Happy Thanksgiving, Ladies! We hope you take time this long holiday weekend to reflect on the many ways God has been faithful in your life in the past year. We’re looking forward to see you next Thursday, December 5, for our final week of study together in Joshua. This week we have the privilege of hearing from Andi Hines about what God has been teaching her this fall through our study.
By Andi Hines
As a young girl, I had a favorite place, a spot where I would imagine what life was going to be like. Running along the length of my grandparents’ land, a small creek twisted and turned. It seemed large then, yet I could sit on the rocks of one shore and rest my bare feet on the other. Running underneath me, the water bubbled over tiny boulders, dropping softly and occasionally stalling out in sandy eddies, where water skippers loved to dance. This little brook and its shores offered me a peaceful space that God filled. Here thoughts were not disturbed by life — His reality was strong. His presence tangible. We shared many conversations together.
Joshua’s example of quiet time is my first and favorite lesson. Part of Joshua’s responsibilities, while serving under Moses, was to stand at the door of the tent of meeting, while Moses met with the Lord. What fills the time when you are asked to stand in a sandy, barren place with nothing to do? Was it boring for him? Did he think of all the other things he could be doing? Perhaps, but also in that lack of hurry and doing, a heart can become quiet — at peace. The rush of life can take a back seat, and the mind can slow down. In those restful moments, we can engage and draw near. We can hear our precious Father speaking. Today, in that quiet space, I can find encouragement toward change and growth, the elements of preparation for the days ahead. So, my first lesson is how important it is to have quiet time with God.
The second lesson is critically important because as children of God each one of us is precious and worthy of receiving care and encouragement from those around them. In Joshua 1:9, we see the first mention of encouragement in this book. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous…” This is divine encouragement, but the question is in the past tense. If the word refers back to commands given prior to the beginning of this book, then I must go back in my reading to understand the context for Joshua.
In Deuteronomy 1:38, we read of encouragement for Joshua to be given by Moses, “But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, …” (emphasis mine). Again in Deuteronomy 3:28, “But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him…” (emphasis mine). And again, Deuteronomy 31:7, “Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous…'” And finally, as I opened this topic, remember the first paragraph of the book of Joshua, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you … Be strong and courageous…” Joshua had seen that God was with Moses, and Joshua had repeatedly been given God’s specific words of encouragement: “Be strong and very courageous.” I have remembered that command so often because life can be challenging. Maybe your life has those valleys, too? Has someone, a sister-in-Christ perhaps, encouraged you with God’s Word? Did it make a difference? It’s so important that we learn to encourage each other as God encourages us. That’s the second lesson.
And lesson three comes in realizing that, like Joshua, I need to hear God’s voice. I can add in those words or impressions He gives me privately — always using the principle that what I believe God has said to me must line up with His Word. Journaling, keeping a record of the words and truths that God speaks into my life, is my third critical lesson. Why? Because I’m forgetful. I’m a human who often forgets what God has said to her in that quiet or in times of deep need. Divine instructions, like those given to Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous…” were given to him repeatedly. Was Joshua forgetful, too? God’s words to us are important to remember because they can apply over and over again in our life. Journaling then is my third lesson because that process reminds me now, and will remind me again in the future, of what God has found necessary to bring forward in my spiritual being.
I know for sure that finding time for ourselves today is tough. Life is full, and in fact, we all could agree it’s too full. But where and when do we find our desert time with God? Do we get to have that space of quiet, where His presence encourages, strengthens and prepares? Aren’t we, just like Joshua, in need of specific divine instruction to succeed in our life and service? And isn’t God ready to meet us in that space? Aren’t we also worthy of sharing time with Him? God thinks so.
Andi Hines is a graduate of George Fox Evangelical Seminary with a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation. She has served God where she’s been called in areas of prayer, teaching, and devotional writing. She has attended UFC for about two years and counts herself blessed to be a member of the UFC women of faith! Andi’s husband is now with the Lord, but our God has provided for all her needs, each and every time, and she and her children have realized a deeper appreciation for “family.” Andi loves gardening, baking, and writing, but Bible study and rabbit trails are her favorite things.