I’m wrapping up my main thoughts on the IF Gathering 2015 that I attended in my friend’s living room last weekend. I’m doing my best to line it up with a couple of other things God has laid on my heart recently – things like my Word for this year – Simple.
At the close of IF 2015 we were asked to write out a word, a phrase, a verse – whatever God was speaking into our hearts that day. We were to write on a rock. This would help us mark the day, mark what we had learned, mark our next steps on the journey into the promised land.
One of the speakers, Christine Caine, said something I’ll never forget. This sentence confirms that the promised land we seek isn’t about us, it isn’t about “arriving”, it isn’t about ease and comfort for the rest of our days, and it will never be without its battles to fight. Now I get it, now I know why… she said these words…
The promised land is souls.
Whatever the scenery in your promised land looks like, whatever avenues and atmospheres and places and faces you see when you look at the land around you – it’s the souls that God wants us to get to, they are the destination He has for us.
For me, Reaching the north means sharing the gospel with the people there – by meeting their physical and spiritual needs. Writing and speaking and teaching are just more avenues I can use to let people know of God’s unconditional love for them and discipling them for Christ. Mission and service were so important to Jesus, and He never missed an opportunity to tell about the Father as He was helping others in need. I can follow His lead in that area of ministry. Volunteering at schools and camps and Sunday school classes means I can Let the little children come to [Jesus] and just love whoever crosses my path that day.
These are the things God has put in front of me at this season in my life.
I finally recognize them, I can see them for what they are, I can understand their importance as I look at them through God’s eyes. They are the promised land.
Last Saturday afternoon I held a blank rock in one hand and a Sharpie in the other. In my heart I stood on the edge of the promised land, looking down at my chains, knowing that on my own I would never be enough to fight the battles necessary to enter into the promised land before me. But God was only asking one thing of me. It was very simple. The word I needed to write on my rock was extremely simple.
There were a couple of other words in the background, each one coming to me with less intensity, like there was an heirarchy to them:
Faith & Trust
I was going to need all of them as I moved into the promised land.
**Pause… I had to go grab a card we were given a couple of years ago… I’ve kept it displayed in prominent places in our house for a long time, knowing these words are part of something bigger that God would show me in His time.**
Do not GO where the path may lead; GO instead where there is no path and leave a trail
GOing is often harder when there is no one to follow, when you have to be the leader, the only one, just you and God out there, GOing. It can be very scary and very lonely, but it is what God keeps bringing us to time and time again.
**It is much easier to GO if “I know who GOes before me” (God of Angel Armies).**
My Joshua and I are to lead others into the promised land as we take the steps God is laying before us. We can gain much encouragement from Joshua in the Bible – he seems to have lived through many of the things My Joshua and I are experiencing.
Many of the things we may GO and do may be new ideas for many (including ourselves!), and there may be a ton of unfamiliar territory. As I look at the other words on the rock I can see the navigational tools that will be needed for the journey:
OBEY – I might not understand what God is doing, but I just have to take whatever step He lays out next for me. I will see Him move as I obey Him. There is no time for disobedience.
Faith – The greatest leap of faith for me will be believing God can use ME to accomplish His purposes. I have never doubted His ability to get His will done, but I have almost always doubted that He can use ME to do it. I need to remember that it is not confidence in myself that is required, but confidence in God. My doubts may never be erased, but God will overcome them every single time. Greater is my faith than my fear.
Trust – If I lose sight of the vision, God will return it to me. If I don’t see movement, when no one is following, when the battles seem enormous – just keep walking, one step at a time, leaving the results with God and the responses with me. One of the speakers said something I particularly loved – something along the lines of trusting God more than a marketing plan. I love this because marketing is NOT my strong suit!
So I’ve come full circle these last few days of processing the IF Gathering 2015, and I’ll end with the first verse I shared from IF a few days ago:
My Joshua’s life verse – Joshua 1:9 –
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you GO.
At My Joshua’s Wheaton graduation ceremony in 2012 they read this verse, and as we’ve moved further and further into Reaching the North we’ve seen this verse crop up time and time again, and now I think this is such a fitting verse to end with considering the Word On My Rock!
I think it is time for me to loose the chains and keep up with God and My Joshua.
This verse is such a wonderful reminder that as I step into the promised land before me today, I don’t have to be afraid or discouraged. I can be strong and courageous. I just need to follow God’s leading and obey His commands, reassured by the fact that He is always with me. And I have my own personal Joshua as a constant physical reminder of this truth!
THANK YOU for taking the time to read through the posts this week as I sought to process what God was showing me at the IF Gathering 2015!
I’ll keep you updated on where all this goes and how it plays out in the coming months.
Peace and blessings!!