God’s Word Amidst Hard Changes (Part 2 of 3)

 

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.

Last week Tana Tuttle began to share with us practical truths from Joshua 1:1-9. We made our way through the first verse and a half with these highlights:

  • Sometimes for us, like for the Israelites, God doesn’t speak because He has already spoken.
  • God will always acknowledge the truth that needs to be faced.
  • God never plans to leave us in the past; there is always a “now” word coming from God.

I love how Tana highlights the relevance of God’s Word is to each of us. I can’t wait to read more!

                                                            –Sandy MacMillan

In Part 2 of 3, we begin mid verse 2, with “Now then…

tana photo

Tana and her daughter Kara

The next word in our text is “you”. You. A very personal word. You want to know why? Because you are important to God. What you are going through is important to Him.   God is very much into individuals. You are never an impersonal being to God. You are never overlooked, or pushed aside. You, your life—fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in your mother’s womb (see Psalm 139)—is of utmost importance.

Yes, “you” in the text was referring to Joshua, but don’t miss that “you” also means you! You are just as important to God as Moses was, or Joshua.

Really? Really. Does that mean that you will have the same call as Moses or Joshua? No, but it does mean that the call you have is just as important. I’ll tell you why in just a bit, but for now:

Remember that God’s present (now) word is always addressed first to you, personally.

After the word, you, the very next words extends the “you” to “and all the people”. God is saying: “You are important (see above). You and your family, you and your friends, you and your church, you and your generation. You are included in what I am doing in their lives and they are included in what I am doing in your life.”

God is working out a plan, a purpose that we cannot see right now, but we are important in what is happening on this earth. What happens in your life affects others, and what happens in others’ lives affects your life.

God is going somewhere with whatever you’re going through!

That’s why you are important, and so are others around you. You are just as important as Moses or Joshua and God has planned accordingly.

We know Moses and Joshua cooperated with God. Will you? Will I? That’s the question before us. If we do not know and understand our importance to God and His plan, we will whittle away our lives and we, as well as others, will suffer.

What is God calling you to do?   It is just as necessary to what God is doing as Moses and Joshua’s calls were for their generation.

God’s present (now) word will be addressed to you, personally, and expand to include the people around you.

Next word?

“Prepare.” Or as the NIV says, “Get ready.”

On the surface, when Moses died, it looked like God had abandoned the Israelites, that He had taken something from them, something important, something vital.

The enemy of our souls will tell us, “Look what God took from you; if He really loved you He would not have let this happen. If He were a good God, He would not let you suffer. This is unfair. God obviously doesn’t care about you.”

Have you heard this in your ear like I have? You know by now that these are the enemy’s lies. God is not a taker, He is a giver, or as I like to say, “God is an exchanger.”

God may take something away, but He always gives something in exchange. You will never be left with a minus (see 1 Cor. 4:7 and Romans 8:32).

God was going to exchange 40 years of wilderness wandering for the land of milk and honey. The incredible thing is, those 40 wandering years included many good provisions and promises from God. But there was more to come.

You and I know the story. These people, of course, did not yet know that the land of milk and honey was right up ahead or have confidence that they’d ever reach it. They needed a time of preparation, an in-between time.

You and I must have a time of preparation also. The things that are in your life, that you would never choose, are a preparation time for what is up ahead. It is an in-between time, in between n-o-w and n-e-w.

God is sovereign over everything in your life, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Now, prepare. God is up to something you cannot see that will turn out good. This is for you—and for others.

Now is the time to be expectant, to put your hope in God, to let Him walk you through the preparation time to the next place in your journey.

In your present circumstance, your new normal, God desires that you prepare for where He is taking you, for He is up to something good in the midst of your life.

(From Sandy:

We’re out of space for this week! So, like the Israelites, we can use the time to “prepare” for where God is taking us, while we wait to hear more from Tana next time!)

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Permission to Breathe

It’s already happening.

Before the Thanksgiving fixings were in the oven, I started falling into Harried Holiday mode. I felt like l was frantically trying to juggle all the balls others (and my own ego) threw at me, and life was inching into a bad place.

This morning, as I went to my first exercise class in months, the reality of my harriedness (is that a word?) smacked me in the face again. As we relaxed at the end of class, the instructor told us to lay back and to simply breathe in and out.

Abdome_superiorIt was so relaxing. Exactly what I needed. But then I thought—“Wow! How sad is it that I need someone to give me permission to breathe!”

So today, I’m giving myself—and all of you—permission to breathe. As soon as I’m done this e-blast, I’ve blocked time to look at my month, consider what I want it to look like, and do some damage control:

  • I don’t want my time with God to turn into devotions on the toilet and study prep time for Bible Study. I refuse to multitask God!
  • I don’t want to get so caught up planning our women’s ministry Christmas dinner that my loved ones find me too busy to interrupt. I don’t want friends and family to lose out because I have holiday chores to do. Relationships are eternal. But gifts wear out and cookies get stale. The decorations we put up today just have to get boxed up again in January!

 

There are things I love about the holiday season. I love baking cookies for my guys. I do like gift giving (within limits). I love how our Christmas tree brightens up the house.

And I do believe God loves a good party and celebrates Christ’s birth along with us.

But there are ways to push back against the crazy expectations. Little ways, and big ways:

  • Maybe I’ll skip make up, hair, and fussing about what I wear, so I can relax in my quiet time. Everyone’s too busy to notice my yoga pants anyway!
  • Maybe we’ll eat a few more meals out of the freezer, so I can sit at the table with my family instead of running around the kitchen.
  • Maybe I can skip hearing that Christmas performance and get to bed early.
  • Maybe I can give fewer gifts, knowing that those who truly love me love me, not what I give them.
  • Maybe I can schedule my time so that I know I have permission to breathe!

What does permission to breathe look like for you? My prayer is that you will rest with God and He will show you how to breathe your way through the
Christmas season immersed in His love, which will overflow into the lives of His Beloved all around us!

Merry Christmas from the Take Heart team!

–Sandy MacMillan, Take Heart Director

P.S. Please check out our Ministry Leaders Breakfast on December 12th and our Leaders Retreat at the end of January (see the Take Heart website, www.TakeHeartTogether.com for details). We don’t want to add more busyness to your schedule, but both will be great opportunities to breathe.

Feel free to come in your yoga pants!

Photo by André R. Maciel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons