We are certainly living in uncertain times, and uncertain times tend to produce certain predictable fears. The fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, the fear of abandonment. Let me ask you, would you like to know how to face your future with confidence in these uncertain times?
If so, stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. And in just a minute, he'll kick off our series, Facing the Future with Confidence. In the coming programs, Chip's going to break down how we can push back against uncertainty, confusion and doubt in our lives with the assurance that comes with trusting in God. So I hope you'll join us for every message as we learn how to put this truth into practice. And because of how relevant these struggles are to all of us, let me encourage you to invite a few friends to listen to this series with you, either through the Chip Ingram app or by going to livingontheedge.org.
Well, if you have a Bible, turn now to Joshua, Chapter 1, for Chip's message, How to Face the Future in Times of Uncertainty. Number of years ago, my wife had routine tests like women have, and the bad part was we got a call back. And the call said, I really see something that looks serious, and I need to run another test. And so we went in on a Thursday, as best I can remember, and he said, we'll run the test and we'll have results on Monday. And I have four children.
At that time, they were all living in our home, and two or three of them were pretty young. And men, I know that you know what this is like, and women, many of you in this room have experienced this, but I went through a time of the most powerful uncertainty I've ever experienced. And I went with her, and we ran the tests, and then I had Thursday, and then I had Friday, then I had Saturday, then I had Sunday, and then most of Monday before I heard the results.
And I don't know about you, but when you think there's something wrong with your wife and it could be serious, and if that biopsy comes back different, and if it's a cancer that grows very quickly, you could lose your wife. What I found was, one, I was afraid. I was really afraid, first of the unknown. Then I was afraid that somehow I would fail, or God would fail me, or something would happen and we wouldn't make it through this, or I would fail my children.
And then third, I guess most selfishly is, because I love my wife, I had the fear of abandonment. What will happen if we get some bad news on Monday and we spend the next six months or a year, and at the end of that I find myself doing a funeral for my wife, and having four kids and saying, how in the world do I go on? And I fasted and I prayed and I sought God, and at the time I was studying for the ministry and I realized I was telling a lot of people about how Jesus was strong and his word was true, and you know a lot of those things that are really, really important and that I believed. And God said, Chip, I got a little test for you. I'd like you to step up to the plate and I'd like to walk you through a little personal private tutoring by me and God the Holy Spirit. And I want to take those truths that you have in your head and I'd like to make a little journey into your heart. When we get to Monday, regardless of the test results, I want you to walk into those tests knowing, number one, you don't have to be afraid of the unknown. Number two, you will not and cannot fail, because I'll give you whatever you need.
And number three, you'll never be abandoned, whether you have Teresa or not, because I will never leave you or forsake you. And we're living in a world right now, as you look at the front of this handout, as you just scan that, some of those things can make you afraid. And unless you go into total denial, we live in the most uncertain days I've ever seen in my life. And left to ourselves, we can be very afraid.
But here's what I want to suggest. Those responses that you have there, the fear of the unknown that we all experience, the fear of failure, and just the flat out fear that we'll be abandoned somehow by family members or we're going to lose people, I want you to know that this could be the greatest, most strategic opportunity for the body of Christ in decades. How we respond as a church, how everyday believers like you and me in your home and your neighborhoods and at work, how you respond to that list of things and the attitude you have could be the most fundamental strategic thing that the body of Christ ever gets a chance to ever respond to in your lifetime. God placed you where you live in your neighborhood, where you work with your kids, with your background at this time in history, and he's got a plan for you. Sure, he's got a plan for the world, he's got a plan for countries, but he's got a plan for you. And I'd like to spend the next several minutes walking through God's Word to teach you what he wanted to teach someone else who was in a time of uncertainty so that two or three or four months from now, you literally will have a fellow student or a coworker or someone in your neighborhood walk up to you and say, could we have a cup of coffee or grab a Coke? Because I don't know about you, but I'm reading the papers and I'm watching CNN and I heard this thing on Fox and I'm scared to death and I've got anxiety and I've got knots in my stomach and you are so calm.
Would you tell me what in the world you have? And you will have an opportunity because of the grace of God working in you to introduce them to the God of peace. But you can't do that if you're as afraid as everybody else.
And you can't do that if under the guise of, oh, I go to church and I love God and I read the Bible a bit, if you live like everybody else. And the temptation is to think that, you know, in these desperate days it's never been worse and this is terrible. I got news for you.
Uncertain times aren't new. So turn, if you will, Joshua chapter one. I've put some notes in there and let's literally roll up our sleeves and let's study the text. There is a man who went through a very uncertain time and God taught him something and what he taught him he wants to teach you. And after we hear how God taught Joshua how to deal with his uncertain times, I want to move and principle-ize it because what we're going to learn is the very thing God taught Joshua was the very thing that Jesus taught his disciples.
And what are you? You're a disciple, aren't you? So Jesus wants to teach you and he wants to teach me how to respond in these uncertain times in such a way that not only we experience his peace and his love and his joy, not your head in the sand, not in denial and not pie in the sky religiosity.
I mean authentically in your gut and in your heart to such a degree that those outside of Christ would say, man I don't know what you have but I'd like to get a taste of it. Uncertain times aren't new. Listen to this situation. Now it came to about verse one that the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying, Moses my servant is dead. He talks about the past. All these millions of people look to Moses. Moses went out in the tent of meeting.
The cloud came down. When Moses was here, if you had a problem, ask Moses. Moses will get the answer. When the cloud would move or the fire would move, we all packed our tents and we went with him.
The paradigm has shifted. Moses is gone. The leader is gone. The cloud is gone. The man is going to be gone.
No water out of the rock. All the miracles, that's past. There's a new paradigm. And Joshua, you're the man. It's a new world. I'm going to expect new things out of you, Joshua.
Life has never been like this before. And so after he talks about the past, notice the present. Now, therefore, arise, cross this Jordan, you and all these people. And before we get into our little Bible story mentality, let's think of a real man in real life who watched Moses, who saw his face glow, who remembers when he would put the veil over it and remembered all those miracles and Moses is gone. And now God says, now you take all these people that have not been an easy group to lead and you cross the Jordan. Now here's the promise. Notice the future, which I am giving to them, the sons of Israel.
Hey, you remember the promises? I'm the God of history. I'm sovereign. I'm good. I'm powerful. Remember Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. I made promises to him.
Moses picked up the baton. Now it's your turn. I'm going to fulfill my purposes for these people and I'm going to use you. Can you imagine how inadequate he felt? I mean, you had to be kidding me. Oh, Lord, I don't have what it takes.
There's no way I can make it. What do you do when it gets so uncertain you're not sure? Listen to the words of assurance and don't listen to them just like God speaking to Joshua, though that's the context. But listen to how a God who cares for a regular person like you wants to literally put his arm around you the way he did Joshua and he gives him words of assurance. And notice the words of insurance have three specific promises. He says, every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you.
Just as I spoke to Moses from the wilderness and from Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, as far as the great sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. Joshua's scared to death. There's uncertainty. He doesn't know what's going to happen. What's God say?
What's he say? Your future is secure. Your future is a done deal. I said it to Moses.
I will fulfill it all the same parameters. Hey, Joshua, you may be afraid, but I'm the God of the universe and I created all this and I'm telling you that it's a done deal. We're going to find in a minute that's the very thing that Jesus would say to his disciples and it was the source of their security. He gives them a promise about the future. Notice the next line.
No man will be able to stand you or before you all the days of your life. What's that promise? One is promised about his fear of the unknown. Now he's addressing the fear of failure. Hey, look, Joshua, you're bulletproof. Trust me.
Step out. Don't worry about the economy. Don't worry about the war.
Do you need to be prudent and make wise plans? I'm with you. The same power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you as a believer. Nothing will come your way in the next 30, 60 or 90 days that the Spirit of God using the word of God and the body of Christ will give you everything you need to be victorious.
I'm with you. You're bulletproof. That's what he says to Joshua. That's what Jesus would say to his disciples. And then notice the final word of assurance. No man will be able to stand before you.
That's great. But just as I've been with Moses, I will be with you. You don't have to fear being abandoned. I will not fail you or forsake you. Circle the word forsake you in your notes, will you? And under it, write the word drop you.
The literal Hebrew word, it's like God taking Joshua or God taking you like a carton of eggs and walking down and there's all these stones and you're afraid he's going to trip. He says, I won't drop you. I know about your 401k and where it's not and where it isn't. I know your fears about the future. I know what you're thinking about the economy. I understand where the relationships are. I won't drop you. I'm for you.
I love you. Did you notice how God spoke to this man during uncertain times to address his fear of the unknown, his fear of failure and then that final fear that scares all of us. So what about you?
Before we talk about Joshua, let's stop just a second. What are you most afraid of? If I ask you to turn to the front page and you looked at that list and you could even add to the list and you could add, you know, the fear of being single the rest of your life or the fear that your marriage is not going to get any better or the fear that one of your kids that is wayward will never come back or the fear of a health issue that you just don't think is ever going to, what, what's your greatest fear?
If I, if I took out, you know, one of those little pens and I had a whiteboard and you could walk over to the whiteboard and write down your top two fears, what would you write on the whiteboard? I want you to get that clear in your mind. We are not about an academic exercise where we're here to learn how God spoke to Joshua. We're here to learn how God spoke to Joshua because he wants to speak to you. The Spirit of God wants to take the Word of God to give you hope and encouragement so that you literally will live differently, not by your power but by his grace.
Have I given you enough time? What are you most afraid about? Because now let's go to the text and find out how God specifically helps him work through his fears.
He gives him a call to confidence in verses 6 through 9. It's one thing to get these words of assurance, you know. Hey, hang in there. It's going to be okay. I'm going to be with you. Don't worry about it. I'm for you. I'll be with you. But the $64 question in my life and the one in your life I think is, like how does this work? I don't know about you. I'm going to get up very early and I've got to go to work on Monday morning. But I need to figure out how to live a life that's characterized by the peace of God and the power of God and the assurance that Christ is real.
And that's not kind of theoretical. That's right here in the text. Verses 6 through 9 tells you how to do it.
Notice as you scan it very quickly, there's a phrase that's repeated. Be strong and courageous, verse 6. Be strong and courageous, verse 8. Be strong and courageous, verse 9.
That's going to be our responsibility. He's going to teach us how to be strong and courageous. Be strong and courageous, verse 6. Why? For you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give to them.
You're afraid of the unknown. I want you to know the future is secure. You be strong. You be courageous and I'll take you through. Verse 7. Only be strong and courageous. In case you didn't hear me, let me repeat that. Be careful or literally observe, look into carefully to do according to all the law or all the Torah which Moses my servant commanded you. Don't turn to it from the right or to the left.
Why? So that you may have success wherever you go. Circle that little word success lest we kind of get the idea that he's promising Joshua he'll never have a problem in his life. The Hebrew word for success means to be prudent and to seek God and thus be successful in following his intent and guidance for you. Success doesn't mean you're scripturally here that you're never going to have a bad day, that you're going to be healthy, that you're going to be wealthy and you're going to have you know a nice house and a condo in LA. Success means you will discern. Be strong and courageous. Be careful to look into the scriptures. Listen carefully to the truth Moses gave you so you do it on a day by day practical basis and as you do you will learn what the scripture calls as wisdom and you will live in such a way that you will fulfill God's purposes for your life. That's the promise. Now notice he goes on because the question is in my mind where do you get the strength?
I mean we've all met people who have it right? Where do you get the strength? Where do you get the courage to live out this radical different kind of life when everyone else is shaking in their boots? Look at verse 8. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night.
Why? So that you can be a very smart Christian? No. So you can impress people with how many verses you have memorized? No. So we can put a little star on the refrigerator for all your kids that say this is how many verses they know and they've been in Sunday school X weeks?
No. This book of the law shall not come out of your mouth. You should meditate, ruminate on it, have a world view that looks at the economy, your family, your health, your possessions and your time in such a way that you look at it biblically through God's perspective so that you may, what's the text say? What's it say? So that you may do, so you may obey, so you may act as a follower or believer of Yahweh so that you can live the kind of life that reflects Him. The scripture will inform you, you take in the truth in such a way that you can obey and then notice the promise for then, does it say God will make your way prosperous?
What's it say? Then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success. The word for prosperous here is to be prudent, to seek God in following His intent for your life. It has the idea of power or ability to live God's way. And then notice if we haven't got it yet, verse nine, have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Now before we go on, let me just do a quick little definition of work. It's pretty obvious that again, there's a promise about failure, there's a promise of God's presence and there's a promise that we're not going to be abandoned. And whatever it revolves around in the midst of a fallen world, you be strong, I be strong here in a revolutionary way. Now let me ask you, what do you think it means to be strong?
I mean we've said those words, they got to be really important. You know one of the best Bible study tools? Ready for this?
I'm going to just let you in on this. Webster's Dictionary. The word strong means the state or quality of being strong, force, power, or vigor. It's the power to resist strain, stress. It means being tough, it means being durable.
It's the power to resist attack, impregnability. God says what I want from you is I want you to be strong. What's strong mean? It means you don't cave in like everyone else, you don't give in like everyone else, you don't read the news and run scared. It doesn't mean you pull in your tent stakes and say, oh I'm going to protect my money, I'm going to protect my time, I'm going to make sure my family's okay.
It means that you're strong, you don't give up, you don't give in, and you say God in the midst of unbelievable resistance and pressure and stress and fear, I will choose to do what's right. That's what it means to be strong. I got two young men that spent a lot of years in my house, they're twin boys and they're my sons. And over the years they both ended up lifting weights. And so there's a little rivalry there and you know how I know which one is the strongest and they make sure the other one knows who's the strongest? It's real easy, isn't it?
You get a bench press out and one of them lays down at this one and one lays down at this one and you put on 250 pounds and then 260 and then 270, 280 and 300 and whoever can overcome the resistance of gravity to push off the weight is the strongest one. And that's a good picture of what it means to be strong. You live in a fallen world where the media and the world is telling you look after you. You're living in a world that says when it gets hard, give up, find a new partner. You're living in a world where everyone at the high school says you know what the heck, you're not really going to do that way, that's religious stuff. And God says you be strong, you endure, you walk with me.
When you feel like it, sure, but when you don't feel like it, absolutely. And by the way not only do you need to be strong, but it's one thing to be strong and know the right thing to do. He says be courageous. The word courageous, ready for definition? Very simply, it's the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult or painful instead of withdrawing from it.
It's the quality of being fearless, brave, one having valor. You know what God's looking for right now in this turbulent world is not a bunch of Christians who go, oh, oh, oh, what's going to happen? What's going to happen? What's going to happen? I better make sure all my money's in a safe place.
I better make sure all my family's in a safe place. I'm not going to travel. I'm not going to do this. I'm not going to do that. He's looking for a group of people who understand he's sovereign, he's good, he's powerful, he has a purpose for your life, in your life, in my life, and we're going to be difference makers, and we're going to change the world, and we're going to be salt that does something to flavor how people think, and we're going to be light that exposes fear and anxiety, and we're going to not do it on our own, but by the power of his word, empowered by his spirit as we live in an authentic community together, we are different, and it's not easy, and that's why God spoke to Joshua like this.
Joshua was scared to death. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, How to Face the Future in Times of Uncertainty, which is from our series, Facing the Future with Confidence. Chip will be back with us in studio shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. In this age of information, it often feels like the more we know, the more anxious we become. So where can we find stability in these uncertain times? What can we put our trust in? Through this six-part study, Chip explains why God is our dependable rock and refuge, no matter the storms that come our way.
Discover how that certainty can motivate us to tackle our most challenging circumstances and propel us to a more joy-filled life, and to help you better understand what that looks like. We have a really special offer I want to tell you about. During this series, we want to give every listener a copy of Chip's well-known book, I Choose Peace, at no cost. This tool will encourage you to lean on God through the highs and lows of life. To get your free copy of I Choose Peace, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org, or text PEACE to 74141. That's the word PEACE, to 74141.
This is a limited-time offer, one book per customer, while supplies last. Well Chip's back with me in studio, and Chip, in a nutshell, you know we're living in very anxious times. There's economic and political turmoil, immorality and uneasiness about where this world is headed, and that has everyone on edge.
So would you take a minute and talk about this series, because it's the encouragement we all need right now. Well Dave, you're absolutely right. I mean, we are living in, at least in my lifetime, unprecedented sense of anxiety and fear, and what about the future. And you know what I have to remember is that this isn't new. There's always been seasons of time in world history, church history, biblical history, where things were confusing and fearful, and what about the future. And the scriptures are so clear, an all-knowing, all-powerful, sovereign good God is going to protect and guide his people, and he's going to use them.
But that happens when we learn how to face the future with faith and hope and calm and confidence. I cannot wait for the Living on the Edge family to hear this series. I agree Chip. I think our listeners will be really blessed by what you'll share in the coming programs. And to help you get the most out of Chip's teaching, download his message notes. They include his outline, the scripture he references, and some key fill-ins to help you remember what you hear.
Get them by going to the broadcasts tab at Living on the Edge dot org, app listeners tap fill-in notes. We'll hear again as Chip to share a few final thoughts from this message. As we close today's program, I just want to remind you that the most common commandment in all of scripture, it comes through Jesus to his disciples, it comes through angels to leaders, it's don't be afraid. And the reason that's the most common is because we all struggle with fear. So as you were listening today and you were thinking about what you're afraid of, and it could be a personal relational issue, it could be a financial issue, it could be a health issue, it could be, you know, maybe you just glance at the paper and you're looking at what's happening all around the world, or it could be deep concerns you have for our country and elections and what they mean or what they don't mean.
But here's what I want to remind you. God says to Joshua, and he says to you, and he says to me, don't be afraid. But then he says, be strong and courageous.
That's your role. You can feel afraid, but you can't allow your fear to paralyze you from being strong and courageous. And courage is not being better and stronger in ways where you don't have any problems. Courage is choosing to step out and do what God shows you, confronting issues, facing issues, moving forward.
Even when your emotions are screaming, you're afraid to do that. And I think it's very instructive that God shows us where strength comes from. He said to Joshua, this book of the law, my word, don't let it depart out of your mouth. And that was a Hebraic phrase or idea to say, you need to internalize the truth in your heart. You need to meditate on it. You need to saturate your mind in it so that you respond to my promises rather than responding to all the problems that you see out there. You know, here's what I want to tell you.
I know fears are very, very common right now, but the best thing that you can do is to pull out a three by five card or write it on the back of something that you can see. And in one sentence, just write this down. What I'm most afraid about today is, and just own it, get it out of your head on a sheet of paper. And then underneath that, write Joshua one, verses eight and nine. And what I can tell you is get in God's word. The Psalmist, David, when he was running for his life would say, if your word had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
In the midst of the most difficult times, what he found was getting into the scriptures where faith gets birthed and perspective gets renewed. That's what we need to do. Can I encourage you?
Get in the Bible, soak it in, ask God for help, face your fears, meditate on the word, watch God work. As we close, I want you to know that as a staff, we ask the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is. And we'd love to hear how it's going. Would you take a minute to send us a note or give us a call?
Either one is easy. Email us at chip at livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. We'll join us next time as Chip continues his series, Facing the Future with Confidence. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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