LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a JOURNEY involves CHANGE…..embrace CHANGE in your LIFE…..LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a JOURNEY involves CHANGE….. in your LIFE…..LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a
“Observations of an Onion“
Definition of Processing Change: undertaking steps to develop a transition that is occurring – taking action to complete a change
Master Key Verse: the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter. – Ecclesiastes 8:5b & 6a
While we were on our Life-Journey-Change experience regarding our new home, one of the major things I learned was that possession results in potential, not perfection. I expected (Remember the posts for September 17 about “Expectations or Expectancy.”) things to reflect more perfection when we moved into our new home since this was the home God had revealed to us as being where He wanted us to live. (Remember the posts for September 10 about “Hidden . . . then Revealed.”) However, such was not the case. I have now come to realize that the new home had potential that we needed to develop. There were some functional issues that my husband had not planned on needing to do, but there was still potential with this house. I became frustrated with some cleaning projects but there was still potential with this house. Possession did not mean everything was perfect but possession did allow us the opportunity to maximize the potential of the property. It all depended on my perspective of our situation.
The same was true for the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land of Canaan after being set free from Egyptian slavery. I imagine they expected their new homeland to be perfect and void of enemies since God had led them to this location. Such was not the case. According to Joshua 1:3, the Lord has promised to give them every place where they set their feet. God fulfilled that promise but the land was still inhabited by the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, etc. who needed to be driven out of the land. The land had potential but the Israelites had to fight battles even though they had possession.
Possession resulted in potential, not perfection, for the Israelites in their new homeland. Possession resulted in potential, not perfection, for us in our new home. When anyone becomes part of the family of God, one is promised a new home for eternity. (Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – John 14:1-3) We possess the promise of an eternal home, but while living our earthly life we have the responsibility to develop our potential to become more like Christ. (And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son – Romans 8:28-29)
Possession gives us responsibility and accountability for the potential of what has been purchased or attained, but it does not mean perfection. Going back to my theme of Life-Journey-Change, I must say that writing the check for the cost of the house and attaining the deed to our new home was not the completion of our journey. There were still promises for us to claim for our life’s journey that continued even after we had taken the step of change that took us into the promised land God had for us. I still needed to keep the proper perspective and hold tightly to specific promises in the Bible that is a “land of promises.” Let us look at three of these promises in the following study.
The Promise of Battles
We may not like the promise that battles will occur but it is something we must face.
There can be no victories without battles!
John 16:33 says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have over-come the world.”
Trouble may refer to battles, so let’s see how the Israelites fought their first battle
*The Battle of Jericho
Read Joshua 6 for details of the Battle of Jericho. (This is the first battle the Israelites had to fight after entering the Promised Land.)
God gave the instructions and the people were obedient to follow His instructions.
***Although some of the instructions were unusual, the people did as they were told.
We must be obedient to follow God’s ways even though they may seem unusual to as did the instructions for the Israelites.
***Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
Reference to the number 7 is important because 7 is symbolic of God’s completion while 6 is symbolic of man. God is in control of all aspects of this battle.
***7 priests with 7 trumpets led the march around the city once each day for 6 days.
***On the 7th day they marched around the city 7 times. They then shouted and blew the trumpets and the walls collapsed.
An oath was made not to rebuild Jericho. The battle belonged to the Lord and His victory was not to be overturned.
* The Battle of the Mind
Our battles are often fought in our minds, but we can learn strategies for our battles from how the Israelites fought the Battle of Jericho.
Read II Corinthians 10:3-6
When our battle is spiritual, we must capture our thoughts in order to capture our spiritual enemy.
If we do not take thoughts capture, imaginations take over. Imaginations come from images. Imaginations seem to be logical to our mind but in reality they are the illogical images that the enemy wants us to believe.
Notice in verse 5 that we are to be obedient just as obedience was required by the Israelites.
One reason we must take our thoughts captive is because the battle is not our responsibility. It belongs to the Lord according to II Chronicles 20:15 “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
Oswald Changers has stated in My Utmost for His Highest, “We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles.”
The battle in II Chronicles 20 was fought with praise (see verses 16-40) and the Battle of Jericho was won with shouts to the Lord. We, too, need to fight the battles of our minds by praising the Lord.
The Promise of Proper Protection
Knowing that the battles we fight belong to the Lord, we can have the confidence that He will provide the proper protection or armor for us.
Think of the story of David and Goliath recorded in I Samuel 17. Goliath was a Philistine and the Philistines were some of the people who needed to be overcome by the Israelites. (Read the complete chapter to refresh your memory with details.)
*Protection for David to Fight the Battle with Goliath
Read I Samuel 17:38,39 to find out how Saul wanted to dress David to fight Goliath.
***Saul used “his own tunic” and a heavy coat of armor, a bronze helmet and a sword the size Saul would need
***David was smart enough to know this would not work for him and he fought with his staff and five stones
Notice verse 45 for what else David took with him – “You (Goliath) came against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.”
*Protection for Us to Fight Spiritual Battles
Today we have God’s Armour as described in Ephesians 6:10-18. (Read this account.)
***Notice in Verse 10 that we are to be strong in the Lord rather than our own strength
***Also notice the reference to “full armor” in verses 11 and 13
Just as David came “in the name of the Lord,” we can apply the name of Jesus to each piece of armor as He is our mighty warrior. Notice how Jesus personifies each piece of armor mentioned in Ephesians 6.
***(v14) Belt of truth – John 14:6 says, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (a belt placed around the waist near the part of the body where birthing takes place)
***(v14) Breastplate of righteousness – I John 2:1 refers to Jesus Christ as the Righteous One (the breastplate protects the heart and it is the center of our being)
***(v15) Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace – Isaiah 9:6 prophecies Jesus to be the Prince of Peace and the gospel is the good news of this fact (we stand firm on our feet and we must be ready to share the foundations of our faith with those we encounter in our daily walk)
***(v16) Shield of faith – I Timothy 1:14 refers to faith being in Christ Jesus (we can move the shield to cover whatever part of our lives needs extra protection and faith assures that it will be done)
***(v17(Helmet of salvation – Luke 2:11 tells us that a savior has been born and he is Christ the Lord. (we need our head protected because we make decisions with our minds and according to I Cor. 2:16 we can have the mind of Christ)
***(v 17) Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God – John 1:1 quotes, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God.” This refers to Jesus (this is our only offensive weapon, but God’s Word pierces deep into the soul)
Protection through prayer
***Ephesians 6:18 instructs us to pray in the Spirit after putting on the armor of God.
Prayer is not a piece of the armor, but it definitely is an action that will keep us on the offensive, especially when we claim God’s Word when we pray.
The Promise of Promises
Remember, the Word of God is our only offensive weapon so we must claim our promises!
God’s Word is a double-edged sword that can cut out what is not of the Lord as well as pierce the soul with what is of the Lord.
Isaiah 55:11 NKJV, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which He sent it.
God’s Word contains all the promises we need – this is “the land of promises.”
There is power when we speak the words spoken by God in scripture.
I challenge you to seek personal promises from His Word for your personal battles. You may be in your Promised Land, but as you continue your journey of life there will still be changes and challenges.
I encourage you to write a declaration of faith filled with the personal promises God reveals to you. Speak these promises out loud. God is faithful to fulfill His Word!
To bring everything together that we have studied today, read Joshua 24. In this chapter, God speaks to the Israelites through the voice of Joshua reminding them how He has led them throughout their entire journey that started when He called Abraham to a journey out of the land of the Chaldeans. This chapter recounts the changes the Israelites experienced and the battles they fought. The people are assembled at Shechem to hear these words. We all have our own personal Shechem, the place where God meets us in a special way as we continue our life’s journey. Our Shechems are places and times where God has provided for us and fulfilled His promises. He has blessed us but He also wants us to bless others by our sharing our personal journey experiences of change with those around us.
The Israelites needed to meet at Shechem to be reminded of the faithfulness of God and His promises. Joshua 24:14 says, “fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness.” God is faithful and He desires us to be faithful. In verse 15 Joshua gives the people a choice, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” What is your choice? Will you choose to enter the Promised Land and cling to the land of promises? Joshua concluded this scripture verse by saying, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
I again quote Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest, “to turn head faith into a personal possession is a fight always, not sometimes.” We may have stepped into the Promised Land and held on to our land of promises within scripture, but there are still battles to fight. Many of these battles begin within the mind. Remember the three promises we have studied today and apply them to your personal journey. Take possession of all God promises you and then give a victory shout! Don’t for get our Master Key Verse found in Ecclesiastes 8:5b-61a: “the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter.”