So Close You Can See It – Part I

Joshua 3

So Close You Can See It – Part I
We all have hopes and dreams for our lives. Things we envision for ourselves that requires a period of waiting and the hand of God to orchestrate our dreams to come to pass. I remember when I lived in an apartment complex I was directly across the street from a newly developed neighborhood. As I would leave the complex each day I would glance over and say to myself “One day I am going to be a home owner.” I recall as my season of home ownership approached I went across the street to the neighborhood and looked at the various floor plans. I fell in love with the floor plan, the Jefferson. I took the paper floor plan and wrote scriptures over it and began to pray for what my heart desired.

When I was officially ready to pursue home ownership I went back over to the neighborhood to discover they were no longer building the Jefferson. My heart was crushed and I didn’t want any of the other floor plans. All I knew is I wanted to live in this particular neighborhood because of the area of town and I wanted the Jefferson floor plan as my future home. I went to other neighborhoods to look at homes, but the three homes I looked at did not satisfy my desires. About a week later my realtor and I went back over to the neighborhood across from my apartment complex and I was going to settle for something else, however I still had a gleam of hope for the Jefferson floor plan. As I was telling the sales associate my story she said “You are in luck, a Jefferson floor plan just became available.” The home was already completed and was listed as an inventory home. We drove over to the property, I walked in the front door of the Jefferson floor plan, and immediately I knew in my spirit the Jefferson was my future home. I looked around the entire house, fell in love and initiated the contract on the purchase of my first home. Three weeks from when I put down a deposit and signed a contract I was a homeowner!

It dawned on me that the entire time I lived in the apartment complex I was looking over at my future and I didn’t even realize it. In Joshua Chapter 3 God had the Israelites camp out at the Jordan River for three days. They were so close to their breakthrough that they could actually see it. However, God had them in a period of consecration and waiting (Joshua 3:5) before presenting them with their blessing. There are a few points we can take away from the Jordan River experience as we wait on God for the desires of our heart.

WAITING IS A TIME FOR PREPARATION
Joshua 3:1 NIV

Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over.

Verse 1 tells us that the Israelites set out “early in the morning.” When we do things early we are doing them before an appointed time. When we get to work early we may do so because we want to accomplish a task sooner. When we get to an event early we do so because we may want to get a good seat. When we pay a bill early we do so to ensure the company receives a payment on time. In all scenarios early implies that we have taken into consideration what needs to be accomplished before an appointed time.

As I prepared to become a homeowner my primary focus was working on my credit and money management. I remember I had taken a class at church called “Jesus on Money.” The class taught me biblical principles on being a good steward over my finances and learning to budget. It also prompted me to begin working on my credit. I started paying off credit cards which freed up money in my budget. As I prepared for homeownership I prepared financially. What are you believing in God for and how are you preparing for it? Expectant parents prepare for the arrival of a baby by reading books, getting their home ready, and purchasing items for the baby. If you are believing in God for your career start researching jobs and companies. If you are believing in God for marriage start studying scriptures on marriage and your role as a husband or a wife. If you are believing in God for financial restoration read scriptures on finances and learn to be a better steward. These are a few examples of preparing in waiting.

As you wait, how are you camping out? Whatever you are believing in God for there are some actions you can take to prepare, however this may not always be the case. Sometimes waiting can also mean doing nothing, but “being still and knowing that He is God.” (Psalm 46:10) There are times when circumstances are beyond our control and all we can do is trust that God is sovereign and that He will do what He said He will do.

Next week we will continue this study on Joshua 3. Be blessed and be encouraged.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank you that as we delight ourselves in you that you will grant us the desires of our hearts. As we seek you daily for the desires of our heart to come to pass give us the wisdom and knowledge to know how we should prepare or if we should just be still as we trust in your sovereignty. Speak to us and give us the direction we need to successfully cross over into the promised land that you have for us. Give us the strength to be obedient to your direction as we patiently wait on you. In Jesus Name. Amen

~Written by Felicia McKnight~

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Royal Baby Watch

Psalm 127:3 NLT
Children are a gift from the LORD;
they are a reward from him.

Royal Baby Watch
For the entire month of July the globe has been on royal baby watch. At any given moment Prince William and his wife, Catherine were due to give birth to the future heir to the throne. On Monday, July 22, 2013 the world finally received the royal announcement, “It’s a BOY, born at 4:24pm!” A future king now third in line for the throne in England is here. The opinions of the general public are that some are excited about the arrival of the royal baby boy and others could care less of what’s happening in royal news.

This reflects the thoughts of some when it comes to our own children. Some of us a pregnancy announcement is an answered prayer and for some it becomes a prayer request. Some the pregnancy was right on time and for others it was unexpected and not welcomed. For some you may have days where children are a blessing and for others you may have days you wish you could press “return to sender.” Whatever the emotions are of the parent the reality is the baby is here.

Psalm 127:3 reminds us that “Children are a gift from the Lord and they are a reward from him.” Elohim, God our creator made all things in His image and in His likeness (Genesis 1:27) and every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). When we look at our children or when we wait in anticipation for the arrival of a child we should do so with joy and gratitude.

As adults we were all once little babies and babies-to-be being formed in our mother’s womb. Before we were formed in our mother’s womb God knew us (Jeremiah 1:5) and likewise God knows our children. God knows the plans he has for all of us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans for a future and of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) As parents when we receive the news of a pregnancy we have no idea the future of the embryo growing, but God does. We and our children are royalty according to Romans 8:17, so in a sense we are all on a royal baby watch. We wonder what our little person will look like, what their personality type will be, and what their future will consist of. We watch and wait for their arrival and we watch as they grow into toddlers, children, teenagers, and adults. We watch as God’s plan unfolds.

When Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge was a little girl she did not grow up as royalty. She probably never dreamed or imagined she would one day give birth to a future King. Likewise we have no idea the future of the children we birth and are raising. We may have future leaders under our roofs, future law makers, future entrepreneurs, future world changers, future ministers of the gospel, future educators, or future health professionals, and the list could go on. Only God knows what the future holds for our children.

When God announced to Mary that she would be impregnated by the Holy Spirit she had no idea what she would have to go through as a mother as she prepared to give birth to a world changer and redeemer of all of our sins. However, God knew she could handle the challenges that were coming her way as the mother of the Messiah. The reward Psalm 127:3 speaks of is God’s grace that he gives us each day to be nurturing parents to our children training them up in the way they should go and encouraging them to be all that God predestined them to be. For parents the way may not be easy, but God gives us grace and promises to give us the provisions we need to raise our little people. Those provisions may include peace, wisdom, knowledge, guidance, friends to lean on, finances, whatever you need God will provide. The next time you look at your ultrasound photo of your unborn child, stare into the eyes of your newborn, or just observe the toddler, young child, or teenager remember that you are on a royal baby watch too.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of children. For those of us that are parents we continue to lean and rely on you to give us all that we need on our personal royal baby watches. Help us to be nurturing and supporting parents and to be receptive to the blessings you have entrusted us to raise. For those individuals that desire to be parents, show them how they can be a light into a child’s life. In all cases give us the wisdom, the provision, and the strength we need to train children up in the way they should go and trusting that your perfect will is being accomplished in their lives. In Jesus name. Amen

The MBA Effect

Romans 1:16 NIV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

The MBA Effect
I recall when I obtained my Master of Business Administration (MBA) I was employed at a Higher Education University. When I would receive e-mails from various contacts I would notice after their name in the e-mail signatures letters indicating the individual’s education status: MS, MBA, PhD, just to name a few. I had my MBA yet I was hesitant to put the letters MBA behind my name. I completed my master degree as an education goal and to further my career. I did not want to be identified by a title. I remembered when I was in undergrad how offended my professors were if we neglected to refer to them as Dr. versus Mr. or Miss. I always maintained that if I furthered my education beyond a bachelor degree that I didn’t want to get the “big head” as some would say walking around identifying myself as Felicia McKnight, MBA.

One day I had an epiphany moment. I thought back to how I managed to work full time (40 hours a week) and go to graduate school full-time completing my MBA requirements in exactly two years all while being a single mother. I worked hard, I studied hard, I sacrificed and I endured difficult times to obtain my graduate degree. Why would I hide the fact that I am an MBA? Having an MBA didn’t change who I was, or did it? My MBA identified my educational status and accomplishments. It finally sunk in that I worked too hard not to tell the world I am Felicia McKnight, MBA. I eventually changed my e-mail signature and now the world knew what I had accomplished. I was no longer a woman who could get the job done with my old educational status, but I am now enhanced based on my new knowledge that I obtained in my MBA curriculum. I am now more equipped for my career.

As Christians we often hide behind our identity. We accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior yet some of us may go into the world hiding behind who we really are. We don’t want to be known as the Jesus freak, or the person that is the Holy Roller. We just want to be known as the same old person people knew around the way while we quietly serve God. The reality is when we experience salvation we are new creatures in Christ and the old has passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). The world needs our visibility.

In our foundational scripture Paul is not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). John 1:1 tells us ”In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” When we proclaim the word of God to others we are sharing the good news of who our Heavenly Father is. The word is God and it is so powerful the word can bring forth life and convict hearts to turn to follow Christ. The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Exposing others to the word of God and Christ can bring forth a powerful change. We know the joy we have all experienced through salvation. Why keep this amazing experience and unconditional love a secret? Let us not be ashamed to share the good news. We have to remember the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us on the cross. He didn’t die for us in private. His death was a public spectacle for your sins and mine. Just as I had to remember my MBA degree was earned and I should proudly display my academic accomplishments, likewise we should go out into the world boldly proclaiming who we are in Christ and the powerful word of God. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Be Encouraged.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your precious son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins and as the gateway for a relationship with you. Help us not to take for granted or discount the true meaning of our salvation. Give us the strength to be bold Christian Ambassadors as we represent you in public. In Jesus name. Amen

~Written by Felicia McKnight, MBA~