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Joshua: Day 4

The Conquest of Jericho

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Today's Text: Joshua 6:1-27, 1 Kings 16:34, Colossians 2:11-12, Exodus 3:1-6

Text: Joshua 6:1-27, 1 Kings 16:34, Colossians 2:11-12, Exodus 3:1-6

Most people move into a retirement community later in life, but I’ve been a part of one since birth. My dad has always been in the business of caring for the elderly, and as a result, I’ve gained some serious benefits—mainly, a personal cheering squad. They are always up for a competitive card game or impromptu ice cream cone, and never forget to tell me how tall I’ve gotten. And boy, do these people know how to throw parties. I’ll never forget the Bon Voyage party we had for the chapel.

You see, the community was going through a huge, exciting expansion—new office buildings and homes going up left and right. There was just one problem standing, quite literally, in the way of those new plans: the community’s beloved chapel, the centerpiece of the campus. Instead of letting the bulldozer run its course, the community decided to uproot the chapel from its original location and transfer it to the other side of the property. There, it could continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

The day of the move, my parents let me miss a few hours of the second grade to witness it. We stood under the porte-cochere, eating cream cheese bagels while the community band warmed their bagpipes and trumpets. Surrounded by dirt piles and construction hats, it was hard to miss the shocking upheaval of the chapel’s uprooted foundation. Still, there was much to celebrate. The chapel itself, the very place where this community had regularly recounted God’s faithfulness, remained safe and sound.

In our reading today, we’re entering a different construction site together, one filled with its own upheavals and unknowns. The broad-shouldered city of Jericho is fearfully closed to the Israelites—no one goes out, no one comes in. Under the Lord’s direction, a curse is imposed on the city and its idol-loving inhabitants when Joshua and the priests begin to march around it. Carrying the ark of the covenant, they keep in step with God’s commands and watch as the walls around Jericho fall at their feet.

“The people advanced into the city, each man straight ahead, and they captured the city. They completely destroyed everything in the city with the sword—every man and woman, both young and old, and every ox, sheep, and donkey.”
-Joshua 6:20-21

God gave them the city.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about this. Yes, justice was served. Yes, the good guys prevailed. And yes, God’s perfect plan unfurled as He’d promised. But that doesn’t change the fact that they were standing in a destruction zone, does it?

Sitting with the truth of crumbled walls and a city destroyed, I cannot help but wonder what this says about God. We readily cozy up to God’s promises of love, restoration, and peace, but what do we do when His promises include curses, death, and brokenness?

We trust Him still. From where we sit, it’s hard to understand the mind and ways of God (Isaiah 55:8-9). But the just consequences of sin do not lessen the sovereign goodness of our God.

At the intersection of God’s wrath and mercy, we find two constants: His kept promises and His unfailing love. To trust the fullness of His character, we need Him to be steady and sure. In chapter 6 we encounter God’s faithfulness, not only in the midst of a crumbling Jericho, but also in the protection of Rahab, who became part of the lineage of Christ (Matthew 1:5).

Because of who He is, we can always stare into the dark unknown of destruction to find an unchanging God. In the midst of every upheaval and replanting, He is faithful.

Praise the Lord for every promise kept. SRT-Joshua-Instagram4s

 

  • I find this so timely with the aftermath of the election. With people in anger, pain, and fear (and what feels like a demolition site), it is beautiful and hopeful to know that in the midst of destruction we have an unchanging God.
    http://www.thegirlontheverge.com

  • It is so easy to get caught up in the love and forgiveness God offers that we can forget His has the power and absolute right to give punishment also. He is our father, our Father who loves us and also is willing to punish those who do not obey.

  • Deuteronomy 20:15-18 The Lord had previously commanded Israel to “utterly destroy” the inhabitants of the promised land to prevent their sins from spreading to the children of Israel. It’s just as you said, the Israelites needed to keep that commandment.

  • When we read about the judgement on Jericho, let’s not forget that Jericho is a reflection of us. Israel itself deserved no better but for the grace of God. The entire human race deserves no better but for God’s grace and mercy and longsuffering. If we questioned why a good God would command all the inhabitants to be killed, it is essentially saying some of us, at least, do not deserve death.

    When I thought about the 6 days when the Israelites circled the city with the Ark, I see God’s grace. The Ark was evident to them. I imagine the army and people of Jericho peeking over the walls to observe the Israelites circling the city. They could see the Ark. According to Rahab, they knew this was the God of the heavens and the earth. I think they even expected the impending destruction. Why did they not repent like Rahab did and seek the mercy of this God of the Israelites? Was their pride still causing them to resist God to the end? Even the final day, it was as if God was unwilling so they circled 7 times, giving the inhabitants of Jericho even more time to turn around. Sadly, they did not and were wiped out.

    Throughout the Bible, we see God bidding the people, not just the Jews, to come to Him. God is not slow to judge but merciful so that we will not perish. God is patient and not in a hurry. But one day, the trumpet will sound and judgement WILL come. By God’s grace we will not find ourselves at the wrong side of the wall!

    • Elle

      Thank Angela for this insight God has given you on this passage! It definitely gives me a clearer understanding of it. God bless!

  • Kayley Hope

    Amen.

    I needed / do need this message.

    I am going through a tough time in a relationship and I’m worrying myself sick. All I need to do is hand it all over to God, and He will deliver according to His will and His promises. No matter what people may do or try to do to tear things apart, they cannot quench love, or the righteous flames of God surrounding it.

    All glory to God forever and ever.

    Amen.

  • “At the intersection of God’s wrath and mercy”… loved your word usage. You have described the very cross of Christ Jesus. He is the intersection of God’s wrath and mercy for He satisfied the wrath of God against our sin and mercy in the form of grace was extended to us!!! Thank you Jesus!

  • I am just now reading this today, on the day of my daughter’s 5th birthday. OH how much joy she gives me — but how sad and broken I continue to feel over my divorce from her father and being a single mom. She is oh so sweet – hugging me last night and saying “family hug!” but, as we trick or treated, I just could not help but feel lonely in a sea of couples with their kids. I have been dating a Godly man … but he lives an hour away with two kids of his own, and I just had to take a break since the distance was just too hard. I’m just in a very confusing, “what now” spot… so praise the Lord for his faithfulness in the midst of it all. Would appreciate your prayers. So thankful for this ministry.

    • raschknits

      You and your daughter are in my prayers. xo

    • Stacy

      Praying for you Caroline! I am in a similar situation with my 2 year old daughter and it is so so hard to understand why. :)

  • I have had a really hard time with this, been think about it all day. I just can’t wrap my mind around a loving God who would encourage people to murder babies and children, even if their parents are evil.

    • Michele

      Hey Katie, I’ve thought about this too, and there are no easy answers – not with my ideas of sin and morality and what not anyway. But perhaps it’s because we’ve heard and know so much about God’s love – but much less about God’s judgement.

      Allow me to “steal” from the brothers at HeReadsTruth. (http://hereadstruth.com/2016/10/27/the-conquest-of-jericho/)

      “God’s holiness is the primary context for understanding the destruction of Jericho…. even the manner of conquest reinforces the theme of God’s holy sovereignty: Israel was not to conquer by human might, but by the observance of the Sabbath principle…”

      “I get a bit uneasy at the thought of all that happened there at Jericho. Why was the judgment so fierce? We might be tempted to weigh these events on human scales, but our sinful hearts are all too eager to make light of sin. A holy God can make no such accommodation. Nevertheless, God had been patient. Despite the frequent abominations of idolatry, child sacrifice, gross immorality, occultism, and witchcraft, He had waited 400 years to execute judgment on a wicked people (Genesis 15:16).”

      “The inhabitants of Jericho knew who God was (Joshua 2:8-11; 5:1), but apart from Rahab, they were unwilling to acknowledge their sin and His holiness.”

      I don’t have answers for why babies and children too. Perhaps they have been steeped in a culture so anti-God that they would have grown up like their parents. Perhaps the children could grow up hating the Israelites and plot revenge for years. Perhaps it was more merciful to not let the children and babies slowly starve to death / be eaten by wild animals or vultures.

      Perhaps we are looking at things through human lenses, and not God’s lenses. Praying for you Katie as you wrestle with this, wrestle with God. May you come away with a deeper understanding and trust in the sovereign, good God

    • Stephanie

      I found this helpful as I was struggling with the same feelings. Pastor John Piper talks about this theme in the Old Testament: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-made-it-ok-for-god-to-kill-women-and-children-in-the-old-testament

    • Beth

      Katie, although I agree that it’s difficult to wrap my mind around why God would command such destruction and death, I think it’s important that we don’t idolize babies and children as being innocent. We’re all evil from the very beginning. Ephesians 2:3 says we are “by nature children of wrath”. By this logic (even though it sounds horrific) they deserved the same punishment as their parents.

  • Keri McCue

    “We trust Him still. From where we sit, it’s hard to understand the mind and ways of God (Isaiah 55:8-9). But the just consequences of sin do not lessen the sovereign goodness of our God.” This <3

    It's sometimes so hard to understand why bad thing happen, why there is destruction in the world. And sometimes I feel so lost when my unsaved friends ask me why God would allow these things! But God can see the outcome, He can see the end chapter and I am trusting that the bad things, the pain and sadness that we endure in this life will benefit His ultimate plan!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • I’m really struggling right now. I’m a high school teacher and for the first time in ten years I’m wondering if I can keep this up. I’m having issues with a couple kids. I also reinvented the way I assess my students and, while it’s really a good thing, the change is causing some kiddos stress. I run student leadership and, due to some poor behavior, we had to do a reapplication process which meant letting some kids go. I just had a friend tell me that I am not the kind of friend they need in their life. This week was parent teacher conferences, a couple conversations were hard. I’m feeling the weight of the sadness of a broken relationship with my mom. My husband has been gone all week hunting. And I have this awful head/chest cold. There. I’m sitting in the dust of everything that has just crumbled around me. At least that’s how I feel at this moment. “In the midst of every upheaval and replanting, he is faithful.” Thank you SRT for some needed truth.

    • April L.

      Robin,
      My Mom taught high school for many years. She would have mock trials, debates, and anything else to make learning fun. I remember her last 3-4 years teaching were so hard on her. The principal would ask her to change grades because he couldn’t stand up to parents. She never did change grades. Her last year, she was so put out and done, that she gave an open book final exam. Her kids were still failing, not all but too many for her. She quit teaching. 18 years, gone because she didn’t have enough support from faculty and her principal. Her last school is still in shambles and they asked her to come back a few years ago. She said unless there was better support from the higher ups, no. She didn’t return. My Mom loved teaching the first 14 years and there were moments in the last 4 she enjoyed. She too lost a friend during that time, simply for trying to do the right thing. I hope you will find a friend/mentor at maybe another school to encourage you as well as pray for you.

  • I believe in his promises. The people may have been destroyed because of their sin… but we are SAVED because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. The chains are broken. We are no longer slaves of sin. We are free.

  • “Because of who he is we can always stare into the dark unknown of destruction to find an unchanging God. In the midst of every upheaval and replanting, He is faithful.”

    This. I needed this today. We’re moving. Again. We’re experiencing upheaval. We’re being replanted. Again.
    My husband is in ministry, we’ve only been married 5 years, but we’ve moved 6 times, served at 4 churches, and even made a move overseas and back. Even when it seems the call of the Lord is strong and clear about what’s next, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the logistics, relationships cut short, and feelings of instability.
    Yet,
    I know, He. Is. Faithful.

    He has been faithful in every season, so I will continually, daily, make the choice to trust.

    • Dana

      Strength emanates from your comment. Blessings on your journey of Trust ❤️

    • Cindy

      Wow. That’s a lot. ((((((((( hug ))))))))))).

    • April L.

      Stacy,
      That is many moves in 5 years. Has there ever been 1 person that you connected with in the cities you lived in? If so, call them up. Tell her you miss her, and would like to be able to call, email, send text messages too, etc. Maybe this will help you feel like you have roots of some sort. It’s so hard to move even as adults and make new friends. I’m going to go 1 step further and tell you to ask God if y’all can stay somewhere for a few years. Just to rest, catch your breath, and have a sense of belonging to one place longer than a few months, or a year.

    • Staci

      Thank you so much for loving thoughts, ladies. I so appreciate this community because of encouragement like this. Hopefully soon I’ll have more to report!

  • So many great and encouraging comments today, thank you.

    I take away many similar truths of His faithfulness, the pain in (deconstruction) dying to oneself as God works in us and also add, how He instructed them to take over of the city is really mind blowing. For non-believers I can see how they may doubt the veracity of the account..(walking around, really? ) But it’s true & for me it softens my heart to the ways in which God may ask us to accomplish His will.
    We may doubt the promptings from the holy spirit for many reasons but I want to remember that clearly no prompting is too weird, too big or too small that we should ignore….and it can spectacularly accomplish God’s kingdom work here on earth.

  • Today’s passages were hard for me to swallow. I kept trying to rejoice in his fulfilled promise and amazing conquering of the ‘bad guys’, but wow. It’s hard for me to look past the fact that ‘conquering’ meant slaughtering old men and young children, babies and mothers and families. I can’t help but wonder why. How could they all be condemned? Where is his grace? Why didn’t he give the people similar opportunities as Rahab to save lives and souls? And man, those poor Israelites- can you imagine running in to claim victory, the rush it would be to see God’s promises fulfilled… and yet you see your own children and brothers in the lives you kill by your own hand.

    I’m having trouble finding anything to hold onto from this passage, but I WILL trust him still. I know his plans are sovereign, and I take comfort in Isaiah 55:8-9. I am grateful the God I love doesn’t meet my standards for goodness, I am grateful that he knows all and I know little. I am grateful that today he brings me through trials and storms and prepares my way for victory… even though it’s messy, and it hurts. But his ways are perfect and I cling onto that hope today.

    • Ebony

      I am so encouraged by yours comments! It is hard, but I love that you wrote, “I am grateful the God I love doesn’t meet my standards for goodness.” That is so powerful and humbling! And I also appreciate that Kaitlin includes, “At the intersection of God’s wrath and mercy, we find two constants: His kept promises and His unfailing love. Because of who He is, we can always stare into the dark unknown of destruction to find an unchanging God.” When you read the whole of Isa 55, it brings it all into perspective! Thank you for your words, Veronica!!

  • The Promised Land…Israel had finally arrived. The time was now right to purge Canaan of the evil nations that inhabited it. Israel was a nation chosen and set apart by God. The book of Deuteronomy reveals to us time and time again how Moses reiterated exactly how God wanted His people to live and how to offer their worship to Him. Through trust and obedience, Israel would be blessed beyond measure. One part of their obedience, was to follow God’s command to claim the land by destroying the evil nations presently living within it. Completely. Destroying everything. There was no way to have wickedness intermingling with Israel’s call to purity.
    If they followed His instruction, God promised His presence to go with them, the strength to follow through in battle and the assurance of victory.
    We can see theses important truths are needed in our own lives. God demands that we remove the wickedness from the way we live. These things allure us away from worshiping God alone. We must “throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles” as Hebrews 12:1 tells us. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, how He endured the cross for us, we find the strength to endure the opposition we will face and to destroy the enemy. He will keep us from growing weary and losing heart as we face each battle. The victory is already assured. Christ has defeated death. “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ…equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen!”~~Hebrews 13:20-21

  • Diane Huntsman

    We trust Him still. From where we sit, it’s hard to understand the mind and ways of God (Isaiah 55:8-9). But the just consequences of sin do not lessen the sovereign goodness of our God.

  • Caroline Harries

    Thank you Lord that you are light in the darkness. Thank you Lord that even when it doesn’t feel like it or look like it, you always fulfill your promises.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • I have had to see the effects of destruction…we had a ‘bomb’ go off earlier this year at church. Our pastor of over 20 years stepped down from his role and the devastating effects of his departure have been huge…
    He truly was a man of God, but I think he forgot who was and had been steering of his life..He has broken a few hearts, that all these months on, they are unable to move past this. …(I appreciate it’s huge, please don’t hear me wrongly)…congregation has gone down and many have moved away..people have had to step into roles they were not prepared for, and then there are those new Christians who are now confused with what they have heard him preach…what can they believe…devastation all round…
    The church banner was for a long time was…’My power is strongest in your weakness..'(2 Corinthians 12:9)
    I tell you this, why..it feels like the season and journey our church has been on has been a wilderness trek…scratching at answers, and trying to make sense of it all…all the while trying to keep going for the sake of our children and each other…
    We have circled the church, whilst praying all negativity be gone in the name of Jesus, we have gathered and prayed these past 9 months, repenting our sins past and present…
    The walls of fear, of confusion, of negativity, of blame, unknown are slowly coming down…
    Victory is mine says the Lord…
    It has been a challenge, a journey of leaning on and counting on the promises of our God ..to love us, to bring restoration and peace..wholeness, rather than ‘sort it’ in our own strength… He is giving us a new canvas, a new beginning, beauty out of the ashes and His faithfulness is so very evident in all things we do.
    Kaitlin, I’m with you…Praising God for every promise kept…
    Happy Thursday Sisters..xxx

    • churchmouse

      So grateful for you and the praying remnant – you all so evidently love the Church. The gates of hell can not, will not, prevail against it. Thankful for the faithfulness to press in to the Truth.

    • Kara*

      Praying that a “Joshua” would rise up among you. That you would be strengthened and encouraged by the Word and that God would give your whole church eyes to see through this tough time.

    • Cristy Newlin

      Bless the Lord! Your faith and obedience is a testimony that will live on for those future generations. Thank you for sharing. It reminds me that I don’t serve the Lord because of our new building (we are patiently waiting for), my pastor’s family (who I dearly love), or the brothers and sisters along side … while those are beautiful additions … It’s ultimately only HIM. I will whisper your name in my prayers this morning sister. May the Lord continue the good work He has begun in you all.

  • “Because of who He is, we can always stare into the dark unknown of destruction to find an unchanging God. In the midst of every upheaval and replanting, He is faithful”. I so needed to hear this truth today. The life that I once knew is now gone and God is rebuilding it, slowly and painfully but for my ultimate good. I am beginning to see that there is reward beyond the suffering. I just have to trust Him to get me through it. In the meantime God is working change into my heart. That is always an uncomfortable process. But there is hope in the upheaval and replanting!

    • Alexis

      Elaine, I had the same thing happen to me this year and I am now in that rebuilding stage. It’s been rough and the upheaval caused some major wounds, but God is healing them. I love this statement: “There is hope in the upheaval and replanting”…so true. Praying to remember this in the rebuilding and restoring stage :)

  • Requesting prayer for my struggles at work. I am a grade two teacher and have taught for 20 years or so, but struggle with depression and feeling good about myself. Spent all of yesterday at work, in tears, doubting myself and my abilities.

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Praying for you this morning Renee…..working in schools is truly one of the most emotionally taxing jobs I have ever experienced. These kiddos are facing so much in their day to day lives that truly, school becomes secondary to meeting their primary needs of food and safety. Praying that you feel God’s presence with you today….that you feel Him leading you, carrying you and directing you…..love being sent your way

    • Melissa

      Praying for you this morning, Renee!

    • churchmouse

      Praying for you. How faithful you’ve been to your calling even though you are struggling. I will pray for the depression to lift quickly and joy to return.

    • Alexis

      Praying for you. Being a teacher is such amazing work; you are building up our future. Thank you so much for that and may God bless you :)

    • CJ

      Praying for all depression to be lifted and healed. He is mighty to save!

    • Julie

      Praying!

    • Maggie

      I am praying for you, too, Renee. I too was a teacher and struggled with my worth and anxiety while teaching. I never felt good enough at my job despite working long hours and truly being a good teacher. for me it came down to and continues to boil down to knowing my worth is not founded in how I preform, but it’s completely wrapped up in God’s creation of me as his daughter, uniquely gifted with talents and purpose no one else can fulfill. when his grace is strong in my weakness, I am then able to shine brightly and confidently taking risks since my worth isn’t wrapped up in my failing or not. hope that helps.

  • churchmouse

    The destruction of Jericho was a gift to the Israelites though it may not have looked like it at the time. It’s hard to imagine standing in the midst of fallen fortress walls, burned homes and businesses, and do I even mention all the corpses? Not only animals but children and women among the men. Did any of the Israelites weep at the sight? So many dreams and hopes held by those who lived within Jericho now just mounds of rubble. This is a gift?!? I say yes because it profoundly tells the Israelites that their god is a God of His Word. When He says He will not tolerate disobedience and He will punish sin, He will do so. When He says He will guide into a promised land, He will do so. When He says an enemy and its city will succumb to a battle plan that includes marching, blowing trumpets and shouting, you can count that He will do so. Oh Israel, He has given you a profound visual of what you must do and be in this new land. You must trust Him and obey. Victory is assured when you do. Yahweh is faithful, true, good, loving and just to those who follow Him. But oh Israel, if you do not trust and if you do not obey, then destruction is in your future. He has graciously warned you and shown you most vividly. The same is true for all generations. We stand in the rubble also. We see the consequences. Daily we must decide. “Choose this day whom you will serve…”

  • “At the intersection of God’s wrath and mercy, we find two constants: His kept promises and His unfailing love. To trust the fullness of His character, we need Him to be steady and sure.”
    Hard to hold sometimes when you witness the God of destruction and death. We are all about the God of love, but sometimes the just and righteous God is hard to swallow. At these times, it’s important that we press in deeper to the God who knows me. So hard to do in difficult circumstances.

  • Heather (MNmomma)

    Trust…..obeying….this is the message that I keep hearing….and need to be reminded of. Stop and listen….trust…..He is in control…..thank you God!!!

    PRAYER REQUEST: About a week or so ago I had brought Sweet Hannah up for prayer….she was diagnosed with lymphoma and had her first round of chemo. She is having some complications and is currently in the hospital trying to find the source of the infection her body is trying to fight. Here she is singing “Trust in You” – this was just a day or two after her diagnosis….she is an amazing young lady. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4u-8Ba96CI

    • ~ B ~

      I am sorry I missed your prayer request H! I will be thinking of and prayerful over Hannah! I am so sorry to hear this. She has a lovely voice. I’m thankful she has amazing folks like you in her life!

    • Jenna H

      She is a beautiful singer with an amazing faith. Praying for her. Please keep us updated on how she’s doing.

  • So, so, SO much good in what was said today. I particularly love the reminder that we NEED Go to be steady and sure in all things or else we wouldn’t be able to trust his character.

    I did wonder what had caused Joshua to curse Jericho after they overtook it, but see now that it was under the direction of the Lord.

    Thank you for this reminder of truth this morning, Kaitlin!!

  • It is so important when we are in a season of destruction that we know our victory. It is assured. The destruction that took place must have been shocking and it makes me think to what Noah and his family must have seen after the flood. Though it is certain, God’s love doesn’t take short cuts and we are often humbled in the process. When we go the way of God, we need to have our eyes on His promises. He goes to great lengths to provide for us and though our personal carnage may not look like Jericho, God will remove whatever He needs to, to ensure our triumph, and there may be pain in the process. If we focus on the destruction around us, we lose sight of what God is doing, we lose sight of our guaranteed victory. I imagine Joshua and friends had to focus on the end goal, if they focused on “how” God got there, they would have lost sight of what He had for them. We often get too wrapped up in the why’s, the how’s and the why not’s, when we should only be seeing the lengths God will go through to refine us, grow us and keep us near Him. Sometimes, as parents, our kiddos want to know the why and we simply have to respond with “because I said so” and while I don’t often use that, there are times the “why” is bigger than their comprehension, bigger than the time we have and I just need to insist on their obedience and blind faith in my decision and my desire for what’s best for them. God doesn’t parent us differently, and He yet He parents us better. We can be confident in His “why” even when we don’t understand it. ~ B

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Oh B….you just totally hit home this message for me. Thank you dear friend! It is so easy to get caught up in all that is going on around…..to ask why….how…..to question…..we just simply can’t comprehend…..the reminder of God’s “because I said so”……I need to just listen and obey…..and trust……
      Powerful reminders this morning…..

    • Becky g

      Thank you ~B~!! This is beautiful and reassuring.

    • Aimee

      Soooo good! What a fabulous analogy. There are many times the “why” is greater than our comprehension. Probably most times. Blind faith and full obedience. Good word!

    • churchmouse

      We can so trust His “because I said so” because it is backed up by His character. He is forever loving. Whatever the meandering path, the valleys and the mountains, He is always good. Because He said so. Because He is.

    • Betsy P.

      This is a completely late reply, but this really resonated with me today! Especially the line “If we focus on the destruction at hand we lose sight of what God is doing.” I think this is often true when we are looking at destruction in the world, too. I find myself grieving over the impact of earthquakes, famines, and wars, and wonder why a good God would allow so much loss and suffering…and yet, when the dust begins to clear I have never failed to see God working to redeem and care for His people. It is in those moments of destruction and its aftermath that the Lord so powerfully moves His Church to love and compassion and grace, whether that looks like followers of Christ opening their homes to orphans and refugees, raising money for much-needed supplies, feeding the hungry, bringing medical care to the sick, or helping families rebuild their homes and cities. It is through the tragedy and the suffering that God so closely brings us together and points us back to His love and compassion!

  • Requesting prayer today, ladies. For about 7 months now, I have been brought to tears by every sermon, every study, some conversations, because I feel this relentless stirring when I am before Him. I feel this call to, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” And along with that, the verse I’ve really been struggling to hold on to and obey in faith, “wait on the Lord; be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.” My heart breaks for broken people, and every new month that goes by with me not doing this thing- which I believe is a call to international missions- is another month I feel is wasted. I have no open doors through which to pursue a long-term international mission though. The SRT study from two days ago wrecked me. And maybe it is that, like Rahab, I just need to be prepared to obey when the opportunity (finally) comes to me, instead of beating myself up for not pursuing it. But in the meantime, I keep looking at every single thing and wondering, “maybe this could lead to the opportunity I’m looking for…” And if I miss an event I question, “maybe that was my ‘in’ and now I missed it.” As you can perhaps see, there is a battle going on. And I would really appreciate all who would join with me in the heavenly realm to fight this. Thank you.

    • Sherry

      Thank you, God, for giving Mary Joe the desire and passion to reach the lost and the call to serve internationally. May she wait patiently for Your timing, knowing that You have have a plan for her life and You guide her steps so she won’t miss it. Help her to be faithful to serve and reach the lost around her while You prepare her for the next step in her journey.

    • Christy

      Praying for you Mary Joe! I’m reading your post, and I’m thinking India. I don’t know if that means anything to you or not.

    • Renee

      Praying for you, too.

    • Tanya

      Mary joe, I have also been in a season of waiting. I know my call but the verses be still and know that I am God and the Lord will fight for you you need only to be still would always accompany those moments when I felt called. The Israelites must have felt this same way as they marched around Jerico and yet they waited for the Lord to fight for them. This is still a hard lesson for my and it’s been about a year now. Praying with you today that you would feel God’s presence as you wait and peace knowing he is working behind the scenes to make a way.

    • churchmouse

      There is preparation in the waiting. You are not missing out on anything the Lord has for you. You have been in such sweet conversation with Him and He is obviously giving you a heart for evangelism. He will provide you the opportunity. The when, the how and the where are up to Him. The nation you are in may be your starting point. I will pray that you have peace as you wait on further direction. He is faithful to provide.

    • Kimberly

      Hi Mary Joe. While you wait for the open door for international missions, remember also that the Lord said the “fields are white unto harvest.” “All nations” probably live right in your own back yard. Ask the Lord daily for divine appointments to share the gospel right where you live and with the broken people in your city. Make disciples right where you are. Your Father in Heaven will open a door to “go” to other nations when the time is right. At this point He’s calling you to trust Him. When I find myself worrying or fretting I remind myself that worrying and fretting about something that I hope God will do is not what faith and trust in my God looks like. So I literally say out loud, “I thank you Lord and I trust you.” 1Thess 5:15 – “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We don’t thank Him FOR everything, we thank him IN everything. Thank Him in your waiting. Thank Him because He is God, He is sovereign, His timing is perfect, He loves you with a perfect love, He has put this stirring in your heart to “go”, He has prepared good works beforehand that you should walk in them (whether on foreign mission fields or right where you live), He is faithful, you can trust Him. As you make these confessions outloud, because faith comes by hearing, your faith will be built up and you will begin to trust in the plan He has for you. Then the enemy will flee and the battle will quiet down. Praying for you today that you begin to use the Word of God out loud against the enemy and his lies and that your faith and trust in your God will bring peace to your heart and mind. PS: I’ve always found that if I miss something that God had wanted me to do, He kindly re-directs me to get me back to where He wanted me. So it is the enemy that causes you to think, “what if I missed what God had for me.” If our heart is right, God will make sure we don’t “miss it”. Blessings to you dear sister. He will use you for His glory!

    • Maggie

      Lord Jesus, I pray that you’d make sense of this waiting period for Mary Joe. Open her eyes to the purpose you have for her each and everyday before and after she gets to serve you overseas. help her to follow behind you instead of skipping ahead in her enthusiasm to get overseas. thank you for her open heart to follow you. may your peace that passes all understanding guard her heart and mind in your name, Jesus.

    • Esther Rogers

      Thank you everyone for replying to this. I too maybe heading into a season of waiting. I am three weeks away from finishing my degree and my feet couldn’t be more itchy. Waiting…I’ve had a passion for latin America and I’ve searching for ways to get there. Mary Joe i know escaxtly how you. To the other sisters churchmouse and kimberly thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. I’ve jotted them down to help me. I’ve been in a season of waiting before and i suppose I don’t want to allow it to happen again. But who am I to stop this. I know these things like a time of preparation. I just need to accept them, tust God be still and let him fight for me.

    • LoveLaughLyme

      .

    • Mary Joe

      Women of God, I am overcome by your responses in prayer. India is on my heart, Christy. Thanking Jesus for that affirmation, and I will pray more about that. And yes, broken people do surround me here in Detroit as well. In fact, for the past two and a half years, I thought I must have misinterpreted His call to work internationally, just because there is so much to do in my own backyard. But after a sermon in church last month, I am convicted that His original calling still holds on my life. Praying for the Lord’s preservation and protection over this SRT community. There were many prayer requests today, and many women faithful in prayer.

  • prayers for you sister

  • “But the just consequences of sin do not lessen the sovereign goodness of our God.”
    I lost my father to a heart attack in January, and I have struggled greatly this year because I do not know where he stood as far as his salvation. The reality that he may not be in Heaven tears me up, and has caused me to question God’s goodness, His plan, and even the reality of Hell. How could a good God allow anyone to suffer that way? But I know that His Word is true, including His promises about death and destruction for those who do not choose Him. I also believe that God chooses and pursues us. I just don’t understand why He wouldn’t have chosen my dad, or pursued him more greatly. I cling to the hope that maybe my dad had given his life to Christ and just wandered away for a season. I believe that once you are saved, you are forever saved. The uncertainty of his salvation plagues me, and has made my grief over losing him so much more than just missing my daddy. Please pray for me.

    • candacejo

      Josie, I am so sorry for your tremendous loss. God doesn’t want you to be tormented over your father, you should be comforted in the good memories you have of him. He is in the hands of a merciful God! We do not know his heart or his relationship with our Lord but we do know that Jesus reaches for that one who is wayward with a love that we cannot comprehend. He pursues us like no other. Rest in the fact that God loved your father even more than you did and it was God’s desire for him to be saved, He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. Turn it over to the Lord in prayer and ask for peace in this situation. He will definitely give it to you. ♥

    • Nancy Grant

      I will pray for you… for God to comfort you in this season of your life. As the song by Lauren Daigle says, may you also say, “Even though… I will trust in You.” Do not hesitate to share your grief for, by hearing it, some or many may make a decision to follow Christ. I have a dear friend whose father accepted Jesus as His Savior at age 79. May we all share our witness of God’s love and faithfulness. Let Him comfort you as only He can, and rest in Him.

    • Christie

      Praying, Josie

    • Debbie

      I’m praying for you this morning, Josie. Hoping and praying that your dad is right now with Our Father… enjoying Him forever. “Those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Hold out hope that even in a final moment he did call on the Lord. “He is mighty to save.” And He is with you…never leaving nor forsaking you. Praying you feel His comfort.

    • ~ B ~

      Prayerful over your hurting heart, Josie. I am so sorry for the torment you feel in the loss of your father. Know that God will grant you the peace you need in this season. I will be praying that you find connection with your Heavenly Father in a way that you never knew through this, that peace comes quickly and that you feel comforted by the one who loves you best.

    • churchmouse

      Praying peace for you, Josie. When I am unsure about someone’s salvation at the time of their death, I remember the thief on the cross. I’m sure there were many who thought he was lost forever but at that last moment, he cried out for mercy. Even those standing beneath the cross may not have heard his painful plea. Their not knowing did not change the fact of his salvation. I take great comfort in that. Your uncertainty does not change the fact that your dad may very well be in the Lord’s presence. Be not discouraged but be proactive in sharing your faith as you have opportunity – leave the results to our great God. Blessings to you

    • Christine

      Hi Josie, I want to share a quick story that I pray will offer you some peace. I was a heroin addict before I was saved, and so was my best friend since childhood. She lost her battle with addiction in 2008, and it has plagued me tremendously over the years that she is still suffering hell. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t get the chance to meet Jesus and I did, why I was alive and she was dead, both literally and spiritually. This summer my family made the difficult decision to leave the church we had been at for many years, and I was struggling with it for sure. Well one morning at the new church we were going to a woman walked up to me, it was my friend, her name was Courtnie, it was her step mother. Her father was their as well, and he told me that 3 months before she passed Courtnie had given her life to Christ in the very building. We may never know who God calls to Him, but there is always hope, He desires that not one of us be lost. Not one. I pray that God would give you peace sister.

    • Maggie

      I too am praying for you this morning, Josie.

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