[God said to Joshua,]â€œBe strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers 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. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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 terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God WILL BE WITH YOU wherever you go.â€ — Joshua 1:6-9 (NIV)
I pray that everyone reading this devotion is a part of a fellowship that has leadership that will teach/preach Godâ€™s Word with His Truth that encourages us and yet, challenges us that there is ALWAYS more! My pastor is such a man of God. He reminded me yesterday that â€œthere are NO shortcuts to being a disciple of Jesus Christâ€. It is a personal choice every day to prioritize my day so that I will spend time with Lord, meditating on His word, and serve the Lord that day in the way HE directs.
God speaks to Joshua as he takes up the mantle that Moses has worn as the leader of Godâ€™s people. I would imagine that Joshua is scared and overwhelmed. I would be. Wouldnâ€™t you? And so what does God say to His leader? What â€˜secret to successâ€™ does God reveal to Joshua?
1) Be careful to obey. Do not be â€˜cleverâ€™ or â€˜smartâ€™ in your own mind but follow the rules that God has laid down. Remember how God told Joshua to win at Jericho? How they were to march around the well-fortified city in silence for days? I think they received some humiliating yells and taunts from the ones on the wall when all they did was march in silence and then leave! Each one had to make a choice to be obedient and not â€œturn to the right or leftâ€ by responding to the taunts and thus be disobedient. God keeps repeating to Joshua to â€œBe strong and courageousâ€ as we must be when God tells us to DO something that will displease the crowd. Yes, we must be careful â€“ to obey God!
2) Meditate on Godâ€™s Words. This â€˜secret to successâ€™ no easier than the first. Taking time â€“ taking the priority time of my day to sit and be quiet and allow God to teach me is difficult. My family, My work, My responsibilities push their way in and pull me in six different directions. Am I willing to admit that I really AM nothing and AM weak without God to direct me and show me His wisdom? Am I willing to admit that without Godâ€™s grace and mercy that I would give up? I MUST SPEND TIME WITH GOD EVERY DAY! And I will say to you today that I believe that must be at the beginning of each day! Yes, this is Jody who is NOT a morning person now admitting that I have argued and justified for years that God wants to spend time with me and He is â€œokâ€ to wait until the evening. Itâ€™s not working. I am getting up in the morning now and choosing to give God the FIRST part of my day. And I am being blessed with more joy and strength for the day than I can describe! God is faithful! Godâ€™s Words are more precious than gold and more fortifying than the best whole grains! Every day I receive something new from Godâ€™s Word. Everyday God faithfully gives me the â€˜nutrientsâ€™ I need for the day. â€œGive me this day my daily breadâ€¦â€ and God does. How great is that?!
Therefore, I plead with you my brothers and sisters, keeping in your mind the great mercy God has extended to you, offer Him your whole self as a living sacrifice that is holy just as He is holy and pleasing to Him. THIS is the best way to worship your Lord. Do not be like the world but choose to make a change as you renew your mind in the mind of Christ. THEN you will be able to assess and agree with the will of God â€“ His excellent, satisfying, and perfect will. — Romans 12:1-2 (my paraphrase)
Jody note: I wrote a related blog you might want to check out at www.jodyneufeld.com.