Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. Ezra 4:4
Doing something great will often have some great challenges to make happen. Beyond just the challenges of knowing how to do something great is the opposition that can occur.
Men and woman who are striving to do something great are often told that they are crazy and should not try to do it. The reason they are told that they are crazy and shouldn’t do it is for several reasons. Sometimes it is so different that others think it cannot really be done, and one should not waste it time trying. Other times it is out of fear of it actually working and getting done.
The Israelites had been put into captivity in Persia, yet, were given direct permission from the king of Persia to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple to God. As they had begun to do the work, the people around them worked hard to stop them. They tried to discourage them from finishing the work that they had started to do.
Fear of Christians accomplishing something is still around to this day. The world is an enemy to Jesus and does not want Him or His followers to ever accomplish anything. The thing that believers do is following and obeying God. They are working to build God’s kingdom here on this earth.
Any time a believer is doing God’s will, Satan and this world will rise up in opposition. He does not want the believer to be successful, because it means it will be his downfall. The world does not want it, because they can feel God’s judgement upon their lives in seeing the lives of believers.
God has or will call you to do something for His kingdom. It may be building a new temple or it may just be a simple thing of telling someone about Jesus. Either way it is doing something for Him.
As soon as you begin to do what God has asked of you, the world will begin to attempt to discourage you and stop you. They may say it is a waste of time and that it won’t work with just words. Or they may be physically violent against you.
Do not be surprised. There was opposition to the Israelites and against Jesus. You will receive opposition. Stay true to God and do what He has given you to do. Don’t be discouraged, God is with you.
I pray today that you will know the mission God has for you; that you will not be discouraged; that you will stay true to God; that God will give you strength to do His work; and that you be His witness.
There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9
Fear is something that grips most people at some point or another. It does not matter who the person is, there is usually something that they are afraid of. How each person deals with the fear is also very different from person to person.
When there is fear, there is usually the feeling that something very bad is about to happen. It could be something physical or emotional, but either way it will be bad, or at least expected to be very bad. As this happens, most people try to run from what they fear. They do not want to have anything bad happen.
During a miraculous display of God’s power, Elijah brought the drought to an end. When that occurred, the queen of Israel vowed to kill Elijah. He ran away. Up on a mountain, God came to him and asked him why he was there. Elijah basically said that he feared for his life.
Knowing God and His great power, love and mercy, one should never have to fear. Elijah had known the great power of God personally. He saw God work in ways most people had never seen. Yet, when threatened, he ran in fear.
Every believer has a power living in them that the world cannot overcome. There is no reason to fear. The worst that can happen to a person is death, which then becomes the best thing, because they are then in heaven with God for eternity.
Many believers, however, run in fear of the pain or suffering that may occur in the process. When they run in fear, often they run out of God’s will. God will then ask why they are where they are.
God can be asking you why you are where you are right now. Are you located in the center of His will and desires?
Or are you running in fear from something?
Know that God is the one who is in absolute control. You have nothing to fear. Even if you were the last believer on the earth, God is still with you and in control. And you will not be the last believer on this earth. There are believers every where in this world.
The enemy may be out to kill you, but God is still on your side. Trust Him today and don’t run in fear.
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know God’s control and power; that you will not run in fear; that you will always run to God; and that you will trust God in every situation.
But Joshua said to the tribes of Joseph–to Ephraim and Manasseh–“You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment but the forested hill country as well. Clear it, and its furthest limits will be yours; though the Canaanites have chariots fitted with iron and though they are strong, you can drive them out. Joshua 17:17-18
The tribes of Joseph had wanted more land than what they had been given because of their number of people. Joshua stated that they can get some more land from the Canaanites. He did not deny that the Canaanites were very large and powerful, but told the tribes they could still drive them out.
As with the Israelites taking over the land of Canaan, believers today still have many enemies and have to take over land. It is rarely a physical land, but a spiritual one that believers must take over. This spiritual land is in their own hearts and lives and in the lives of others around them.
God does not have believers going around now to physically kill the enemy, but there is a spiritual enemy that needs to be defeated. The number of the enemy is extremely high in number, in fact there are more of the enemy on this earth with Satan, than with God. Yet, God has more strength and ability than the enemy ever had or will have.
When Jesus died and rose again from the dead, He defeated the greatest enemy of God–death and sin. All this power He has given to every believer to overcome this world.
Every believer needs to take a stand to drive out the spiritual enemies in their lives. Some of those enemies are: jealousy, anger, immoral thoughts, greed, pride, fear, lying, cheating, and many more. These are all areas of the heart–the land–that need to be taken for God.
God can show you areas of your heart that have allowed the enemy in to take control. He can also give you the strength to push the enemy out and give God the land that is His. God can also help you drive out the spiritual enemies in your city, workplace or wherever you set your feet.
Do not be afraid of how strong the enemy is. God is stronger. In the end you will win the battle with God on your side. God never loses.
Go and drive out the enemy today.
I pray today that you will know the power of God in your life; that you will not fear the strength and number of the enemy; that God will help you drive out the enemies in your life and the lives of others; and that you will see victory in Jesus.
That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction. Joshua 7:12
Consequences to actions is one thing that many people do not think about or do not like to think about. People want to be able to do what they want to do, without any repercussion.
Often, people think that what they are doing will have no consequence, it is just a small little thing in light of much greater things. No one will notice or really care about it. Yet, every action, thought, or word has some type of consequence.
As the Israelites were going through, conquering new cities on a regular basis with no real challenge, they suddenly were beaten badly by a small city of Ai. Joshua went before God about it. He was told that there was sin in the camp of the Israelites. Someone had stolen something and hidden it. Because of that stolen item, God was not supporting the Israelites anymore. They had to clean up the camp from all sin.
Out of all the things that were destroyed in the taking of Ai, one man, Achan, had stolen a robe and some bold and silver. This little bit of theft–sin–caused God to take His had of favor and provision off of the Israelites.
Sin in a believer’s life will cause God’s favor to pull back. God does not want sin in the life of any believer. It is common for people to try to hide ‘little’ sins. People may never see the sin, but God does. Things begin to go wrong and fall apart, and the person wants to know why.
Today all a believer must do is repent, turn away from the sin and turn back to God. Jesus has already paid the price for that sin.
Do not allow any ‘small’ sins be hidden. God already sees them and knows about them.
There will be times when you will sin. Strive to keep from sinning, but if you do, immediately turn back to God and repent. God is waiting there for you to restore you. He does not want to destroy you, but to build you up. That is why God sent Jesus to pay for your sins.
Do not let sin destroy you. But let God restore you.
I pray today that you will turn to Jesus for everything; that God will help you turn from all sin; that God will build you up in Jesus; and that you will know God’s forgiveness and love.
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.” Joshua 2:8-9
Joshua had sent some men into Jericho to spy out the city in order to take it over. They stayed with Rahab, a prostitute, who protects them. She tells them that everyone in the city has heard of the Israelites and that God is with them. Everyone was living in fear of the Israelites.
The people had reason to fear the Israelites. Word had been brought to them of the various battles that they had been in and won. Defeating Egypt and several other large nations and kings, they were a force to be reckoned with and feared.
In today’s society, Christians are also feared as the Israelites were. The world does not always understand or give the same reason, but they fear believers. It is very common for believers to be accused of hate crimes, because they are taking a stand against sinful acts that the world wants everyone to accept.
Judgments are brought against individual believers or churches, because they refuse to accept or participate in a sinful act.
These actions by the world, though seen as persecution (and it is), is also done out of fear. They fear that Christians will cause them to change their ways and beliefs, that they will no longer be able to live as they want to live. It is a threat against their lifestyle.
The world feared Jesus also, even though He never did anything harmful. Jesus just lived for God and did what God told Him to do.
When you are fully living for God, the world will begin to fear you. As they fear you, there will be some who fight back and bring on persecution. Others will try to bring judgments against you.
Do not be afraid of the world, but stand strong and true to God’s word. God is with you and will not leave you. God, who is in you, is stronger than the world. The world does have a reason to fear, God will change their lifestyle.
Be willing to be a witness of Jesus to this world. Be willing to change this world for God.
Does the world fear you? Or are you on their side?
I pray today that you will live your life for God; that you will be a witness to this world; that the world will see Jesus in you; and that God will remove fear of this world from you.