When You Have Big Shoes to Fill

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A covenant was made between God and the Israelites. God had called Moses to lead them to a life of obedience to the law and also to lead them out of Egypt. God showed Moses the promised land even though he wasn’t able to enter into it. But towards the end of the book of Deuteronomy, we see how Moses is preparing to pass the torch to Joshua, his assistant. And as Joshua is being prepared to lead, God is clear with him about the type of leader he will be. He would be strong and courageous because the Lord promised to go ahead of him as he takes on this new role. So when we land in the book of Joshua it’s when Moses has recently died, the people are mourning and God tells Joshua how now is his time to lead them into the promised land.

Scripture Reference: Joshua 1:8 (NIV) Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

As I was thinking about this text, I was reminded of the times in my life, when I was asked to lead in areas at work or even at church. And there’s a moment, where I feel honored to be asked but for me, it is immediately followed by my own doubts. I look at my own inadequacies and wonder “why on earth would someone choose me to do this?” I’ve learned that fear has crippled me in many areas of my life and I’ve been committed to recognizing this as I don’t want to allow fear to keep me from fulfilling the will of God. What I love about this scripture, is God has already laid out the path for Joshua’s success and it’s simple —staying in His presence. I think often times we focus on what’s in our hand too much that it keeps us from taking a step toward that thing but as this story unfolds we see that Joshua’s own inadequacies made him the perfect candidate to be used for God’s glory. It was made known that this role that he would take hold of would not be successful in his own will but that He would have to lean on the Lord for victory.

So if I can offer some encouragement for those of you who may be stepping into a new season of leadership, I would give you three key points from this scripture.

1. Don’t under estimate your planting season

  • I love how God orchestrates every little detail on our behalf. I believe that as Joshua was sitting under Moses leadership, he was being prepared to lead whether he knew it or not.
  • He was able to get some of those leadership skills down in his heart so that even if he felt unequipped to carry the torch, he had a good example to resemble
  • I believe that during this time, God was allowing him to be influenced by Moses’ leadership style. He was given a front row seat to leading during difficult times but little did Joshua know what was ahead for him and that he would be the one chosen to the lead them to the promised land.

2. Promotion can come from a dead situation

  • In this story, it was a physical death as Joshua was asked to lead after Moses death but i think for us, it could be a reminder that God can promote us even when we have laid down a dead dream even if we have laid down those skills that seem to go unnoticed, God honors faithfulness and can bring promotion out of any situation
  • I imagine that Joshua was terrified to lead the Israelites. Not only because he had to follow Moses as a leader  but he likely didn’t see himself as a leader. He had big shoes to fill yet he didn’t know that he purposed to fill them
  • So more than likely Joshua’s enemy was his own fear so the Lord instructed him to be strong and courageous over and over again to get it to sink into his heart until Joshua believed it for himself.
  • I think that what God was trying to tell Joshua and us today is that if we would just stay in His presence,  He will make us strong, courageous and equipped to lead through whatever task is given to us.

3. Let the Word of God be the soundtrack of your life

  • Keep this book of the law on your lips so in the moments, where fear tries to creep in, when our own thoughts of what we lack are louder, we can speak out loud the affirmations that God has given to us. This was a reminder that Joshua would have to speak life into the deadness that he saw in himself —his own inadequacies and view of what he lacked
  • It is still important today that we keep the Word of God on our hearts and listen and obey to this Word above everything else. This scripture promises that then we will be prosperous and successful

The truth is, we all have big shoes to fill. We were all put here on this earth to help change it for the better. God has placed a big calling on each and everyone of our lives and for many of us we may feel unequipped to bring it to pass. But in those moments of feeling inadequate, I believe God wants us to remember that He is with us every step of the way. He desires for us to seek His presence, obey His word and watch Him lead the way

I recognize that at times when we hear a scripture about obeying God’s Word and then being successful, it is easy to think that it means that success will happen immediately or when we want it to happen. But the truth is often times, it takes time for things to come to pass — it takes consistent obedience. Even in the book of Joshua, he had the recipe for success from the very beginning but he had to go through some battles along the way.

It takes pushing past our fears and insecurities which can be uncomfortable. It means not giving up when things get hard but it also means means that even through the uncomfortable and hard times that God is with us along the way. We just have to do our parts to stay in His presence and live a life of obedience.  And unlike Joshua, each of us, as Believers, have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us. And I believe that the Holy Spirit doesn’t move us to a place of comfort but that his Holy Spirit will comfort us as He moves us to step into a new season

*This devotional is an excerpt from a speech I did in a leadership class. I pray that it blesses you. 

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For Such a Time As This

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A few weeks ago, I studied the book of Esther. As inspiring as it was, I haven’t been able to articulate my thoughts around this story until now (I hope). I have spent the last few weeks not being able to get this one line out of my brain and provide context to it.

Esther was a beautiful, young Jewish woman who was made Queen of Persia at a time where the Jews were being exiled. However Esther kept her nationality a secret in order to save her life.

Haman, the most powerful officer, became angry at Esther’s uncle, Mordecai  because he refused to show him respect. It wasn’t enough to just try to hurt Mordecai, Haman was going to destroy all of the Jews.

When Mordecai heard of this news, he tore his clothes and wore burlap which was a sign of mourning during these times. Esther sent him new clothes but he refused so she ordered her attendant to see what was going on. Mordecai asked her to talk to the king and help fix the situation but Esther was nervous to do so as she didn’t want to expose herself and die. But it was in her uncle’s response which really hit home for me and has stayed on my mind:

“Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed.  If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this“-Esther 4:13-14.

Who knows if you were made for such a time as this…… is the question that has played over and over in my head.

What I love about this response is the fact of how relevant it is today. So many people are angry of the times we are in. There’s so much outrage about our new leadership and various causes/initiatives but there’s still so many remaining quiet. So many who have been content in their positions. There are so many people called towards helping in the fight against human trafficking, poverty, financial literacy and the list goes and on and on….but they are quiet.

Could it be that if we encouraged those, who perhaps were made for a time like this, to rise to the occasion that they could help bring about solutions to these problems? Or could it be that if we stood up for those causes that we could actually help make a difference? Or maybe it could be that if we supported our rising leaders that we could have strong, confident candidates one day?

Could it be?

I don’t know what  cause or leadership role, you’ve been called towards but I do know that people are waiting for you to stop worrying about what standing up would mean to you and began to think about what not standing up will mean to others.

I encourage you to rest in this verse this week. Truly take it to the feet of Jesus. You may need to be like Esther and have some believers praying and fasting on your behalf. But it is my desire for people to walk in their purpose and truly live the lives they are called towards. Could it be that you have been made for such a time as this?

God Bless the U.S.A.

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As we gear up for Election Day, I think it is important to pray for our nation. For the last few weeks, we’ve take a moment to do this in church but it is so important to do this at home as well. The person who is to be President will be, but all we can do is vote and pray. Regardless of your political views, it is important to be prayerful and confident in knowing that whomever it is, will be a part of God’s plan. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the results, it matters that we pray that the leader of our country can receive the covering of us Christians praying for him/her.

I always struggle with election years because the differences in opinions tend to bring out the worst in people and ultimately produce a divide because of it. Political topics run all through social media and memes are created as soon as a debate ends. People are arguing throughout status updates and there are commercials every few minutes attacking opponents. It just gets ugly and very dark during these times. But it doesn’t change the importance of our responsibility to vote. If you have the opportunity to vote, devote the time to do so. It is our civic duty to make our voice heard especially in such a controversial election.

How does God feel when his children can’t come together because of their differences in views?  Everyone says it is “socially unacceptable” to talk about politics and religion but why? I don’t understand how adults can’t disagree and still remain respectful. You don’t have to like my views on certain topics but I pray that you are comfortable to address your views while still respecting mine.

The greatest commandment is for us to love the Lord our God and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:29-31). My hope is that we can remember these commandments as we power through these next few weeks. It is all about a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You can have strong opinions but don’t tear each other down to try to convince others. You can speak your truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

I encourage you to pray for our nation and the leaders. Let’s not put all of our focus on who the leader should be because God will work it out. But let’s take a moment to pray for the strength and wisdom of our next leader. May God cover and protect him/her during such a pivotal time in our nation. God bless the U.S.A.