From Wilderness to the Promised Land

Have you ever felt abandoned by God, like He picked you up and stuck you out in the wilderness? If you’ve ever received a promise from God, rest assured, you will be tested in the wilderness. God prunes you in the wilderness seasons and grows you up into someone capable of handling the next season. Before God promotes you to the next season, He takes you through a process of preparation in the wilderness. Like a good father, He is intent on growing you up because He doesn’t want His blessing to destroy you. God won’t take you where your character cannot sustain you. Will you pass the test by allowing God to do what He wants to do in you or will you be like the Israelites and wander around the desert for 40 years? Don’t let an 11 day journey turn into 40 years by going around and around the same mountain. God told the Israelites in Deut 1:6 – “You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on.” The Israelites got stuck wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years. Sounds crazy, right? Why did it take them so long? They complained...were discontent…had a slave mentality…worshipped other gods…blamed…were impatient...rebelled…disobedient…prideful…full of doubt/fear…and weren’t grateful for the daily manna given to them. Doesn’t this sound like us? We complain about our circumstances, become discontent, stay with what’s familiar even if it makes us miserable, worship or worrying about our circumstances, are impatient with God’s timing, rebel by doing things our own way, are disobedient, fall into self-pity (pride), are fearful of the unknown, at times doubt God’s Promises, and not grateful for our daily bread. God will send us into the wilderness, just like the Israelites, to humble and test us, to see what’s in our hearts (Deut 8:2). Will you still serve God when it’s hard? Will you obey Him even when you don’t understand? Will you give up whatever He asks you to give up? Will you keep on persevering? And will you keep on worshipping/praising Him even when your circumstances haven’t changed? The Israelites had wilderness mentalities that kept them stuck going around the same mountain for years. If you find yourself in the wilderness, ask God to show you any wilderness mentalities (thoughts, words, actions, attitudes) that you may have and have Him help you make the necessary changes. We can’t change on our own but we can with God’s help. RECOGNIZE what needs to change and what He’s trying to teach you, REPENT, and REPLACE by RENEWING your mind with His truth and casting down mental strongholds (2 Cor 10:4-5). He can deliver your mind from the desert and help you enjoy the journey to the promised land! If you find yourself in a difficult season (loss, sickness, hurt, testing), it doesn’t mean you’ve missed God. Everyone who follows Him will go through trying times of testing and waiting. It’s what you do in these seasons that will either keep you wandering in circles or propel you into your destiny. The greater the calling, the greater the testing and preparation. You cannot shorten the wilderness God designed for you, but you sure can lengthen it. Will you submit yourself to God and the process allowing Him to chisel/prune you? Will you allow Him to cut the things from your life that need to be cut away so that you can move forward into what He’s calling you to do? Will you wrestle with God like Habakkuk did (drawing close to Him) skin to skin, asking what He’s trying to teach you, being still before Him (Psalm 46:10), watching/listening to what He’s saying (Hab 2:1), learning from Him and growing into the person that He wants you to be? Will you wait patiently and expectantly (Psalm 37:7) for His timing, standing on His Word and being filled with HOPE (Isaiah 40:31) each day? And will you continue to praise God and worship Him through it all, knowing that God is good and will work all things out for your good as you put your trust in Him (Rom 8:28). Anytime God gives you a vision, there will be an appointed time for it (Hab 2:2-3). It won’t happen right away. Though it linger, wait for it. It will certainly come and will not delay (Hab 2:3). There is always a preparation before the promise. In the Kingdom, preparation always precedes promotion. The promise would crush you if you weren’t prepared to handle it. This is where FAITH comes to play. If we received everything we asked for when we asked for it, we wouldn’t need faith. We would be spoiled rotten and never grow up spiritually. God is more concerned with our character than He is our circumstances or our comfort. He uses these circumstances to help us grow stronger, more mature, and ultimately more like His son, Jesus Christ. Hab 2:4 says, “The righteous will live by his faith.” We are to walk by faith and not by sight – what we see in the natural (2 Cor 5:7). Heb 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” We put our faith in God, His promises, and what He has shown us, even when it looks like the exact opposite is happening. We trust that even when we can’t see anything happening, that God is working in the Spirit realm. Don’t ever doubt in the dark what God has showed you in the light. We put our trust in the One God that will never fail us. Everyone and everything may fail us but God is our rock, our refuge, our hiding place, our high tower, and stronghold in times of trouble (Psalm 18:2;Psalm 46:1). We put our roots down deep on His firm foundation so that when the wind and rain do come, we will still be standing on the solid Rock (Matt 7:24-27). God never leaves us alone in the desert. Even when we can’t see Him, feel Him, or hear Him…He is always there. He will never leave us or forsake us (Deut 31:6). Whenever we go through anything that really matters in life, we often go through it alone. God wants us turning to Him and relying on Him (our firm foundation), not in people or worldly things. Rest assured that God will bring you out to the other side as you submit to Him and the process. Continue to praise God for His goodness and faithfulness, even if your circumstances aren’t good. Let the high praises of God be in your mouth and a two-edged sword in your hands (Psalm 149:6). Whatever the enemy has meant for harm, remember that God can turn around and use for the good (Gen 50:20). Rejoice in the Lord. He will strengthen you and make your feet like the feet of a deer, enabling you to walk forward with spiritual confidence on the high places of challenge and responsibility (Hab 3:18-19). On the other side of the desert is the promised land. Don’t give up. Don’t walk away from God. Don’t give into the temptations from the enemy. Stay the course. Continue to fix your eyes on the Lord. Speak the Word of God just like Jesus did when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Praise Him while you are waiting. Trust that He will lead you out in His perfect timing. God is never late; He’s seldom early; He’s always right on time. Trust the process! As you press into Him, you will come out stronger and with a greater revelation of who God is. He is faithful and will see you through! Enjoy the journey! Your sister in Christ, Amber Cunningham

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