Notes from “Meeting the Commander in Chief”

He stood before me, blocking my view of the city we were to take. I did not know from which direction he’d come, he’d appeared so suddenly. His sword was drawn. The way he held himself spoke of power and authority. He was formidable in every aspect. His very presence might have made me doubt whether I could lead my men forward. But I did not doubt. Perhaps I was given the charge of taking this land for that reason: I’ve never doubted the success of my orders from the top…(Read more)

Joshua’s encounter with God became my springboard for writing the four Stories of the Valiant. Those three verses in Joshua are packed full of meaning. Joshua doesn’t know who the man is at first; but seeing he is armed as one who goes out to fight, Joshua confronts him. The reader can see from Joshua’s words that he’s not willing to assume anything, but isn’t going to retreat from the command he’s been given—to go in, drive out the Canaanites, and inhabit the land.

That’s faith. Faith is real and living. When it is planted, the believer must act upon it, changing his/her thinking to conform to what the believer knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is the truth.

In Joshua’s case, he wasn’t expected to understand who he was speaking to. He didn’t know that the One standing before him in the form of a military leader was his Lord. But he did know what God had told him to do and was going forward with that. That’s what God wanted of him. Joshua didn’t need all the pieces to obey. He didn’t need to know everything about God’s plan for removing the Canaanites to confront the man he thought was standing in his way.

What is so incredible to me about this verse is that God, the Creator, allowed Joshua, the creation, to approach and question His position. Who of us has any right to do that? Yet, God has always allowed each of us to ask, “Are you for or against me?” And the answer has always been far above us, for who are we to have a side to defend? And God explains over and over to His children, “I am on my side.” Joshua understood and knew that he, Joshua, was on God’s side, too!

God, the Father, sent Jesus, God the Son, into spiritual battle for our souls. It was fought in a physical way when Jesus took on the lower form of man to be tempted in all points as we are. The war hung in the balance as Jesus perished on the cross. Death was defeated when Jesus, the perfect, sinless sacrifice, could not be bound by eternal death—because He is God, deity, “the brightness of the glory of God and the express image of his person.” He rose from the grave! The sin He carried with Him to the grave could not condemn Him to spiritual death because He did not commit any sin. That was the victory. He removed the sin, the sin that would condemn us to an existence separated from the presence of the Source of all Goodness.

Joshua’s story shows what it is to seek always to be on God’s side, to give up the things that keep us from His presence, and to learn to do what pleases Him. Just like He did for Joshua, God welcomes us into His Presence to bow in worship and ask for counsel from Him to take on the life battles we face. To be allied with Jesus Christ, the King of God’s Eternal Kingdom, is to be assured of that victory and to expect the fulfillment of the promise of spending eternity in the presence of God. It is a relief and thrill to know that putting on Christ means never being on one’s own side in the battles that rage both in the heart and in the world.

And that’s what I came away with when I read about Joshua and his meeting with the Commander of the LORD’s army. Three little verses brought thoughts to mind that gave me a better glimpse of God’s love.

Blogs I Love Because of Who I Am

This is my last Monday post about the blogs I love on WordPress. (Did you catch on to my master plan there?) These last few are pretty special because they are not about what I necessarily have a knack for or what I enjoy but can’t do. They have to do with how I tick.

I’m a Wife and a Mom. Yes, those words need to be capitalized. Wife-wise, getting married was the easy part. I don’t know why weddings get all the attention. It’s that first year that needs a coordinator, lots of cake, and sincere promises and pacts. Just simple things, like how to fold the towels and if the toothpaste should be rolled from the bottom or squeezed in the middle, become issues that get all blown out of proportion. Oh, and don’t get me started on which way the toilet paper roll goes on! (He won that one, by the way.)

And then we had kids.

Aloe vera plant
Aloe vera plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was concerned about what kind of mother I would be. In my second year of married life, I tried caring for an Aloe Vera plant. I brought it home, talked sweetly to it, and named it Ernie. I was sure we were good friends, and then Ernie died two weeks later. Many plants have perished under my care since then, but I don’t remember them. They didn’t have names. It’s okay to mess up like that with a plant but not with a pet. So I don’t have pets. Maybe you can understand why I hesitated about having a child that would be dependent on me for nourishment and attention and…for everything! And then I had a baby boy and realized he would never, ever, ever let me forget him.

Wives and Moms need lots of encouragement and support. They are the oil that keeps the gears turning. They perform daily–hour by hour, minute by minute, breath by shuddering breath–the tasks that no one notices most of the time. That’s why I need Wife and Mommy blogs. They comfort me and sometimes make me laugh at myself.

Mrs. & the Misc. is a blog put together by four wives with interests in all sorts of things, like crafts, food, clothing, and, lately, fitness. It has a homey atmosphere. On Valentines Day, Mrs. Kristin Fincher posted a cute little trick for fruit kabobs, complete with pictures of her yummy shade of nail polish. These women also plug their businesses, like Mrs. Susanna Christensen’s lovemeapparel post, Drumroll please. (Isn’t her model absolutely adorable? Yes. Yes, he is.)

Last month I started following Smartter Each Day because I thought the name of the blog had a cheesy appeal. (Jessica’s last name is Smartt. Heh, heh.) Since then, a few posts have caught my attention. One last week was all about a simple budget she uses. I intend to try two tips she mentioned. First, I’m going to tally miscellaneous expenses on a weekly basis, instead of doing that monthly…or never. I’m not telling you the other suggestion I’m going to try. You’ll have to read the post. 🙂

The Cross at Grant Park
The Cross at Grant Park (Photo credit: MaryTClark)

At my core, I’m a Christian. Honestly, I find it incredibly challenging to blog my thoughts on spiritual matters. Just the name “Christian” means different things to different people. Writing a few lines in a blog post gives me little room to consider the perspective of my reader. It’s very frustrating, but I still talk about what God says and how He blesses me. I say it in the best way I know how. So, when I see bloggers communicating their beliefs in God, I admire their courage and openness. I want to read what they write.

At first, I placed Robintessier on my list of writer blogs from last Thursday, because she’s definitely a wonderful writer. Robin has frustrations in her life, and in every one of her thorns, it seems, she finds vibrant, blooming roses of wisdom. I have a sneaking suspicion she’s an optimist that just needs time to take in a trying situation to see something beautiful. One of my favorite posts of hers is My Sisters’ Feet, and What in the Name of God? got me thinking about what comes out of my mouth. I also have to mention her poem, Spam Fan I Am (Not), just because it’s a funny piece written in Seuss-style.

R16:16 is a blog for all sorts of Christian resources from the churches of Christ. There’s a post about a free, introductory issue of iLuminate, a new Ezine for Christian Teens. There are also posts for free Sunday school materials, like lessons and lapbooks. Hey, you can’t beat free.

Lastly, I’m a lurker reader of Dragonflies and Hummingbirds. Recently, Jennifer wrote about God being with her and her husband during his surgery. Her words were brimming with gratitude.

I don’t know any of these bloggers personally. I’ve just met them through their blogs on WordPress. You never know who is reading and getting something out of your message! I hope you guys have a great Monday!