Consulting the Lord

Joshua took over the leadership of Israel from Moses. He followed in Moses’ footsteps and sought God’s direction for each decision he made and every action he took. He had no confidence in his own ability and He generally relied on God’s counsel. God promised to give Joshua every part of the land where he set his feet. God also declared that no army would stand against him (Joshua 1:3,5).

Therefore, with a few successful battles to his credit, Joshua’s fame traveled throughout Canaan (Joshua 6:27). This caused his heart to swell with pride, and He got overly confident. He started believing the praise awarded to him, rather than giving credit to the Lord. The unconventional warfare God told Joshua to use at Jericho (Joshua 6:20) puffed up his confidence. Therefore, at the next battle, in the tiny town of Ai, Joshua did not bother to consult the Lord.

He relied on his own wisdom instead. He sent up an army of about three thousand men, expecting to hear of their anticipated victory. However, God taught Joshua a lesson through this and allowed the few men of Ai to defeat Joshua’s army (Joshua 7:3-4). God humbled Joshua, and he ended up embarrassed and dejected. It happened again when the Gibeonite ambassadors tricked Joshua by their deceptive words (Joshua 9:14-22).

Joshua foolishly believed he could handle these decisions without the Lord’s direction. We do this too. We forget to pray and to seek God’s counsel when salesmen pressure us, friends and family manipulate us and those in authority over us demand things from us. True success in life only comes when we seek advice from the Lord before making a decision, and follow His advice even if it is not popular or seems not to make sense. Hindsight always proves God right.

Prayer:
Father God, as Your children, we will need to make some important decisions throughout our lifetime. We have the choice of following a humanistic plan of action or of seeking Your divine direction. Remind us to trust in You with all of our heart and not to lean on our own understanding. Help us not to be wise in our own eyes, but to consult You (Proverbs 3:5-7). That way we will not be anxious about anything, but we will pray about everything and present our requests to You (Philippians 4:6). When we lack wisdom, we can ask You, because You give it generously to all without finding fault (James 1:5).

Thought for the Day:
Consult the Lord in whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
– Proverbs 16:3

Advertisements

Surviving Lonliness

When we lose a loved one, our job, our home, our church family or a beloved pet, depression often hinders our mind from seeing any joy in life. We wallow in self-pity and hide under the covers, nursing our wounds. Of course, we have a right to grieve, and it is very healthy for us to do so; but we often carry it way too far. We may even turn to addictions to erase our pain.

We can choose to be lonely, or we can choose to reach out. A smile will change our whole attitude. Of course, a fake smile will wear thin and tears will often wash it away. The smile must come from our heart; therefore we need to think of something or someone that honestly makes us happy. The fact that Jesus saved us for eternity always puts a smile on my face.

Serving in our church family puts a song in our heart and a smile in our steps. Reading our Bible and other spiritual books, listening to praise music or watching inspirational movies and testimonies will also help to bring us up from the pit of depression. In addition, we can return to a previous interest, start a new hobby or get together with former, cherished friends. Making new memories and meeting wholesome new friends can also change our life.

Often our friends are too shy to reach out, or do not know what to say or how to help us. So, please communicate how you feel, return calls, invite people over for dinner or go out with the crowd and get lost in it. Some former friends may drift out of your life, but let them go. God has new friends for you just around the corner. Trust in Him to see you through this trying time and to bring you safely to His eternal joy.

Prayer:
Father God, You always use the negative aspects of our life for our good (Romans 8:28). We may not see anything positive at this time, but in hindsight, it becomes very clear that You had a purpose in it all (Proverbs 5:21). We often want the answers now, but You have Your very own time and way to meet all of our needs (Proverbs 3:5-6). Remind us that rather than doing all of the talking during our times of prayer, that we need to listen in order to hear Your voice.

Thought for the Day:
Jesus comforts us with the consolation He received from our Father; and we can turn around and comfort others with the same reassurance He gives to us in our time of need. – 2 Corinthians 1:4