A Note from Carol: I love giving some of my dearest friends a voice during the summer on my Joy for the Journey blog. Let me introduce you to author, speaker, leadership trainer, and founder of More of Him Ministries, Jessie Seneca.
I know she has something rich and wise to share with you, and I hope you will take the time to enjoy this post and soak in her insight. I also hope you will take the time to visit her website at More of Him Ministries, order her latest book High Low Buffalo~The Power of God-Centered Perspective, or send her an encouraging e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t worry … I am still here, and I will be back writing Joy for the Journey at the end of the summer. In the meantime, I am writing a new Bible Study and preparing all sorts of wonderful ministry events for the fall. Blessings and joy!
Joshua is one of my favorite books of the Bible, and recently, while attending our yearly Lifeway trainer update, my good friend, Rachel Lovingood, opened us with a devotion from Joshua 4 and a challenge to not miss what God is doing in the middle. Weeks after our time together, I couldn’t stop thinking about her challenge, so I kept reading and studying that little phrase—in the middle—and the content around Joshua 3 and 4.
What I realized was God was trying to get my attention with how many times in the middle occurred. From experiencing God in the middle of life’s experiences, to keeping Him at the center of it all, the middle became my focus for new teaching and personal growth.
Joshua 3 has always been a cherished chapter for me, as Joshua told the Israelites in verse five “to consecrate themselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” Just as the Israelites needed to prepare themselves, so do we—spiritually, emotionally, and physically with God’s principles.
Even though the Israelites had never passed this way before (Joshua 3:4), God was going to do something miraculous with and for them. So, they needed to be prepared. The Lord told Joshua to call the priests of the 12 tribes together and prepare to take the Israelites through the Jordan, but it would only come about when the soles of the priest’s feet stepped into the water, carrying the ark of the covenant (Joshua 3:8-17). God wanted to see their faith in action.
Similarly, there are times God deals with us in the same way. He wants to know you will have the faith to make a move in the direction He is calling you.
Are you ready to take that step? Are you willing to stretch your faith with God at the center of each move?
“And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.” Joshua 3:17
In the middle!
Jesus wants to be at the center of it all—the center of our actions, our lives, and our dreams. Too many times, we miss Jesus in the middle when we are too preoccupied with what happened in the past or too obsessed with what we want to see happen in the future.
I want Jesus in the middle, don’t you?
I don’t want to miss all that God has for me in the middle.
Joshua commands each tribe to take 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan and erect a monument and public memorial of their crossing and all God did for them (Joshua 4:1-8). We observe a personal celebration by Joshua in the middle of the Jordan. “Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day” (Joshua 4:9).
We are told that everyone had passed through; with Joshua being left by himself for a personal celebration and private memorial near the ark of the covenant in the middle of the Jordan.
Do you and I celebrate Jesus privately with the same passion as Joshua?
Do you and I savor God in the middle?
Will you praise God even when there’s no audience?
Joshua even left his memorial of stones in the middle and walked out of the Jordan with just a memory imprinted on his heart from his time with God—a remembrance that God leads the way, and a continued challenge to keep Him at the center of all Joshua’s leadership and life.
We are told in Joshua 4:14 that “On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so that they revered him, just as they had revered Moses all the days of his life.” Joshua experienced God for himself. . .not just from all that transpired with his mentor, Moses. But for himself.
At this moment, Joshua acknowledges that the miraculous power of God is not a distant memory from his parents, grandparents, and forefathers, but he was seeing and experiencing the power of God with his own eyes. Just as he had heard, so had he seen (Psalm 48:8).
Obedience is up to you: the outcome is up to God.
This is exactly what Joshua did. He was obedient to leading the Israelites as God directed, even without fully knowing the outcome. Joshua trusted God in the middle and kept taking the next right step.
Are you willing to take the next right step in the middle of what you’re going through?
Even when you don’t fully understand what the outcome will look like, will you keep your eyes on God? (2 Chronicles 20:12)
Will you celebrate Him in the middle and not to be preoccupied with the future?
Used with permission from carolmcleodministries.com.