Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What’s your Promised Land? by @emilylaney

Photo Credit- S Khan (creative commons)

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.  I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. – Joshua 1:2b-3. 

I’ve kept coming back to the book of Joshua so far in 2015. There are so many lessons we can gleam from the book of Joshua. This portion of history, where the Israelites finally enter the Promised Land, is full of examples of how much God loves us. It’s got me thinking about the “Promised Lands” in my life, and things we can learn from Joshua as we pursue the calling God has placed in our hearts.

1. It all starts with faithfulness: Joshua was Moses’ aide for many years before he led the people of Israel into the Promised Land. I imagine the work was not easy, but Joshua was faithful. He stayed true to his task and focused on God.

2. God is with us. In chapter one of the book of Joshua, God says Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9). God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous three times in that first section. And he promises to be with him.

3. If our plans are God’s plans, they will happen. Who would have thought that by marching around Jericho 7 times, that the mighty walls of that fortified city would crumble to the ground? God had a plan for Joshua to lead the people to this victory, and when Joshua obeyed the Lord’s commands, the walls fell down. Joshua went on to win many battles and claim many victories for the people of Israel, and all was according to God’s plan for Joshua’s life. 

4. The pursuit is not always easy, but God’s promises are true. The journey for the Israelites was long and difficult. They messed up quite a few times along the way. But God made a promise, and he came through for His people. He also promised Joshua that “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:6). It’s powerful to see throughout the book of Joshua how God kept his promises. 

It is so encouraging to see how God throughout history has been with His people. He loves us so much and wants the very best for us. The “Promised Lands” in my life may seem impossible or insurmountable, but if God is involved, nothing is impossible. So friends, if you’re struggling to understand God’s plans in the midst of troubles, or if you feel like you’re constantly faced with pain or insurmountable odds, know that God is with you. He instills dreams and passions in our hearts for a reason, and it’s not to tease us or to discourage us. It may take longer than you would have liked, or it may be a bumpy path getting there, but keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Be strong and courageous! God is with us, and He wants the best for us. 

Emily Laney is a social worker, educator, and justice seeker. She has worked with vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad and loves to help startup nonprofits reach their goals.  She is a Passion City Church door holder and leads a team of abolitionists at Not for Sale Georgia. She loves her husband Brent and their rescue pup Biscuit. Sunsets and Sushi make her happy.

You can connect with Emily on twitter @emilylaney or on her blog

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