“I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me”—Philippians 4:13
How do you respond when you sense the Lord is calling you to a task that seems beyond your abilities? Do you list all the reasons why you can’t possibly do it? God already knows everything about you and the situation. He’s not asking your permission to proceed; rather, He is calling you to move forward with faith in Him. You can refuse, but you risk missing out on the blessings of a life lived in obedience to Him.
The Lord will equip you for whatever He calls you to do. And because the Holy Spirit dwells within every believer, we have everything we need to fulfill our divine mission. Instead of allowing inadequacy to deter you from obeying, let it drive you to your knees so you can depend on God’s insight and power.
Jericho was the first city the Israelites needed to conquer in their quest for the land of Canaan. When sending a pair of spies to check it out, Joshua probably didn’t realize that he would receive a glimpse of the Lord’s impressive behind-the-scenes activity.
We must remember to look at every obstacle through the lens of God’s unlimited strength and resources. Anything that appears to block His plans is an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His sovereign power. Just because we don’t see anything happening, that doesn’t mean He’s inactive. God is at work on the other side of our obstacles, arranging the details and bringing His plans to fruition.
When the spies returned to Joshua, they reported that the people of Jericho were scared to death. Having heard about the Jews’ deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, they were gripped by fear of the Lord. The stage was set for the conquest, though by that point, Joshua hadn’t done a thing. Sometimes we think we need to be involved in the solution to our problem, but God is not limited with regard to whom or what He can use to accomplish His will. In this case, He worked in the hearts of the opposition by instilling demoralizing fear.
For the Christian, great obstacles need not be reasons for discouragement. Although much of the Lord’s activity is silent and invisible, we can be sure He is dynamically working out His will for our life. When the pieces of His plan are in place, He will move us on to victory.
being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have full endurance and patience, and…—Colossians 1:11
God gave us the free will to choose His plan or step away from it. When life does not follow our desired path, we can try to make things happen in our own power. Though this option is tempting at uncomfortable times, it often leads to disappointment and difficulty, and we end up missing God’s best.
Scripture contains rich promises that we can claim throughout life—and God always keeps His Word. As His followers, we are to believe with faith, anticipate with hope, and wait quietly with patience (Rom. 12:12). In the meantime, we listen and obey.
Embrace whatever season God has you in right now. If it’s a time of waiting, choose patience, trusting that His plan for you is beautiful. Walking in His will requires us to remain sensitive to His voice. When we readily listen to our loving Father, He protects us from making mistakes.
Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.—Psalm 86:1
When life is moving along smoothly, it’s easy to say, “God answers prayer.” But a crisis can bring doubt, especially if the Lord is not responding as quickly as we might like. That’s when we may be tempted to bargain with God as if He could be manipulated into acting on our behalf. However, the goal of prayer is not to get God to do what we want but to bring our concerns to Him, trusting that He will answer in His own way and time.
Waiting on the Lord is fairly easy when we’re not facing anything urgent. But difficulties and suffering tend to make us impatient. We may even begin to find fault with God, thinking that if He truly loved us, He would intervene and bring relief.
As we seek the Lord for help, David’s prayers in the Psalms provide wonderful patterns for us to follow. He faced many dire situations and continued to turn to God. He recounts God’s character—gracious, good, ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call on Him. These characteristics are the basis for trust.
Knowing who God is enables us to trust Him through the crises of life. Because He is faithful, we know that He will keep His promises. His holiness causes us to examine our life and repent of any sins that are hindering our prayers. And His mercy, grace, and love give us the comfort we need to endure hardship.
“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.”—Acts 4:13
Is your belief system so ingrained that it guards you against temptation? If so, then certain issues have already been settled in your heart. Think about how beneficial that is: When you face certain situations in which you must choose whether to obey God, you don’t have to struggle. Why? Because that decision has already been made.
A settled mindset makes decisions easy because you don’t have to debate the pros and cons of submitting to temptation. Because your mind is already committed to obeying God, it won’t matter whether yielding is more convenient or profitable.
We find this in the example of Peter and John. Threats would not stop them from doing what the Lord had commanded. That’s the kind of commitment we should have when living according to our convictions.
When you are committed to living by your convictions, God will both strengthen you to stand firm and comfort you in any suffering that results.
When we go through the trials, troubles, and tribulation of life there is always the temptation to think that God has forgotten us.
During such times, we tend to think that God is far away from us, that He does not really care for us, and that He has forgotten all about us. Although it may not seem like it at times, the message of Isaiah says that nothing could be further from the truth.
We are always before the eyes of the Lord. Although God may allow the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life into our lives, we should not draw the conclusion from this that He does not care about us and that He has forgotten about us. Indeed, “The LORD will lead you. He himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid!” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
God really cares about us. God has not forgotten us. He has the pictures of us to prove it.
Matthew 5:1 says, “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the mountainside and sat down.”
America is in a hurry! Time has skyrocketed in value because of its scarcity. Jesus invites you and me, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened…” (Matthew 11:28). He invites us to leave behind the budgets, the bills, the deadlines; and walk the narrow trail with him to the sacred summit.
You can tell the ones who have been there. Their difficulties are just as severe, but there is stubborn peace that surrounds them…a contagious delight sparkles in their eyes. And in their hearts reigns a fortress-like confidence that the valley can be endured, even enjoyed, because the mountain is always only a decision away.