Each day we have devotions together as staff.  We read from multiple devotionals or books.  Recently we have been reading, “Streams In The Desert” by L.B. Cowman (updated version by James Reimann).

The devotion on January 1 was this: “Today we stand at the threshold of the unknown.  Before us lies a new year, and we are going forward to take possession of it.  Who knows what we will find.”

Take possession of it

Even though we are only a few weeks into our new year, I cannot even begin to express the multiple challenges I have had to face as a husband, dad and camp director.  At times, the challenges have been overwhelming and some have been direct spiritual attacks.

Maybe you can identify with this experience: a seemingly small incident happens where your emotions get the better of you whether through tears or maybe anger in your response.  So much so that you are surprised at how emotionally charged you are.  As you reflect you recall something that happened years ago that you thought was long and buried and it somehow raises its ugly head.  Maybe a past failure or sin?  An unresolved crisis that happened that had no closure for you.  Can you identify with that? 

It’s things like that that can discourage you from taking possession of anything.

What do you need to take possession of right now in your life? 

Finances? Marriage? Children? Job? Addiction? Fear?

Respond Accordingly

None of us know what tomorrow holds, despite our best plans and efforts.  The realities of our daily lives sometimes dictates our reactions and responses.  It is key that we “responding accordingly.” 

Oswald Chambers writes in, My Utmost For His Highest: “What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.”

In other words, respond accordingly.  I need to respond to who God is and what he is doing in my life and in the lives of those around me. 

Let Go

I think what makes this so difficult for us is found in our ability to let go of our control, not only in our choices but in the desires of our heart.  I have found this especially true when I have experienced emotional woundedness. 

I cannot take possession of what God has for me if I am unwilling to let go of what I  fear or what I desire. Luke 12:24-34 states, “…Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest…And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well…For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

If I am to respond accordingly, my first response should be, “God, once again I place my trust in you.  I need to have your eyes, and your heart, and your ears.  Help me.  Empower me. Give me the courage to do what you need of me.”

Giants and Walls

On the horizon I see many giants and “Jericho’s” standing in the way of the things God is calling me to do.  There are times when I question the Lord, if I am the right person to fulfill His purpose.  In those moments, I hear the Lord whisper, that it’s not whether I’m the right person, but is my heart fully committed to Him. 

Speaking at our Encounter Teen Winter Camp

I suppose this is true not only in regards to the camp, but even more in those moments when I let my wife down or I feel like I am screwing up my kids. 

My prayer for both you and me at this point of our journey is that we need to invite Jesus into the daily reality of wherever we might find ourselves. 

We must allow Him access to our plans, our lives, our hearts. And then we need to simply have the courage to “respond accordingly” and take possession of what He is calling us to do in that moment. 

Why is this so important?  It’s not because we don’t know.  We just need to be reminded. 

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