Remember for Courage

10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

Deuteronomy 6:10–12(ESV)

As a young boy growing up in church, I remember singing an old hymn “count your blessing name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” There are so many times in the scriptures God calls us to remember his mighty works lest we forget the power of our God. 

When the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, and the Jordan river, a marker was placed to remind them of God’s mighty salvation and serve as a memorial for the next generation. This remembrance of God’s power to deliver would play an essential role in the battles they still had to face in the Promise Land. 

It is so easy to forget God in the good times. It’s easy to forget that without God’s blessing we would never have gotten this far; without His power and strength, we would still be wandering around in the wilderness with no ability crossover into the Promise Land. 

Three ways to remember God’s mighty hand

Keep a journal of God’s blessings and provision in your life. 

Take a moment and recount the amazing things God has done in your life that have brought you this far. Write down some blessings and praises, so you don’t forget. 

Make a habit of praising the Lord each morning as you start your day.  

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!”

Psalm 150:1-2 (ESV)

Live in expectation of God’s mighty deeds. 

As you remember all the mighty things God has done, it will give you courage for the things God is about to do. Let God’s past be the predictor for your future. God has brought you this far because he has great things in store for you.  

I have written this blog as a continuation of the message “Crossing Your Jordan”  Click here to watch the sermon in its entirety

If this blog has blessed you in some way, please leave me a comment below, so that I can be encouraged with you. 

Navigating Uncharted Territory: Part 2

“Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.” And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.”

Joshua 3:5-9 ESV

If you’re the adventurous type uncharted territory can be very exciting. I love going to new placed and trying new things. If you’re not adventurous uncharted territory can be the scariest thing in the world. There are no answers in uncharted territory. You must trust in something; your instincts, your intuition, or the Lord.

As Joshua prepared Israel for her journey into the Promised Land, he gave them four commands that we can use today.

First: Put the Lord in the front. (Covered in Part 1)

Second: Prepare yourself through Consecration.

Consecration is a big word for “all in!” You must set your heart and mind on the journey trusting the Lord knows what he’s doing and where he is going. The Lord is doing wonders around you. If you’re not consecrated to the mission, you will miss the blessing because of your fear.

To Consecrate yourself to God, find out what’s keeping you from Him and remove it. It sounds simple, but it’s not. You must search the deepest parts of your soul to find the hidden things that keep you from God.

Third: Follow the Instructions.

You can conquer anything as long as you have a clear word from the Lord. You don’t need to know what lies ahead. Be assured of what the Lord said. When God sets your course stay on course. Don’t turn to the left or the right (Joshua 1:7).

When you are in uncharted territory, the instruction might save your life. You don’t know the dangers and pitfalls that lie ahead. Draw close to the Lord and let Him guide your path.

“Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” God has given us clear instructions in His Word and through His Holy Spirit. Too many people have gotten hurt because they wouldn’t follow directions.

God is about to do wonders in your midst. Things you could never imagine or accomplish on your own. Follow clean and close to Him, and He will guide you every step of the way.

If you would like to know more on this subject, watch the full message entitled “Uncharted Territory” by clicking here.

If this blog has encouraged you in some way, please subscribe and leave your comments below.

Navigating Uncharted Territory: Part 1

“At the end of three days, the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”

Joshua 3:2-4 (ESV)

As God prepared the children of Israel to enter the promised land, He knew they had “not passed this way before.” They had been wandering around in the desert with their parents for the past 40 years. It was time to leave the old ways behind and begin something new.

At times, you might feel God moving you from something old to something new. A change of scenery or a change of life. But how you navigate this uncharted territory could be the difference in success and failure.

In Joshua chapter three, Joshua gives Israel 4 steps to prepare for this new adventure of uncharted territory. We can apply these same four steps as we venture into uncharted territory.

Step 1: Put God in Front.

Too many believers try and anticipate the next move that God wants to make instead of watching to see where God is going. You are commanded to follow and not guess where God is going. God has given everyone two guides to follow: the Word of God, and the Spirit of God.

The Word of God is the instructional road map of life.

It will guide you through the twists and turns.

It will steer you away from the pitfalls of life.

It can only help you if you read it. (Try reading the book of James.)

The Spirit of God is your guide through the maze of life. When a person puts his or her faith and trust in Jesus, God gifts them with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit of God become your internal compass to guide you through life.

The Spirit guides you into all truth. You have a defense against the lies of the world.

The Spirit brings peace that passes all understanding, revealing to you that you are on the right path.

The Spirit leads you with power and might to produce God’s will in your life.

You must choose to follow the guides God has placed in your life. There is no reason to navigate blindly through life. The more you understand the road map of the Bible, the more you will recognize the guidance of the Spirit in your life. Set aside time each day to put God out in front by reading the road map and listening to the Spirit.

To be continued…

If you would like to know on this subject, watch the full message entitled “Uncharted Territory” by clicking here.

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3 Things that Define You?

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Ephesians 1:7-10, ESV

Have you ever stop to think how God defines you? We define ourselves in all kinds of ways, some good some not so good. But God always defines us from his point of view. He defines us by his mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love all brought about by his Son Jesus Christ. He no longer views of as sinner but as saints; joint heirs with Jesus and apart of the household of God.

Here are 3 Things that Define You.

Don’t be defined by your past but God’s present.

As a child of God you are no longer defined by your past. You have become a part of God’s family, and thus a part of past, present, and future. You’re not writing your own story but have been written in to God’s story. God’s redemption story.

In God’s redemption story all the sins of the past are washed away through the power of the cross. Your current situation is a part of God’s never ending story ending in everlasting hope. God has wrapped up your entire life from beginning to eternity in his redemption story.

Don’t be defined by fear but by faith.

Knowing that your living in God’s story allows you to put your faith in something bigger than you. It’s no longer a matter of you coming through, but God seeing you through. You can trust in God because he has told you the end of the story.

Don’t be defined as a coward but by courage.

God’s desire for you is not to cower to this world, but to be strong and courageous. You display courage when your faith turns to action. Pushing through because you’re confident in the Lord’s plan and power.
Courageous people save other people. Stand firm in your faith knowing that God has written you into His story.

If you enjoyed this blog, please subscribe. If you would like to hear more on this topic, watch Pastor Bill’s message entitled, “What Defines You?” Click Here. Please comment below if you were encouraged in some way today.

What Life Are You Holding On To?

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:24-25

Have you ever thought about what Jesus meant by losing your life to save it? Your understanding of this truth will either keep you in your past or propel you into your future.

The story of Rahab the harlot and the King of Jerico is a good illustration of this truth. The entire city of Jerico was on red alert because of the advancement of Israel on their city. Word had come to Jerico that the God of Israel was coming to take the city. But there was a major difference in the way Rahab looked at the future and the view from the kings palace.

The king loved the city and was willing to die for his way of life. The God of Israel coming into his life was a threat to his way of life. What the king didn’t understand was no matter how hard he tried to save his life he was going to lose it.

Rahab viewed the coming of the Lord as an opportunity for a new and better life. The coming of the Lord brought her hope and security that the king of Jerico could never provide. Rahab had to lose her current life to save it.

What life are you holding on to? The life the world offers is a condemned life. No matter how much security and safety you think it brings, it will soon all be gone. You can only experience a new life in Christ when you are willing to lose the old one. You can’t life two lives at the same time.

The Lord is coming. That will either threaten your current life or bring you hope for the new one. What life are you holding on to?

If you enjoyed this blog, please subscribe. If you would like to hear more on this topic, watch Pastor Bill’s message entitled, “What Defines You?” Click Here. Please comment below if you were encouraged in some way today.

Holding Grudges

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14–15, ESV

Have you ever talked with someone who holds grudges?  They seam to have the goods on everyone.  The longer you talk to them, the more you realize they have a grudge on everyone about everything.

As Jesus is laying out the rule of His kingdom in Matthew 5-7, He uses some strong language for those that will not forgive i.e. hold grudges. When I think about the insurmountable pile of sin of which Jesus forgave me, I must forgive others.

People that hold grudges are broken people. At best, broken people hold grudges as a means of protection against future hurts from others. At worst, broken people hold grudges as a means of power over others that might try and hurt them. It’s a defense mechanism that isolates an individual from having deep relationships with others. 

But what if you didn’t have to live broken?  

What if you could be whole in the midst of all the tragedy in your life?

What if you could take the bad things and turn them into blessings for others? 

Forgiveness Restores Relationships

“If you’re not willing to forgive sinners, you’re destined to be alone.”

Everyone has coping mechanisms to deal with the hardships of life. God has placed us in relationships to learn to cope together. When a person holds grudges, you tear down the very coping mechanisms that were meant to get you through life. When relationships are replaced with grudges for coping, you find yourself alone with no help. Better to restore the relationship so you may benefit from it’s healing powers.

Forgiveness Removes Consequences

“Forgiveness is not a power to control but a gift to pass on.”

As Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, forgiveness is a major theme of the prayer. Your attitude toward forgiveness determines God’s attitude toward your forgiveness. All God is asking us to do is to pass on the forgiveness that we have received. 

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Colossians 3:12-13, ESV

Forgiveness Refocuses the Heart

“Forgiveness changes your perspective and allows you to see through God’s eyes.”

There is only one character in all the Bible that is called the accuser of the brethren and that is Satan. I don’t know about you but that’s not the company I want to keep. Isn’t it better to be know as the forgiver rather than the accuser. When you forgive, you put on Christ to those who need forgiveness. You see clearly how you can be a part of the solution instead of enhancing the problems.

Forgive, Restore, Redeem, and Bless, for this is the work of the Lord that forgave you.

If you would like to learn more on this subject listen to Pastor Bill’s message entitled “The Power to Forgive” by clicking here. And for more messages like this one visit reliant.church.

4 Characteristcs of World-changers

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” (Acts 1:8, ESV)

Can you picture it? Jesus ascending up in the clouds. The disciples gazing up into heaven. And Jesus says these words as his last words to them before he went out of sight.

If you’re a Christian growing up in church, you probably heard a message on the “Great Commission”. Where the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20) reveals our purpose, Acts 1:8 shows the power to get it done. Only Acts 1:8 Christians have the power to fulfill the great commission of the Lord.

Notice that the scope of Acts 1:8 is worldwide. Jesus used the word “and” instead of “then.” Jerusalem, and Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Paul took this command seriously and witnessed through all the known world at that time. Acts 1:8 Christians change the world.

Hear are 4 characteristics of World-changers.

World-changers are empowered by the Spirit. All the spiritual power you need to do spiritual work comes from the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit’s work is to testify and bear witness of Jesus. “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.” (John 15:26, ESV) It only makes since then that when the Spirit comes upon you that you will be a witness for Jesus as well. Since the time of Christ, the church has been defining what it means to be Spirit filled and Spirit led. But one thing is for sure. The leading of the Holy Spirit will cause you to witness.

World-changers work in community with others. When you look at this verse in the Greek language, it is very clear that the “you” is plural. Jesus never intended for a disciple to accomplish this daunting task. The Spirit brings disciples together to do amazing things. We call this gathering “The Local Church.” Jesus empowers and guides the local assembly to promote the gospel in her local context and send out witness’ around the world. (Acts 13)

World-changers have a worldwide focus. Jesus has called you into something bigger than yourself. Although salvation is a personal decision, it leads to a greater mission. You are not only empowered to better your life, but to change the world. The power of the Spirit is only realized in worldwide focus.

World-changers are always on mission. As a Christian, you are to be on mission all the time. When you wake up, no matter where you wake up, you should be a witness for Christ. The Spirit leads people to do different things in different places. No one can be everywhere. This is what Jesus meant when he told the disciples they would be able to do more after he left. The Spirit has placed you where you are to be a witness for Christ. If you fail to be on mission, you let down the body. If the whole body is on mission, we have a worldwide witness of the gospel.

The Secret to Success

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Joshua 1:7-8 ESV

Believe it or not, the Bible speaks a lot about being prosperous, and having good success. Some have this attitude that Christians are not supposed to have success in life, but instead a life of pain and suffering. Inevitably in everyone’s life there will be hard times. But God’s desire for the success of his children is clear all through out scripture.

The question we all should wrestle with is, “What does godly success really look like?” Let’s make it simple. Godly success is being used by God to bring about his will on earth as it is in heaven. You will never know godly success until you understand the heart of God. God reveals his heart and plan through the Bible he has written for all Mankind to read.

God promised Joshua that if he would follow his commands and stay on track with God’s Word, he would live in great success and prosperity. The same hold’s true for us today. If we, as God’s children, would keep His word in our heart and mouths, we too would live in the success and prosperity of the Lord.

This was the only condition placed on Joshua for success. The rest, God promised he would provide. All the provision and power, God would provide for the success of the mission. Joshua was to keep his nose clean.

Here are 3 things that I want you to focus on as you are planning for success.

  • Don’t sweat the big stuff of God’s plan. He’s got all that covered for insured success.
  • Focus on your own heart and draw close to God through his word.
  • Hold your head up in victory knowing God’s already won. You’re already walking in his prosperity and success.

Fighting with the Lord

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.

Joshua 1:1-3, ESV

Can you imagine the thoughts that went through Joshua’s mind when God said, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people Israel.”

Moses had lead the people for the last 40 years, performed many miracles to sustain the people, and now Joshua must fill his shoes.
What do you do when God calls on you to do something bigger than you ever imagined? Do you take a leap of faith or do you freeze in fear? The next time that happens I want you to keep these 3 things in mind.

1. God is calling you into a story that is bigger than you.

The story didn’t start with you and it will not end with you. Take the pressure off yourself and realize God is the author of the story. God always provides for those he calls. Take the opportunity to walk with God and experience all He has for you.

2. God’s plan is not dependent on your success or failure.

God’s plans are always successful because He is the power behind the plan. Over and over in the scriptures, God promises that he will go before us and be with us through every battle and trial. We are not to fear because the Spirit of God is with us and for us.

As Moses held up the rod over the Red Sea he said, “Behold, the salvation of the Lord.” Moses knew it was the power of God that would save them. All he could do is watch, “Behold.” God is not expecting us to provide the power. We are to draw the attention of the people to the One with the real power.

3. God’s plan, God’s power, God’s glory!

Joshua would lead the children of Israel into many victories. People would talk of his greatness, but Joshua knew better. The only one worth of the victory is the Everlasting God.

Any great leader realizes the victory belongs to God. In the victory, you must remain humble, giving all glory to God who provided all the power to see the plan come to pass. Many bible characters found themselves shipwrecked by believing what people were saying. Better to stay humble and be used again than to take the glory and God use another.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9, ESV

To watch my sermon on this topic entitled “Where Your Strength Comes From,” you can click the title or visit www.reliant.church/sermons.

Living in Healthy Fear

Have you ever seen a child get to close to the waters edge. To them it is a cool place to see and experience new things as they live on the edge. To the parents its a nightmare because they understand the dangers that can happen.

Fear is not always a bad thing. You can have to much fear that paralyze you can keep you from living. The right amount of fear can keep you save and secure.

So it is with our fear of God. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 1:7 that ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love, and self control.’ But we are also commanded to fear the Lord in the Old and New Testament. So, what is the proper balance of fear in a person’s life.

My Dad and I had a great relationship growing up. Being the oldest of his boys I would go to work and play with him. We had a great time together. But I never forgot the position of authority he held in my life. If I was going to be accountable to someone, I was going to answer to my Dad.

You relationship with your heavenly Father should be much the same. He wants to be with you in work and play. I wants to be your closest friend but you must not forget the place of authority he holds in your life.

“There is no fear of God before their eyes” is the commentary of people who don’t know God in Romans 3:18.  I’m afraid this same problem has carried into the church with God’s children.  God is a merciful, caring, and forgiving God that wants to see you succeed in every area of your life. But as a loving Father he will also hold you accountable for your actions to keep you on a good path.

Love the Lord and fear him at the same time. He is not out to hurt you but he does desire to protect you. When he tell you to quit playing on the edge its not because he wants to steal your since of adventure. He just knows the dangers and wants to protect you.

A healthy fear of God will keep you safe and secure along life’s journey.

If there is a topic you would like me to cover in a blog just leave it in the comments below and I will add it to the list.