Five months ago I started writing a 30 day program entitled “Motivated to Overcome”. That program is finally complete. It has been a long road but I want to thank everyone who stuck with me and followed the program to the end. I hope you were motivated to overcome. Thank you!
‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor
and give you his peace.’
(Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)
Believers in Jesus Christ are not hidden from the challenges and obstacles of this world. As long as we are living in this world we will face challenges and obstacles. We may face sickness and disease. We may face financial difficulties. We may face problems in our families. In fact, the Apostle Paul reminded the Church at Corinth that:
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
Believers in Jesus Christ may experience the same things non-believers experience because we live in the same world. However, it is not the will of God for us to fall under the pressure of the challenges and obstacles of this world. It is God’s will for us to keep standing. It is God’s will for us to overcome every challenge and obstacle. God is so serious about this that He looks at every specific challenge and obstacle we face in our lives and formulates a specific plan of escape so we can endure.
- Joseph was sold as a slave into Potiphar’s house but God blessed Joseph can caused Potiphar to “put [Joseph] in charge of his entire household and everything he owned” (Genesis 39:4 NLT)
- Joseph was wrongfully accused of rape and placed in prison but God gave Joseph favour and the keeper of the prison “put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison” (Genesis 39:21-22 NLT).
- Jesus was wrongfully convicted, sentenced to death, beaten and forced to carry His cross to Calvary but God caused the soldiers to force another man (Simon of Cyrene) to carry the cross. (Mark 15:21)
Can you see it?
- Even though Joseph experienced betrayal by his brothers, the life of a slave and a prisoner, Joseph was able to endure until he got to the Palace. God gave Joseph the grace to endure and in the end Joseph was able to save his family and Egypt from seven years of famine.
- Even though Jesus was betrayed by his own disciple (Judas), was wrongfully convicted, beaten and forced to carry a heavy cross, Jesus was able to endure until He got to Calvary. God gave Jesus the grace to endure and in the end Jesus was able to save the entire world from a lifetime of sin.
God gave Jesus the grace to endure. In other words, God ensured that Jesus had enough energy to make it to Calvary. God will do the same for us. God will not allow the challenges and obstacles we face to overcome us. God will give us grace to endure them and overcome them.
Can you remember any of the conversations you had with others two days ago? I can vaguely remember the conversations but I certainly cannot remember every word I said. The Bible is filled with many conversations between God and human beings. Within those conversations we will discover that God made promises. Those promises were not fulfilled immediately. Sometimes it took months before those promises were fulfilled. Sometimes it took several years before those promises were fulfilled. Sometimes it took several centuries before those promises were fulfilled.
In life many promises are unfulfilled because of the amount of time that has expired. However, in the Kingdom of God, promises do not expire with time. God always remembers the promises He has made to His children and to His creation. God promised to save Noah and his family along with all kinds of animals from the flood. The flood covered the earth for several days while Noah, his family and the animals were in the Ark:
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. (Genesis 8:1 NLT)
God promised Abraham that He would deliver his descendants from bondage. The children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt for more than 400 years. They were suffering and experiencing severe hardships. They forgot about the God of their fathers. However, when they cried for help, God heard them:
God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. (Exodus 2:24-25 NLT)
God promised the children of Israel that He would send a Messiah (Saviour) to deliver them and be their King forever. Several centuries passed since those promises were made. The Romans were in control. Spiritual darkness covered the land. The people of Israel were in bondage to sickness, diseases and demonic activity. God remembered His promise and sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to deliver them:
Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness… and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. (Matthew 4:23-24 NLT)
Sometimes it is easy to forget the promises that we have made to others. We are human beings and many things fade from our memory as time goes by. Nevertheless, be encouraged by this fact:
God always remembers His promises
Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. (Romans 15:8 NLT)
A promise is a powerful thing. A promise can motivate us when we feel discouraged. A promise can strengthen us when we feel weak. An employer promises to pay his employees a salary at the end of every month. This promise motivates those employees to wake up early and travel to their workplace. This promise motivates those employees to travel through the rain and the snow to reach their workplace. In other words, that promise made by their employer strengthened their resolve to get to work in spite of whatever obstacles they faced each day.
We are motivated by mere human promises. What about the promises that our Heavenly Father has made? God’s promises are guaranteed. God’s promises are reinforced by His nature and character:
God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? (Numbers 23:19 NLT)
Sometimes we forget to fulfill the promises we have made. Sometimes we are unable to fulfill a promise we have made because of the uncertainties of life. God is not subject to human failure. God is not subject to human weakness. God is not limited by the uncertainties of life. We can trust God’s promises twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.
We can trust God’s promises in the wilderness:
Then the LORD said to Moses, “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’” (Exodus 16:11-12 NLT)
We can trust God’s promises in the fire:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. (Daniel 3:16-17 NLT)
We can trust God’s promises in the storm:
For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. (Acts 27:23-25 NLT)
There are many buildings in this world which were built to endure natural disasters. God’s promises are built to endure natural and spiritual disasters. God promised Jesus that He would not leave his soul in the grave (Psalm 16:10). Jesus stood on God’s promises and willingly died on the cross to save the entire world. Three days later God raised Jesus from the dead. The strongest building can fall. The strongest rock can be broken but God’s promises can never fail. Your world may be falling apart but you can plant your feet upon God’s promises.
God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
(Psalm 46:1-3 NLT)
Sleep is a necessary part of life. Sleep gives our physical bodies the opportunity to rest. Medical professionals recommend that human beings need a specific amount of hours of sleep every night to function at their best. This is true but the quality of that rest is much more important. We can sleep for the recommended amount of hours and still wake up tired, cranky and frustrated. What we sleep on is just as important as how long we sleep.
There are many mattress companies which promise us the best sleep possible. There are mattresses which offer the best back support. There are mattresses which contour to the shape of our body. All of these are good but they cannot promise us the rest we really need. They cannot promise us that everything will be alright in the morning. They cannot promise us that all of our sorrows will be turned to joy. They cannot promise us that we will be victorious in life. There is only one mattress that can do that:
This mattress is supplied, tried and verified by God Himself. Many people in the Bible slept on this mattress during their lives on earth. Jacob slept on this mattress. While Jacob was on his way to his uncle Laban’s house, he stopped somewhere to sleep. Jacob slept on the ground and used a rock as his pillow. While he was sleeping he had an interesting dream:
…he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the LORD… (Genesis 28:12-13 NLT)
The LORD God told Jacob:
…The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.
I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:13-15 NLT)
When Jacob received that dream he was homeless. He was alone. He had no soft bed to sleep on but God gave him a Promise-pedic. God’s Promise-pedic is a mattress full of God’s promises. God gave Jacob promises that he could rest on for the remainder of his life.
- God promised to give him the ground he was lying on.
- God promised to give him many descendents
- God promised to bless the families of the earth through him and his descendents
- God promised to be with him
- God promised to protect him
- God promised to bring him back to that land
- God promised to never leave him
You may be alone, in debt, distressed and frustrated with life but you can still have a good night’s rest on God’s Promise-pedic.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NLT)
There are many projects which human beings have started which were not finished. These projects were not finished for these main reasons:
- The person who started it died
- The person who started it did not have enough resources to finish it
- The person who started it changed their mind and decided to stop working on it
- The work was hindered or destroyed
God is not limited by any of the above reasons. God can not die:
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28 NLT)
God has unlimited resources and power:
“O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! (Jeremiah 32:17 NLT)
God does not change His mind:
God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? (Numbers 23:19 NLT)
God’s work can never be hindered or destroyed:
“So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” (Acts 5:38-39 NLT)
Before the world began, God started a great project:
The Plan of Salvation
God wanted to redeem His creation from sin. God ensured that every part of His plan was carried out. He called Abram (Abraham). He gave Abraham and his wife a son (Isaac) in their old age. He blessed Isaac’s son, Jacob with twelve sons. These twelve sons became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. These twelve tribes became a nation. God preserved the nation of Israel from destruction. God used a virgin, named Mary to give birth to His “only begotten Son” Jesus. This Jesus, who was without sin and found to be without fault before Pontius Pilate, was condemned to be crucified on a cross (the worst punishment a criminal could receive). Before Jesus died on the cross, He said these words:
It is finished! (John 19:30 NLT)
The redemption of mankind from sin was finished. It took a long time but God finished His work:
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. (Galatians 4:4-5 NLT)
Has God promised to do something in your life? Are you waiting on God to work on your behalf? Don’t give up. Keep praying and trusting in God. At the right time you will see that promised fulfilled. At the right time you will see that situation turned around. In those moments when you feel like giving up, remember:
God Always Finishes His Work!
On several occasions I have entered a government department to conduct business and I was informed that the person who can help me is on vacation. When I enquired when that person will be back in office I was unable to obtain a definite answer. Sometimes life can make us feel as though God is on vacation. Sometimes, we pray and pray and pray to God for deliverance from our problems and nothing happens. In those moments we believe that God is ‘out of office’. However, the Bible gives us a different account of God’s work schedule. The Bible records that since the beginning of creation God only took one day off:
And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. (Genesis 2:3 NLT)
God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them in six days and He rested on the seventh day. He rested because His work was finished. However, God was not finished working on behalf on His creation. God planted the Garden of Eden so Adam and Eve would have a nice place to live. After Adam and Eve sinned, God made clothes for them to wear. God continues to work on behalf of His creation:
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107:8 KJV)
There is no doubt that God does wonderful works on behalf of His creation. The Psalmist revealed that God delivered and saved His people when they were distressed and in trouble. However, there is something that occurred before God worked on their behalf:
Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. (Psalm 107:6 KJV)
Those who were in trouble “cried unto the LORD” and the LORD “delivered them out of their distresses”. God works on behalf of those who put their trust in Him. God worked on behalf of David when he was running from King Saul. God worked on behalf of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. God worked on behalf of Daniel when he was thrown into the den of lions. God worked on behalf of Jesus when He died and was buried in a tomb.
Are you in distress? Are you faced with trouble? There is Someone Who can help you and He does not go on vacation. God is not so far away that you can not reach Him. Call on Him now:
Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. (Isaiah 55:6 NLT)
It is my desire to encourage you today. We all need encouragement at some point in time in our lives. The best boxers need their trainers to encourage them. The greatest athletes needs encouragement from their coaches. Children need encouragement from their parents. Christians need encouragement from their God and Father. Our Father in Heaven is the God of Encouragement. He encourages us through His Word. He encourages us through His presence. He encourages us through His servants.
Joshua was given the great responsibility of leading Israel to possess the Promised Land. God encouraged Joshua through His Word:
“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous.(Joshua 1:6-7 NLT)
God encouraged Joshua through His presence:
So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the LORD your God says. Today you will know that the living God is among you…Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River!…as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away… And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. (Joshua 3:9-16 NLT)
God encouraged Joshua through His servant:
When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the LORD’s army.” (Joshua 5:13-14 NLT)
God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. God showed Joshua that He was with Him by moving the waters of the river Jordan so Israel could pass over to the other side. When Joshua had to conquer the city of Jericho, God sent a man with a sword in his hand to meet Joshua. This man revealed himself to be:
The commander of the LORD’s army
This man did not reveal why he was there but I believe he was there to encourage Joshua. I believe His presence alone encouraged Joshua to continue doing the will of God. If the commander of the army is present, his army cannot be too far away. Joshua was faced with the great task of conquering the city of Jericho but God’s army stood ready. If you are faced with a great difficulty today, be encouraged by Joshua’s encounter with the commander of LORD’s army. God’s Army Stands Ready to help you!