Challenge for the New Year

“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
–credited to John Shedd, 1928

As I sit in the quietness of my home and contemplate the new year before me, this quote is a challenge.  It takes me back to the Israelites in the book of Joshua.

God didn’t bring them out of Egypt to have them wander forever in the wilderness.  The time had come for the Israelites to claim the Promised Land.  Joshua had led them from the wilderness, and the first of many battles had been fought.  Now, the different tribes had to move out to conquer their home territories.

God had prepared specific places for the children of Israel.  He explained the geographical locations and landmarks.  He described the people and the cities.  The tribes’ names were on the deeds given by God, but they still had to claim the land and make it their own.   (See Joshua 13 – 17)

They had to move, risk a new setting, a new place.  They had to fight some battles.

God’s people had a choice.  They could hunker down in fear and continue in the land where they had become content, if not comfortable.  They could remain in their comfort zone or move forward with God to claim His blessing.

Once before, they had chosen fear.  When Joshua, Caleb, and the other ten men originally surveyed the Promised Land, the children of Israel were afraid to move forward.  They chose to remain in the wilderness rather than trust God for the battles ahead.

Now years later, Joshua has led them into the land.  Joshua 13:1 tells us that by this time, Joshua was ‘old and stricken in years’.  It was time for the children of Israel to step up to the plate, to become responsible to God for their own journey.

They had a choice.  Fear or Faith.

As I face this new year, I have the same choice.  God’s Word is filled with astounding promises.  He has provided for victory over sin.  My name is on the deed for Heaven.  He has promised His strength, His presence, His love, His provision, His grace, His guidance (see verses below), and these are just the tip of His amazing promises to His children.

Will I walk forward with God?  Will I claim and practice the victory He provides?  Will I choose what I perceive as comfort, or will I conquer my flesh to move into God’s place of greatest blessing?  How can I honor and follow Him this year?  What giants in my life do I need His help with?  What new boundaries do I need to cross?

God is always calling us out of comfort zones into places of blessing.  The journey is a challenge, but God walks with and ahead of us.

We may  face storms.  There will be difficulties.

I have a choice.  Fear or Faith.

You have a choice.

In the words of Moses, “Choose life”.  (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

 Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 II Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

 

I John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

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