Have you ever noticed that negative news seems to dominate the airwaves? Rarely is positive news reported by media outlets.
I noticed during our first week of 2018, some positive news reports that were “under-reported.” For example, the stock market set new records, gaining over 2% in the major indexes during a short week of trading. Unemployment is at a 17-year low and unemployment in the African American community is now at a 40-year low!
Here’s a thought: let’s focus on the positive this year rather than the negative! Maintaining a positive, optimistic attitude is a key to possessing kingdom inheritance. Focus your thoughts on what is admirable and what is pure this year, and you will be better positioned to achieve your best and remain victorious in your Christian walk.
Paul wrote to the Philippians, “From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.” Phil. 4:8 CEB
I shared last week that 2018 was a year of new beginnings, a year to occupy and possess what is yours in Christ!
2018 is a year to shine with the glory of the Lord—Jesus is the light of the world! In Christ, “…we live with great expectation and we have a priceless inheritance…” (1 Pet 1:3-4 NLT) As if to accent this point, we observed a brilliant super moon on New Year’s Day evening—it’s a year to shine, Church!
I also shared that as a follower of Jesus, there are promises and prophecies which God has spoken to you that are part of your inheritance now—you must learn how to possess them. I used Joshua as an example of possessing promised inheritance, Joshua 1:1-11.
To summarize from last week, Joshua was able to possess what God promised because:
1) Joshua realized his greatness was in God
2) God’s promises to others are yours by faith
3) Get God’s vision for what you should do then work to bring it about
4) Know that God is with you as much as anyone
5) Believe God’s word then act on it
Remember, an entire generation of Israel wandered 40 years—longing for the Promised Land, but they died wishing. However, Joshua nurtured a victory within himself, during the desert years.
He was becoming what God declared and promised. When God commissioned Joshua, he responded in faith and turned others’ dreams into land, cities, homes and possessions—the inheritance for generations to come. Your breakthrough affects generations that follow—your marriage, your family, the Church and society.
Joshua succeeded because his heart was confident in God, not in the circumstances around him. Joshua’s worldview was anchored in God and His promises.
He wasn’t swayed by the news or circumstances. Remember, focus on the positive reports, not the negative this year! That’s the difference between what happens for some people and what doesn’t happen for others. Your success is in God, His Word and how you apply His promises for yourself—not in your circumstances or in negative news. God is your greatness! His word is sure, He watches over it to perform it!
Moses dies, and God directs Joshua to “cross over.”
The Jordon is at flood stage, a mile wide, a raging, daunting river to cross. In the natural, it didn’t seem to be the right time to cross over.
But what had God promised Joshua? “From the wilderness … to the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.” (Josh. 1:4) For Joshua and Israel, the only land remaining to be possessed was what Joshua made up his mind to have. It was theirs by faith. And it happened when he decided.
God had already gone before Joshua and Israel! The Israelites had to cross the river Jordan, and seize the gift offered. God expected Joshua to act in faith on what had been revealed to him. Revelation apart from action is powerless!
A dream is only a dream unless you act upon it—otherwise it is just wishful thinking!
With Jesus, obstacles become opportunities when he is leading. While praying last week, I saw blank pages in a journal and heard the Lord say, “I’m waiting for the Church to write the pages!” God is directing you and me; He expects us to act confidently so that His story can be written! Remember, “for all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27 NASB)
When God directs, faith ignores the natural circumstances and sees the opportunity to live in promised inheritance. Faith flows from an intimate relationship with God.
Living a life of faith is not about achieving results. True faith lives from a loving relationship with the Creator that obeys, not out of duty, but as a lover who trusts the One who guides. True freedom and joy is discovered in a life surrendered to Jesus!
Your ability to trust Jesus confidently amid the uncertainties of life will determine how much you abide in God’s peace, joy, and victory. Courageous faith sees opportunity in contradiction. It is a faith, which can deflect chaos and release God’s peace in a turbulent world. It’s a faith that grasps God’s promises to realize dreams and inheritance.
I sense there are many currently who profess Christ, perhaps attend church faithfully, who have “lost their faith.” They haven’t rejected Jesus, but the setbacks and trials of life have caused their faith to ebb—their confidence has diminished that God will break through for them. Disappointment affects faith unless you are close to Jesus.
Remember what Paul told the Philippians, “Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” (Phil 3:1 NLT) Your ability to rejoice, during all of life’s circumstances, helps you maintain a strong faith and positions you to believe God for answered prayer. Learn how to rejoice from your relationship with the Lord always!
The river is raging and at flood stage, perhaps a mile wide. “Cross over Joshua!”
You have a word from the Lord, “Cross over.” What do you do? Do you obey God? Or do you rely on your “sense knowledge” of the situation and play it safe?
God’s promises are intended to provoke you to action. What has God promised you? How much of His Kingdom is available? How much have you made up your mind to have? There are realms in God’s kingdom that will only be realized as you determine to possess and occupy with God.
Circumstances in this life are rarely perfect, often opposite to God’s leading. Great achievements and personal victory is realized through assertive faith and obedience. Like Joshua, you must believe God’s word and act upon it! Be strong, and courageous!
Your job is your river Jordan!
While on a missions trip to Brazil in 2003, the Lord spoke to me, “Your job is your river Jordan.” Our church plant was barely a year old, I was working a full-time job to support my family and the ministry, and now God was prompting me to quit the job to better pastor the church. In fact, He said to me, “the church can’t become what I want it to be unless you quit the church and pastor the church full-time.”
My response, “But God, we are the biggest givers in this small church of 20 people, we don’t even take a salary from the church, how are we going to make it?!”
When I arrived home, I was hoping Carolyn would have a “word of wisdom” about this new directive from God! To my shock, she said, “God has been speaking to me that you are to leave your job; I’m in agreement.” I gave my notice, left the job, and set out to “cross our Jordan.” We spent all our savings, and suddenly the church grew, and we were able to take a small salary. God provided as we kept trusting and obeying him. The river was daunting, but following Jesus was miraculous! Today, Passion Church is thriving, but it began with a step of faith as God guided.
What is the vision God has given you for your life, your family, your church?
Faith sees the promise as realized, and then acts to cooperate with God. Your faith in Jesus enables you to see His vision for your life, but it unfolds over time through intimate relationship with Him. You must “lean into” God, expect to hear and see!
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deut. 29:29
Vision isn’t automatic—if you aren’t looking, leaning into God, you won’t see. “Come follow Me” must mean something to the believer, more than creedal agreement! Our life in Christ is an active participation in the Spirit, with an expectation for communication and direction from God.
Like Joshua, believe that God is with you as much as with anyone.
To Joshua, God said, “I will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Josh. 1:5) One “unbelief” some have is that God is with some people greater than with others. He promised this to Joshua and repeated the same statement 1,300 years later by the writer of Heb. 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God is with us not because we are good or because we have great faith; He is with us because He has committed Himself irrevocably to us. If God was with us only when we had success, success would never come. Don’t wait for the right circumstances, God is your circumstance. He is with you!
You are valuable to God, and He has placed His Spirit within you and wants to empower you to fulfill His vision and purposes in your life. Grace empowers you to become!
The Lord told Joshua three times to, “be strong and of good courage.” God was giving Joshua instructions how to be strong (Jos. 1:8-9), but the command also imparted strength to him. The phrase “be strong” is from the Hebrew châzaq, which means: courageous, valiant, strengthened, established, fortified, obstinate, and mighty.
God gave a “grace” to Joshua to be strong and courageous. The command “to be strong and courageous” also imparted the strength and courage to obey and realize the promise. Prophetic declaration releases God’s power to do the impossible.
Grace is much more than being forgiven, grace empowers you to be who you are not. You are becoming like Christ because of the power of the Holy Spirit, the agent of grace. Grace infuses life and power to become your identity and to do what God has asked you to do.
Paul writes in Ephesians to, “…be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10). The phrase “be strong in the Lord,” could read, “Strengthen yourself in the Lord.” Your strength is found in Christ, in His greatness, authority, and victory. God’s grace restores your relationship with Him (Eph. 2:8-9), but grace also transforms you.
God’s empowering grace by the Spirit empowers you for good works, and to fulfill dreams and destiny. (Eph. 2:10) His grace empowers you to overcome the challenges in your journey.
Joshua learned how to, “strengthen himself in the Lord.” This concept is vital for us today. He was intentional in his relationship with God to walk in his victory as an overcomer. To complete your assignment and fulfill your destiny, you must learn how to stay strong in the Lord as you move forward in life.
Your greatness is in God. Cast off feelings of inferiority.
If you think you are a grasshopper, you are; because as a person “thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). But in God you are not a grasshopper—ever!
You are never alone, never abandoned, and never outmatched in God! A renewed mind sees the impossible as the environment for God’s miracle power to be displayed. We should live from our identity in Christ and the kingdom inheritance that is ours presently.
Believe God’s promises, get His strategy for you, and act obediently.
That’s why Joshua succeeded—because the same God who was with Moses was with him. He’s the same God who is with you and will never leave you nor forsake you!
For a more in-depth look at how to Possess Your Inheritance, be sure to watch the Passion Church message, “Possess Your Inheritance, Part 2”: