The perverseness of man is seen more plainly in Israel after they were in the land of Canaan than while going through the wilderness. This did not appear at first, where an instance of what the energy of faith is in one man can do. All the days of Joshua, and indeed all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, the people served the Lord; but when that generation had passed away, another arose which knew not the Lord nor His works, and they did evil (Judges 2:7).
Israel’s entrance in Canaan seemed very promising, and they would have become possessed of it all if disobedience had not stopped the tide of blessing flowing in upon them. God, in His grace, showed what they might count upon if they would be obedient. The passage over the Jordan recalled to mind that the same God who led them through the waters to escape from Egypt was now leading them where the river had rolled into the promised land of Canaan.
The Red Sea and the Jordan River typify important truth. In both, the waters are the symbol of death, resurrection and ascension of and with the Lord Jesus. The first is deliverance from the bondage of Satan, from the power of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col 1:13)—a totally new position. It is the introduction of the believer into the world as a wilderness, where no water is, save that which flows from the risen Lord Jesus as the smitten Rock; where, if He be not seen, there will be constant murmuring for water.
The Jordan points to a further truth, that is, that the believer has done with all things here below as objects of desire before his soul. It is the practical realizing of the new standing that he has died with Christ, and is risen again with Him. The Red Sea brings us to His resurrection and ascension—the result of His work on the Cross for us. The Jordan is the Holy Spirit making good in our souls, and producing practical growth suited to the place in which the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus has positioned us. So the Red Sea introduces us to a wilderness, and Jordan, into the enjoyment of the heavenly places, its privileges and also its conflicts. The Jordan is, for faith, the realizing of the full results of the Red Sea passage.
The trial of Israel is no longer a wilderness trial. There they had previously failed; how will they behave in the land of promise? It is the same story, even then growing old in the history of man. There is no condition, however favorable, where man (most of Israel and even most of mankind – Mat 7:13, 14—NC) responds to the goodness of God. There is no confidence in God, however lavishly His benefits are given. The people have not yet learned what they are in themselves, and so they have confidence in themselves—nay, they even boast of their obedience to Moses. “All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee” (Josh 1:16, 17).
Like all self-righteous men, unconscious of fault, they pronounce readily sentences of death upon the disobedient. Yet their disobedience had been so great, that Moses said, “Ye have been rebellious against Jehovah from the day that I knew you” (Deu 9:24). Thus it is that the Word of God gives in a few brief touches the portrait of man, and without comment leaves it to tell its own sad tale.
To have no confidence in the flesh is the hardest and, perhaps the last thing learned by any saint of God, and in most how many the lesson, how severe the discipline—yea, how persevering the patience of the Father, until the necessary process is completed, and sentence of death pronounced by the believer upon his old man (flesh, i.e. sinful nature—NC)! To this point each growing one must be brought. The flesh shall not boast in the Father’s presence: no glorying there but in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Not long ago we were watching an air show happening over our house when this neon color bug came flying in and landed on one of the cars. I can picture the late 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin saying, "Crikey isn't she a beauty?" And she was (or he was... I can't tell on those bugs). And, because there was a certain reflection of the bug's image on the car the bug landed on, it seems as if the bug was checking itself out.
The creativity of God is mind-blowing! That creature had 'hairs' on its legs and a funky looking stump at the end of each foot and a host of other incredible details. It was crazy cool to see.
But I guess life is all about perspective. While a group of us were admiring this bug, I heard a boy in the background say excitedly, "let me squish it." Boys will be boys, I guess. So, while some of us thought the bug was amazing, others thought it wasn't worth much.
Think about yourself for a moment and let's do a quick exercise... put your cellphone on camera mode and take a selfie. Do you see your amazing self in that picture?
I can understand if you don't call what you see in that picture of yourself 'AMAZING.' But you should know that there's absolutely no shame in seeing the awesome side of you.
I remember hearing a motivational speaker tell the audience to look at themselves in the mirror, point at their reflection, and say, "You're great; I believe in you." Would you have done that?
What if I told you that when God sees you He smiles and says, "I think you're incredible!" Of course I know that God is different than us but the essence of what I'm thinking is described in one particular place in the Bible. Check it out,
"Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it... how precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!" Psalm 139: 14, 17 NLT
It's like God pointing at you and saying, "You da man" or "You da woman!" And the passage leads us to believe that God has you (and me) in His mind so often that it would be impossible to number the times.
I don't know about you but I don't waste much time thinking about irrelevant or worthless things. We keep our minds on those subjects or people or dreams we like.
Have you ever had the lyrics of a song stuck in your head? You keep humming the tune or repeating the same lyric again and again. That's God with each of us.
In 1982 Willie Nelson released a hit song called, Always On My Mind. It's a song about someone regretting not showing love to a certain special person in his/her life. The chorus went like this, "You were always on my mind."
Will you consider believing the next statement I'm going to write? Ready? Here it is: You are always on God's mind. But He won't stop there. The Lord will show you again and again and again how much He cares for you and loves you.
The way to make the best of you possible starts with accepting the Truth that you were created in God's image and for His purpose!
Some think they're too short or too tall or too fat or too skinny or too ugly or too stupid or way too far 'gone' in life to be any good to anyone but that's a lie coming straight out of the pit of hell itself. You are so worth it and AMAZING to your Father in heaven that He was willing to send His only Son to die for your sins! That's what last weekend's Easter celebration was all about.
Let me close with this, I realize that you may have read this thinking I was going to share with great principles that would help make the best of you possible. Sure, I could have developed those age old ideas like 'working smarter not harder' or 'ways to reach for people's hearts before you reach for their hand' or 'keys to positive thinking' or a number of other proven leadership principles. But your way to the best you possible begins where you think and live, right in the heart.
Only God can make a masterpiece out of whatever mess you may see in the mirror. The best you starts with Him!!
Thanks for reading. Please feel free to leave me a response.
The blackness of space is pressing in on me and no matter what I do the pressure gets worse with every minute. Thinking back, I wonder why we didn’t see the obvious truth that was all around us. The beauty hidden in everyday, in every hour. Maybe the thought of adventure and new words blinded us. Maybe we never see how blessed we are until all of it is taken away. That’s why I’m writing this letter, to tell the truth that I have learned. If only this knowledge had not come at such a high price. If only I could have known this sooner. To all of you people still on Earth, if anyone ever reads this, this is what I have learned and how I’ve learned it…
For the first twenty years in space everything was as planed. Food was plentiful and edible, even if it didn’t taste too good. Oxygen was in full supply. We had singing contests and game times, and if that failed we floated around. Floating never got old. We even took turns typing reports in the ships log every day. The stars we passed didn’t look any different than the ones that you can see from your backyard but they were just as beautiful and there was just as many, if not more. We passed solar systems filled with amazing planets, but they had already been explored so we moved on.
With the new engines invented in 2062, we were soon outside The Milky Way Galaxy and watching it grow smaller and smaller behind us. Too bad we hadn’t invented a phone that worked in space yet. Although we were in the early stages of the voyage everyone missed those they had left behind, even I missed my few friends and the visits to my family’s graves. The cool feel of the stone soothed me whenever I was stressed out. All my close family is dead. They died when I was twelve. That’s one of the reasons I volunteered to go into space. I was done with Earth, I thought there was nothing for me there. I only wish I had realized how wrong I was before this trip.
Anyway, looking back at our small galaxy was amazing. Thinking of the entire human race in that tiny galaxy, on a tinier planet. It was so small, twinkling in the mass of space, all the other galaxies swirling and twinkling with it. The sight was too beautiful for words. It was truly awe-inspiring. About twenty years after we left Earth we reached the first uncharted galaxy. It was a spiral galaxy, like our own, and entering it made everyone’s longing for home sharper. Flying into the first solar system on the edge of the galaxy, we went carefully through the outer stars and into the center. We were looking for a planet we could land on, looking for a new hospitable planet, a new Earth. The spiral galaxy, which we decided to name The Snow Fall Galaxy, had thousands of solar systems inside it. The first solar system only had seven planets. The farthest out, and the largest, was a deep purple-blue. It was too far away from the center star, and made of gases, so we passed it. The second and third planets were really only moons. The next four planets, a gold and red one, a green-blue one with rings, a small dark blue planet as cold and small as Pluto, and a red dusty rock planet. None of which were habitable in the least. It took ten years to explore that solar system and I would be lying if I said we weren’t disappointed. But more disappointment and more misfortune was to be ours after we left that first solar system.
I woke up to flashing lights, a spinning ship and a creaking, groaning, splitting of metal. In the night, if you can call it night since it was always dark, we had driven into an asteroid belt that spanned around the solar system at the edge of The Snow Fall Galaxy. An asteroid, going faster than the others, clipped our ship and sent us reeling into another asteroid, ripping the front of our ship off. Half the crew was gone in an instant. I was confused and terrified, everyone was. It was Nickolus Rainforce that saved us by keeping his head. He lead those of us left to the escape pods, which was difficult with everyone on edge and in panic. The artificial gravity was only half working in the dorms and it made it hard for us to walk straight. When everyone was in the pods, he told us to close the doors if he wasn’t back soon.
In the thirty years we spent together we all grew close. All the crew felt like family to me. So after losing half the crew I didn’t want to let him go too. Before Nick left, I grabbed his hand, I didn’t say anything but he understood. As I watched his helmeted head disappear around the corner I felt like screaming at him to come back. Telling him not to risk it, that there was no way anyone was still alive at the front of the ship, but I also knew Nick. I knew that if Nick left the ship without checking, it would haunt him for the rest of his life. The thought that even one person had been left to die would have killed him a little inside. So I was quiet and watched with everyone else in silence. The next ten minutes to me were a blur of terrified faces and terror filled whispers. Then Nick came into view, two people ‘walking’ beside him and one more small person in his arms. The two people, Violet White and Peter Willow, went into the other pod. Nick came to our pod, slowly, carrying the small person. Her name was Ray Goldberg. She was soft spoken and kept mostly to herself. Ray was injured; a part of the plating that had flown off when the asteroid hit had slashed into her leg.
I ran forward, and a few people followed me. I reached out to help him carry Ray, but just then the people in the other pod decided to launch, shaking the entire, shattered, ship. I grabbed Nick’s arm to keep him and me steady, my heart pounded faster than it ever had before as the jarring and shaking vibrated through me.
“Take Ray, don’t worry about me, I’m right behind you.” His words still ring in my mind.
I carefully took her. Nick smiled at me, and then the ship started to rip apart. We both fell. I fell back into the pod, someone caught me but I don’t really remember. All I saw was Nick falling the other way and then hitting against the far wall. I shouted his name but my voice was drowned out by the rush and rending of the ship, and the closing of the escape pod’s doors. We ejected from the ship just in time. A second later and pieces from the exploding ship would have crashed into the pod, killing us.
I understood why they had closed the doors. I realized why, but I didn’t want to except it. In the moment, as I watched Nick fall away from me, I remembered my family’s deaths. Memories from the crash that had killed everyone but me flashed before my eyes. The pain and the screams. How everything had been fine, until it wasn’t. How I had always wondered why I could remember the crash so clearly, but I could barely remember what my life was like before.
Then other memories flashed like lightning across my vision, The moment I had first heard about the voyage into space. The first time the crew had met together. The first sight of Earth from space, watching Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto go by. The first sight of The Milky Way Galaxy behind us. Then seeing it as a dot of bright light in the distance. The excitement of reaching and naming The Snow Fall Galaxy, staring at planets that no human has ever seen before. The disappointment of not finding a planet like Earth, but having the resolve to go on. Then again I saw the terror stricken movements of the crew following Nick to the pods. His expression as I grabbed his hand. His smile just before his death.
A few crew members took Ray off me and started to fix her leg up. A few others got to work trying to contract the other pod. Others, like me, stood or sat in shock. Taking off my helmet I stood up shakily. Percy Kingston, head communication director, came over to me and put a hand on my shoulder. He told me they had gotten through to the other pod, that everyone over there was safe.
I didn’t care. I’m ashamed to say now that I wished them all dead for launching their pod and setting off the tremor that killed Nick.
“It should have been them. It should have been them. It should have been them." That thought filled my mind.
I yelled at Percy, I told him it was their fault Nick was dead. That they should have waited, that if anyone should have died it should have been one of them. The other crew members murmured and looked angry. Percy had tears in his eyes as he told me, “Aurora, every person’s life is precious and Nickolas would have gladly died, and did, to save even one person. He went out knowing that he might not come back and you know that. The other people were scared, they panicked. They couldn’t see what was going on, they didn’t know Nick wasn’t safe yet.”
I knew that.
I hugged Percy and sobbed. We all took that moment to cry for those who had lost their lives. Took a quiet moment to grieve. In the years that followed we kept a steady course. In those years I had time to really think. Time to realize what I’d been wrong about, to realize how much I really had. I forgave the other crew members for doing what any other scared human would have. I forgave myself for letting Nick go alone. I forgave the man who had caused the crash which had killed my family. I realized that what I had had on Earth wasn’t as bad as I had let myself believe. I realized that I had had things on Earth to live for, things to love, things to look forward to. Earth is a wonderful place, it is a beautiful and glorious place.
Why do we always want more? Why do we insist on finding ‘better’ things when what we have is already good enough? This is the truth; there is no planet out there that can replace Earth. We already have our world, even if it isn’t always green and sunshine, even if things happen and we get hurt. Home is home, and Earth is home. I hope my story has convinced you, because I will never be able too. We’ve figured out now that with the engines on the pods it will take us another thirty years to reach Earth. By then most of us will be over one hundred years old. I’m already seventy-three, I was twenty-three when we first launched. I can barely walk around the pod without resting. Not that there is much need for exercise in such a small place and nowhere to go. We are only allowed one letter back to Earth so there’s room for everyone to write one in the small emergency transmission pod. I don’t really have any friends to write too, and I don’t have anything to tell them. But I didn’t want to waste this opportunity of leaving something of myself in this world. Maybe future generations will learn from my, and my fellow adventures, mistakes. The transmission pod is fast and will probably reach Earth, and you, before we die. But I doubt, even if anyone sends help, there is a way for us to get back. The best I can hope for is a glimpse of The Milky Way.
To anyone who reads this, or to the black space this paper might float in, don’t think there is nothing left for you. You don’t know what nothing is until you’ve spent fifty years surrounded by blackness in the vacuum of space. There are so many things I want to do again that I will never be able to do. But you’re still on Earth, you’re still alive and laughing. You still have a chance to live life.
Live, and live well, live a little life for me,
Aurora Grace Williams.
A songwriter says "you may not know HOW, you may not know WHEN..., God will do it again!" (emphasis here and other emphases below mine).
Such is the kingdom of God, that a man “should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not HOW” (Mark 4:27 KJV).
Sometimes, we just want God to move a mountain or obstacle out of our way in a certain or particular way. Then, of course, the mountain remains unmovable because we have limited the hand of God to a particular way.
First, a look at the natural (1 Cor 15:46). God uses the natural realm to teach us how to believe and receive answered prayers in the spiritual realm of His Word. There are at least five ways by which road construction engineers overcome natural hills and mountains to complete a highway between two cities. We look at the 85km stretch between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. We imagine the hills or mountains that were possibly overcome in order to accomplish the construction of the Pacific Motorway.
We can imagine five case scenarios by which that construction was done (minus the sixth spectacular scenario discussed shortly below):
(1) Construct the road by avoiding the hills and mountains, by-passing them.
(2) Construct the road, neither avoiding nor confronting the hills and mountains directly, but winding around them, either to the left or right side.
(3) Construct the road right across the hills and mountains, going over them.
(4) Construct the road through a tunnel, going underneath the hills and mountains.
(5) Blast the hills and mountains with dynamite. Perhaps, the most expensive way, and thus, by all means, have a road through.
(6) What God only can do will be our sixth spectacular point. I return to this soon hereafter.
You have now reached the point of Stop To Meditate in this write up (otherwise, I'm sorry, the 'GPS' will have to recalculate your way back to the first paragraph -:). Here's the point: If ordinary humans created by God can use their God-given intellect, even in a fallen state, to overcome hills and mountains in at least five ways, not one or two ways, five ways, how many ways do you think that God has or will use to overcome the hills and mountains in your life today?
If we, ordinary humans, in our earthly wisdom can overcome hills and mountains (and we really do, and are getting better at it every day; thanks to modern technology), how much more shall the All-Wise God give the Holy Spirit - the spirit of wisdom and might - to lead the Believer through A WAY where there seems to be NO WAY? (Isaiah 43:16-19).
Here's the point in another scripture: If we who are humans then, being evil, still KNOW HOW to give good gifts (‘of the Pacific Motorway’) to our children (Matt 7: 11)...bypassing the hills and mountains, winding around the mountains, going over the mountains, going underneath the mountains, blasting through the mountains...whatever it takes to overcome the mountain; how much more shall our heavenly Father do so for us if we ask believing? (Jn 16:24).
God may use any of the methods (1) to (5) above to move our mountains but we must not try to figure out HOW he will do it, Neither should we try to dictate to Him HOW he must do it. Even beyond (1) to (5) methods above, there is a sixth method which no human wisdom can use. Only God can and will do in a bid to “give you peace always by all means” (2 Thes 3:16):
(6) “He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots” (Job 28:9).
God did so before and he will do it again, any time, any day. The same yesterday, today and forevermore. Did I just say he did it before? Here's one: Israel experienced such miracles as they journey from Egypt to the land of Canaan. There were no dynamites to blast the mountains nor bulldozers to clear away the hills. The presence of God did it all. David, as a prophet, captured what really happened centuries later in the Psalms:
"The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters" (Ps 114:3-8).
Join me to believe that truth and to shout it out now: God is making a way for me where there seems to be no way!
Meditate the truth, pray the truth and repeat it loud until the life of God in that scripture rips off every fiber of doubt and unbelief from your heart. And enter right now through a new day, a new week, a new month and indeed a new beginning with a mountain-crushing faith and a total victory that only God can give!
Just as the children of Israel found God's dictates to be rather laborious, I am of the same mind at times while simply reading God's prescriptions; those that one finds particularly in Exodus, Number, and Leviticus. How often does one read, "And God spake unto Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel..." and these words almost invariably go on to pursue an injunction, a guideline, a measure, a certain scheme concerning the manner in which one is to approach God the Holy Father.
To realize such correspondence (even disparity at times) with those who came before in the whole book of the bible is quite important to the reader. One must ponder the relationship between those written about in scripture (their attitudes, responses to circumstances) and one's self. This surely works to provide a firm basis, foundation for one's thoughts going forward.