Summary: Each person who follows God has their own vision of who He is as they see Him with their own eyes and filters.
When Adoniram Judson graduated from college and seminary he received a call from a fashionable chuch in Boston to become its assistant pastor. Everyone congradualated him. His mother and sister rejoiced that he could live at home with them and do his life work, but Judson shook his head. "My work is not here," he said. "God is calling me beyond the seas. To stay here, even to serve God in His ministry, I feel would be only partial obedience, and I could not be happy with that." Although it cost him a great struggle he left mother and sister to follow the heavenly call. The fashionable church in Boston still stands, rich and strong, but Judson’s churches in Burma had 50 thousand converts, and the influence of his consecrated life is felt around the world."
This morning, I want to share a glimpse of the God who called Judson to Burma, the same God that has called us here for such a time as this, the God of encouragement, who encourages you and I to stretch from where we are with His good words that lead us into great works for Him and His Kingdom. I want to begin by looking at the life of Joshua in Joshua chapter 1 (READ Joshua 1:1-9).
Moses had spoken to Joshua concerning his death, had anointed him to become the leader when he passed from this earth into eternity. Death, even when it is anticipated, still sets us back. Moses has died, and God comes to Joshua stating, "Moses, my servant is dead, now therefore arise, cross the Jordon, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel."
Too often people live in the past and never hear the encouraging words that are spoken in the present time. Life becomes a memorial rather than moving momentium rising to the next level. Let that not happen with us.
Good words precede good works. God tells Joshua, before they have left the past, I have sometime in the near future, something that is just around the corner for you to do that will be greater than what has taken place before. Joshua, where you walk, I am going to give you that land because what I promised Moses in the past is for you to grasp now and into the future, my word does not change. Then He goes on to describe the land of promise, its parimaters, and to again reinforce to Joshua that no one will stand against him as none were able to stand against Moses.
Three times in this text, God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous. This might have brought to mind the Song of Moses and the sons of Israel which they sang in Exodus chapter 15 following their escape from Egypt. Here they knew first hand what it meant to be strong and courageous, that the God who gave them the words to go would also be the God who would bring them to victory through their efforts. verse 2 states:
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
What is it that prevents us from moving forward? The Bible is filled with the encouraging words of the Lord, yet I would have to say our own personal insecurities combined with the fear of man have left us paralysed and we need to hear again and again and again the words of God to Joshua, only be strong and courageous.
Consider Lizbeth Piedrasanta, a native of Guatemala City who came to America and returned to her country with a Masters of Arts degree in counseling, where she joined with other Christians to set up a counseling center. Not far from their office was the town dump where hundreds of poverty sticken Guetemalans eked out their esixtence and raised their children. Lizbeth and Gladys had a God idea, the Holy Spirit moved on them to host a party for the children of the dump at Christmas. Others warned them this was a dangerous plan