from.”

With that I was convinced we should put our money together and bless them with it. Then we needed to come up with the words to say. How do you walk up to someone and give them money? I let my friend put some words together because she had been in a place of need herself and found words to speak encouragement and hope found in trusting Jesus for all our needs. Then we planned the delivery. Why can blessing someone feel so strange sometimes? We came up with a strategy and went for it. My friend shared some encouraging words, we handed her the money, and then went on our way.

I don’t know what the woman and her girls thought of it, but we were overjoyed! I had such joy in my heart it was all I could think about for a long time!

There is nothing like the joy found in giving!

This is what Elliot reminded me of the other day…

It was snack time so I put several veggie straws in a dish for him. He took one and ate it, then he held one up for me to eat. He continued to share his veggies straws and every time the dish was empty, I reached into the enormous bag of veggie straws and put more in it.

This was when the Lord spoke to me again and said, “Elliot can so easily share because he knows there will always be more.”

Elliot wasn’t responsible for the supply of veggie straws. He was only given the choice of what to do with the veggie straws that were in his dish. He enjoyed eating some himself and he found joy in sharing them with me.

God made me laugh as He told me He has an enormous bag of veggie straws available and all I need to do is trust that He will always fill my dish when I choose to share them with others!

When I know the truth that God has everything I need and will always supply my need it removes the fear that I won’t have enough and frees me to live generously!

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Lessons From Children

As a mother I have learned that God gives many lessons through the “mouths of babes.” While I may have thought I was the one teaching and training, I have come to realize that there has been many things my Heavenly Father taught me through my children. 

Such as a lesson about love…

As my first born, Brian was everything to me. All my time, energy, and purpose was wrapped up in caring for him and spending time with him. As my first baby I was wowed with his “firsts”! Every day he did something new and I was so caught up in watching him grow and spending time with him. So when I became pregnant again at first I was eager to have another little one to enjoy as I was enjoying Brian. But as the months progressed I began to wonder if I would be able to love another baby as I loved Brian. When Cliff was born, I learned the lesson that because God is love, love has no limits, it always abounds, and there is plenty for everyone! 

With each new baby I realized that not only does love abound, but because God creates each one uniquely, each child’s firsts were amazing! Just as I delighted in Brian’s firsts, I delighted in Cliff’s, Austin’s, and Kayla’s because each one’s firsts were unique to them. They each learned and responded differently according to their personality and I loved them for it. 

When they were a little older they would ask me who I loved most. Now maybe at the moment it did seem as though I loved one of them more than the others, but that question never received the answer they were looking for. So they would come up with their own answers based on how they perceived the ways I demonstrated my love. Who got the most things, who was allowed to do the most, who got away with the most…

I enjoy the simplicity and honesty of children. I think this is why God can teach us lessons through them.

I’m sure you have wondered if God really loved you and when you didn’t seem to get an answer, you began to ponder the evidence to prove whether He did or not?

How do you determine God’s love for you?

You are probably like my children and begin to look for evidence.

What is the evidence that proves you are loved?

This is an all important question you need to consider!

How you answer this question will determine whether or not you ever know whether you are truly loved. 

If you look for evidence of God’s love for you

in the things of this world…

in the people of this world…

in the successes of this world…

to determine whether God loves you or not you will always be uncertain, you will always be searching, you will never have enough evidence to know you are loved. 

My children have grown to realize that the amount of things they received, permission to do certain things, being allowed to get away with things doesn’t prove my love for them. Yes, these are expressions of my love, but my love is not to be measured by the amount of evidence, nor is my love conditional upon their performance, I love them simply because they are mine!

And this is what God says to you as well, 

“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, And He who formed you, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

This is God’s answer to your question as to whether or not you are loved. God’s love for you isn’t found in the things of this world, in the people of this world, nor in the successes of this world, it is found only in Him because God is Love!

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:15-16

Evidence of God’s love is written all throughout the Bible and is displayed all throughout His creation, but the climax of His Love was demonstrated on the cross as His Son, Jesus, died for the forgiveness of sin so you can personally know and experience the One who is love, God Himself!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

So rather than searching for evidences of God’s love for you, search for God Himself, spend time with Him, get to know Him through His word, talk with Him throughout your day for God is love and the more you know Him the more you will experience His love!