Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 3

February 5th, 2016

NOTE: This is the third and final segment of my thoughts and applications about Joshua and the miracle at the Jordan. If you have not read the previous devotionals – “Obstacles and Opportunities”

Part 1 is at: www.allenrandolph.com/?p=9027

Part 2 is at: www.allenrandolph.com/?p=9036

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“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT.

God works miracles beyond the
comprehension or capabilities of men.

My thoughts and comments continue today about, “obstacles and opportunities.”

I have been sharing about the miracle at the Jordan river that allowed Joshua and Israel to cross over an impassable river and utterly destroy an invincible city blocking their entrance to Canaan. Read Joshua 3:1-17 KJV. You also will confront circumstances – though much less than theirs – that will oppose your desired progress. There are two truths to remember: (1) Never limit God to your present circumstance. Read Ephesians 3:20 NIV. (2) God always has more than you can see from where you are. Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 NIV.

Sometimes, the problem is inward, requiring that you exercise discipline and self-control. At other times, the problem is beyond your cause or control, when you will need the kindness and assistance of others. God weaves people into your life for His purposes. But you will confront a few situations where and when only God has the resources and power to help you. With God, such an obstacle includes unforeseen opportunity.

God works miracles beyond the comprehension or capabilities of men. Those miracles require your conviction that, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NKJV. There are sovereign acts of God and miraculous interventions by God. Miracles have both divine and human elements. Miracles occur when God requires you to provide trust, faith, and obedience; then with you, He accomplishes what you cannot.

In the miracles of Jordan and Jericho, multiple human elements were required of Joshua, the Priests, and the people. God gave Joshua clear instructions, which depended on the specific obedience of any and every one involved. Holman, a dear friend and elderly minister, often encouraged me with Isaiah’s promise, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.” Isaiah 1:19 NIV. Joshua was to prepare the people and instruct the Priests. The Priests were to carry the Ark of the Covenant into the swirling waters where they were to “stand in Jordan,” until they “stood firm on dry ground.” Joshua 3:8/3:17 KJV. The people were to wait for the waters to recede and then follow the Priests across the dry river bed. An element of faith and obedience was uniquely required of each.

In every miracle, there is a crowd willing and waiting to see what God can do. But first, God has to have a leader who is clear about the will and Word of the Lord. Then God needs a few priests who will step out with courageous faith and stand in steadfast obedience. Read Joshua 4:10/18 NIV. As I studied this Bible passage for a recent weekend of ministry, I felt the Holy Spirit speak into my heart. Alone in my room, I wept as I understood that the priests stood bravely in those threatening flood waters for more than their personal safety and future. In faith, they stepped into the waters and stood firm on behalf of others who could follow them – their wives and children, friends and neighbors, and a nation whose immediate fate and ultimate destiny depended upon their willingness to do so.

I may not be a leader like Joshua, but neither am I willing to just stand safely in the crowd. As for me, I choose to be a priest standing in faith and obedience for those who will follow after me. The Bible is clear; “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV.

Someone is looking to you for your example and encouragement. A priest stands between God and man – before God on behalf of men and before men on behalf of God. Will you be a royal priest who stands steadfastly upon God’s Word for others? Step out from the crowd and assume your priestly responsibility on their behalf. “Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV. 

Here is a word for someone today, “Do not be afraid . . you are Mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT. Be encouraged in God and an encourager to others.

Today, I pray for you to stand firm in faith for the sake of others.

Christian Communications 2016
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EDL Pix stormy sea

If you have not watched the video of this teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760.

If you watch the video, would you be kind enough to simply hit “reply” to the email – no comment required. It’s just a simple way for me to know if posting a video teaching is useful to EDL readers. By the way, at the website, allenrandolph.com, this video and three others are available any time. You can go to the website and scroll down past the calendar to the bottom right corner and you will see them listed. Thank you for your support of this ministry.

 

 

 

 

Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 2

February 3rd, 2016

“Stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV.

With God, there is more than you can see from where you are.

My comments today continue about, “obstacles and opportunities.”

Obstacles are natural events the devil uses to restrict you to the past or impose limits today. Every obstacle also presents opportunities. Opportunities are Godly provision that encourages you into a better and greater future, just over the horizon from where you now are. You fail to progress in your faith if you only see the obstacles but not the opportunities.

The Bible records two similar yet distinct miracles. Moses and Israel’s miracle at the Red Sea was to redeem Israel’s history. Joshua and Israel’s miracle at the Jordan River was to release Israel’s destiny. Allowing God to deal with your history allows entrance into your destiny. There never could have been a miracle at the Jordan if there had not been a miracle at the Red Sea. As with Israel, God sovereignly deals with your past as prelude to entering your blessed future, a place, “with flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.” Deuteronomy 6:10-11 NIV.

But first, Israel faced two insurmountable, natural barriers – the impassable, swollen Jordan River at the worst possible time of year and the formidable, menacing city of Jericho – a sentinel guarding the Jericho valley and entrance to Canaan. Read Joshua 3:10 NKJV. As you read, notice God’s two purposes for the miracle He would provide. (1) assurance of His abiding presence among them, and (2) His guarantee of unfailing victory until every enemy was vanquished before them. If God could dry up the waters of Jordan, He could collapse the walls of Jericho. From what God has done you learn what God can and will do.

The priests, bearing the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders, were to step into the surging flood waters first and, “stand still in Jordan.” (Joshua 3:8 KJV). It required obedience to step into those surging waters and even greater faith to continue to stand there. Read Joshua 3:13-17 KJV. As promised, the miracle began when the priests stepped into the water, but not where the priests stepped into the water.

Miraculously, the waters stopped many miles upstream beyond where the priests stood and could not yet see. As the rushing waters receded, the priests, “stood firm in the middle of the Jordan on dry ground while all Israel completed the crossing on dry ground.” There will be times when your miracle is still upstream and unseen. With God, there is always more than you can see from where you are. In such times, “In prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV. “And having done all to stand, stand therefore . .” Read Ephesians 6:11-18 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to stand strong in the truth of God’s Word at all times.

To be continued . . Part 3

EDL Pix stormy sea

If you did not already watch the video of this teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760.

If you watch the video, would you be kind enough to simply hit “reply” to the email – no comment required. It’s just a simple way for me to know if posting a video teaching is useful to EDL readers. By the way, at the website, allenrandolph.com, this video and three others are available any time. You can go to the website and scroll down past the calendar to the bottom right corner and you will see them listed. Thank you for your support of this ministry.

Christian Communications 2016

Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 1

January 29th, 2016

“This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV.

The impossible is what God does best.

My comments today are about “obstacles and opportunities.”

I have observed that life presents both obstacles and opportunities. It is unrealistic to presume you will have either without the other. Every opportunity presents an obstacle; every obstacle presents an opportunity. The bigger the opportunity, the greater the obstacles. The greater the obstacle, the bigger the opportunities will be.

You learn a lot about your own character when you experience obstacles. And in every obstacle, God offers an opportunity to learn about His character as well. “This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us be happy. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV. Any day is a good day when you are offered the opportunity to walk and live in His victory.

Take a few minutes to read Joshua 1:1-10 and Joshua 3:1-17 NIV. Joshua and Israel faced serious obstacles; an uncrossable Jordan and an invulnerable Jericho were both impediments to entering Canaan, the land of God’s promise and plenty. Why would the armies in Jericho neither offer opposition to Israel crossing Jordan nor demonstrate any active resistance as they marched around Jericho seven days? I suggest, with such flooded dimensions and depth of the Jordan, they must have assumed it unimaginably impossible for two million people to navigate such a crossing, just as they believed the capture of their city to be impossible. The impossible is what God does best.

Under the cover of darkness, Joshua sent two men went into Jericho to assess the situation ahead. What they heard was that Jericho was more afraid of them than they were of Jericho. Fear creates battles that God has already fought and won. A Canaanite woman in Jericho said, “I know the Lord has given you the land . . all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea when you came out of Egypt . . our hearts melted . . no courage remained in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God is God in Heaven and in earth.” Read Joshua 2:9-11 NIV. Imagine! Canaan’s current and continuing fear began more than forty years earlier, when God drowned the Egyptian army and divided the Red Sea for Moses to lead newly liberated people across on dry land.

Upon return to Joshua, their report was with assurance and certainty, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.” Joshua 2:24 NIV. But first they still had to cross the treacherous currents of a flooding Jordan. God always makes a way where there seems to be no way. With divine authority, Jesus said, “The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NKJV. But be prepared, God’s way will be what you least expect and never imagined. God said, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV.

Maybe you face an obstacle, feeling uncertain of the path forward. Sometimes the past feels difficult to overcome; sometimes the future seems unsure and concerning. “This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us be happy. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV. Let me remind you that the God Who makes a way where there seems to be no way knows where you are and what you need, and He is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 NIV. Today can be your day of victory. Celebrate!

Today, I pray for you that you will believe God for the impossible.

To be continued . .

I spoke last weekend at the Cathedral of Faith in San Jose, CA. They have posted the video of the teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760

ARR and Screen COF 1-24-16

Success with Satisfaction

January 22nd, 2016

“Our only power and success come from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 NLT.

Success without satisfaction is failure not success.

My thoughts and comments today are about “success with satisfaction.”

Success is a more complex subject than might first be assumed. Sir Winston Churchill captured the process as, “moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Ultimately, success requires an untiring enthusiasm and expectation. Let success be your goal, but make satisfaction your measurement of success.

Success is a common, even innate, desire of the human spirit. God wills your success. About that fact, the Bible is clear. “Beloved I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 NASB. God wills you to enjoy financial sufficiency, ample health and strength, measured by a singular standard, “as your soul prospers.” “Our only power and success come from God.” Read 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 TLB. Apart from the spiritual dimension, whatever measure of success you achieve will be unsatisfactory. Success without satisfaction is failure not success.

Do not let the world around you dictate what success is for you. The apparent success of others may mislead you into assuming your success will look like theirs. The Bible warned, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV. The world measures success by tangible acquisitions, notable achievements, popular approval, others’ applause, or material gain. “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by their envy of their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless, like chasing the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:4 NLT. The world’s standards are different from what God values.

You must decide to which you will give irreplaceable years of effort, energy, and expense. Establish your personal definition of success. Without Godly benchmarks for measuring, you may not know when you achieve it or recognize when you have not. Contentment and satisfaction with what you achieve is a more reliable measurement of success than the tangible rewards that result.

For me, where I find the greatest satisfaction and most prize any measure of “success” are family and ministry. I will count Gayle’s and my success by the fruit of our family’s lives, the faith and values we hold in common, enjoying and loving one another’s company, and our mutual love and service for the Lord and His Church. Our family is central to my definition of success with satisfaction.

As for ministry, I evaluate ministry on the twin bases of obedience and faithfulness to God’s call, having done what He asked and been faithful where He placed me. Honest appraisal reminds me that God’s grace and people’s graciousness have been the source of success.

Today, I pray for you to measure success by the satisfaction you find in doing God’s will.

Words Have Power

January 19th, 2016

“Let the words of my mouth be acceptable in Your sight.” Psalm 19:14 NKJV.

What is experienced in your heart will be expressed in words.

My thoughts and comments today are that “words have power.”

Words are important, having immeasurable power and potential beyond what you may imagine. With words, God created the world and everything that exists came to be. Genesis states the process this simply, “And God said, ‘Let there be . . and there was . .’” Genesis 1. Read John 1:1-3/14 NKJV. Value the inherent power of words.

Needless excess of words discounts individual value. Solomon, a wise man, said, “The fool multiplies words . . In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Ecclesiastes 10:14 NIV/ Proverbs 10:19 NKJV. There are people who would do well to understand that principle when it comes to their words. Frequently, people talk too much. When they do, their words are devalued. “Do not be rash with your mouth . . let your words be few.” Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV.

God views the unredeemed and unrestrained tongue as, “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the [likeness] of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.” Read James 3:8-12 NKJV. Words have incredible power. Your words can build up; they can tear down. Words can help; they can hurt. Words can heal; they can harm. Learn to speak the language of blessing. “Set a guard, over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3 NIV.

Use words well and speak them wisely. Know when to speak; learn when to keep silent. To be considered wise, be disciplined with your words, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 NKJV. Your words have a God-given potential to edify. Everyone needs to receive words that generously express grace. Let your speech be always with a loving voice.

The Psalmist prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord.” Psalm 19:14 NKJV. The more you meditate on God’s Word and allow His truth to dwell in your heart, the more your thoughts and words will sound like His. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV. Your words are learned from the thoughts you entertain and the voices you listen to most frequently and most highly regard.

What is experienced in your heart will be expressed in your words. Luke 6:43-45 NIV. I want that to be the voice of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the Word of God in my heart. This all begins here, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:16-17 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to always listen for His voice and obey all He says.

Psa 19.14

Christian Communications 2016

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