Thursday, November 6, 2014

Giants? or The Promised Land?

What “giants” have you faced? Did you let them win, or did you decide to be an overcomer?

In writing my second memoir, I’ve discovered that I let giants intimidate me. My first inclination is to run the opposite direction. How about you? Know what I mean?

Remember the story of Caleb and Joshua?

God told Moses to send 12 men into Canaan, the Promised Land, to check it out. When Caleb, Joshua, and their companions returned, they gave it a mixed report: It was a magnificent country, flowing with milk and honey, but defeating the people would be daunting. Their cities were big and fortified, and the people were very powerful—some were even giants. Conquering the land God had promised them would be an enormous, risky undertaking.

But Caleb said, “Let’s go! We can do it!” He recognized the land was God’s gift to them and that He would help them take the land. He was willing to step out in faith and in God’s strength.

But the other men cowered. “We can’t win. They’re stronger than we are. We felt like grasshoppers next to those giants!”

Their fears were contagious—they infected all the Israelites with their pessimism. They feared they could be killed or carried off as slaves. They wept and wailed and complained. Their solution: “Let’s get out of here!”

Their fears rendered them faithless and helpless because they focused on the giants—problems, challenges, and dangers. They focused on how small and weak they were compared to the giants.  Failure was certain. That attitude resulted in double trouble: not only did the Israelites expect defeat: those giants then believed the Israelites were as weak as they thought they were.

Caleb and Joshua said to the doubters, “If God is pleased with us, He will keep us safe and give us the land. Don’t rebel against Him, and don’t be afraid of those giants! With God on our side, we can conquer them.” (See Numbers 13:1-14:9.)

Caleb and Joshua focused on God. In faith, they looked beyond the giants and beyond the Israelites’ weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Their courage was not based on the Israelites strength, but on God’s strength and His promises.

God can do extraordinary things with ordinary human beings who trust Him.

What giants have you faced in the past?

Giants can take many forms: a besetting sin, fear, lying, selfishness, family disputes, financial problems, abuse, conflicts within church congregations, rebellious children, false accusations, a serious illness, or dangerous situations.

Did you set your eyes on the giants, or on God? Did you retreat in defeat, or did you step forward and take possession of your Promised Land?

Write about a time when you focused on the giants, and then write about a time when you focused on God and His help in establishing you in your Promised Land.

While you write, keep in mind the definition of a memoir: Reflect on what God was doing back then, and how you have changed as a result.

What “milk and honey” did you receive as a result of your trust in God? What “milk and honey” would you have missed if you had turned back out of fear and faithlessness?

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