In the past month or so, Serene and I have had to deal with a few important issues. Coupled with being tired, physically and emotionally, it was all too easy for fear to creep into our hearts and for our focus to shift from the Lord. By His grace, the Lord spoke very clearly one morning, “Fear not for I am with you.” Oh, how I needed to hear that from my Master and I was strengthened and encouraged immediately!
I believe many of you can identify with what I have just described. Often, the cares of this life can cause us to be overwhelmed and fearful when we, as believers, are to be strong and of good courage.
In preparing Joshua for leadership and the battles he would face, God tells him not to fear nor be dismayed, but to be strong and of good courage. This command (not suggestion) was given to Joshua at least SIX times: Moses says it to Joshua (Deut 31:6), and then repeats it in front of all Israel (Deut 31:7). After the death of Moses, God issues the same command three times (Josh 1:6,7 & 9)! And finally, the people encourage their new leader in Joshua with exactly the same phrase (Josh 1:18).
Well, unlike Joshua, I may not be called to physically invade the land of Canaan. But like Joshua, I face the same challenges in the ministry, in the family, and in the various battles of my life. Truth be told, fear, disappointment and discouragement can be very overwhelming and paralysing. And I sure need to hear the phrase, “Be strong and of good courage!” over and over again! Yet, encouraging as this might be, how am I to be strong when the going gets really tough? Thankfully, God didn’t leave Joshua clueless. In telling him to be strong, God provided FOUR truths about Himself in Josh 1:1-9 that Joshua must hold on to.
1. “… as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.”Josh 1:5 Firstly, Joshua had the PERSON of God, His nature and character, to hold on to. If anyone knew how God related to Moses, Joshua did. Now, God told him that He would be exactly the same with him – faithful, consistent and unchanging. That’s a real source of comfort and strength for me! Everything around me is changing – ministry season, children growing up, economic fluctuations – and that can throw me off balance. How wonderful to be reminded that God, who was faithful to the saints of old, is the same God I serve today!
2. “… I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you … for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Josh 1:5&8 Secondly, Joshua had the PRESENCE of God to hold on to. He wasn’t merely issued a task and left to accomplish it alone. God would be with him all the way! Sometimes, it is so easy to feel so alone, as if no one understands or cares. Pastoring can be a lonely journey, as is parenting. Knowing that God is with me makes all the difference. He is constantly watching over me, directing, guiding and enabling me.
3. “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you…” Josh 1:3 Thirdly, Joshua had the PROMISES of God to hold on to. 40 years earlier, Joshua was all ready to take the land simply because he knew God would keep His promise. 40 years later, Joshua’s resolve did not waver one bit! Regardless the challenges I face in the ministry or in raising a family, I must not lose sight of the call of God upon my life. If God has called then He will enable and provide. Through difficult times, I will keep standing on His promises that are “yes” and “amen” in Christ.
4. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” Josh 1:7-8 Finally, Joshua had the PRECEPTS of God to hold on to. No point declaring the first three truths only to neglect this fourth truth, for this is what determines the result of good success. I’ve always said that God’s plans must be done God’s way; and His ways are revealed to us in and through His Word. In holding fast to His Word and obeying it, we are steady because Jesus likened it to a wise man who builds his house on the rock. When life throws its challenges at us, we will keep standing strong in the Lord and not fall. Matt 7:24-27
Dear friends, may this little sharing position you to be strong in the Lord as you determine to hold on to the Person, Presence, Promises and Precepts of God! The next time you feel overwhelmed, remember you are surrounded by His love and grace. Just keep moving forward in faith, taking it one day at a time.
Thank you for continuing to pray for me as I serve the Lord in fulltime ministry. The trip to Ho Chi Minh City was good exposure for me and the team. In teaching the Old Testament Series, “39”, we are halfway through with another 10 sessions to go in August and November. CVSOM Certificate and Diploma students have completed Term 1 and it remains a joy for me to see lives changed through this School. Pastorally at CVCC, I am excited to see the Church grow in every aspect. I believe God will continue shaping hearts at KINGDOM EXPANSION Church Camp this weekend, 3-6 June.
In the family, we thank and praise God for His grace upon our lives. David, Sarah and Esther celebrated their birthdays, turning 14, 12 and 9 respectively. The children are all growing up so quickly, and that means eating more and taking up more space too! Amidst inflation and rising costs, we know that our Heavenly Father who feeds the birds will take care of our every need too. Please pray for Sarah as this is PSLE year for her. Pray especially for Serene whose workload has increased. In this regard, maintaining focus and keeping on track with God-given priorities is key.
Once again, we want to thank everyone who has supported us on this journey of faith. Your prayers are always appreciated. In terms of finance, we are deeply thankful for your obedience to the Lord and your generosity toward us. Please keep in touch with us through our websites for the latest updates and reflections.
Finally, allow me to bless you with these words of encouragement from Isaiah 41:10 …
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
In His love and for His glory!