Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: Israelites

Rahab’s Journal: Preserve

My family and I could have easily felt out of place in this Israelite camp, but they have all been so welcoming. One family in particular has been very friendly; Jonathan and Elizabeth have taken us under their wings.

They have quite a large family, from Salmon a strapping young man in his early twenties to nine-year-old Jael.

Today, Jael took me to see the memorial stones by the Jordan. She skipped alongside me chattering non-stop. When her people (or should I say ‘my’ people now?) were camped on the other side of the great river, the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant walked down into the water first. As soon as their feet touched it, the river began to part on either side, forming great walls of water.

Jael’s words tumbled over themselves as she breathlessly told me how she’d walked on the dry river bed holding her abba’s hand, looking up at the walls of water on either side of her. She even saw fish swimming in the banked up water.

When all the people had crossed over, the priests carried the Ark of the Covenant through the river bed and up the bank. Only then did the waters rush back into place with a huge crash.

‘Water splashed everywhere!’ giggled Jael. Her eyes were glowing with the wonders she’d seen.

‘There!’ she stopped and pointed.

I looked and saw the towering pile of memorial stones, boulders really.

‘Why so many?’ I wondered aloud.

‘There are twelve, one for each of the tribes of Israel.’ Jael explained. ‘God said that when our children and grandchildren ask us why they are there, we can tell them how He parted the River Jordan so we could walk across safely on dry ground.’

I nodded. I was falling more and more in love with this amazing God who does wonders for His people. My heart leapt as I realised that I am now one of them. He preserved their lives in the Jordan River, but He preserved my life when Jericho was destroyed. I love Him. 

 

 

Freedom in Christ: Part 1

We are made to live in freedom.

I get upset when I see animals and birds in cages, whether in a home or in a zoo. They are meant to be free.

Before God began setting me free from emotional and mental baggage three years ago, it was like being squashed into a tiny space where I couldn’t breathe. But He had a far better plan for me than that; He has brought me out into a spacious place where I can stand with my arms outstretched and breathe deeply.

Jesus came to bring abundant life. The thief steals, kills and destroys anything good in our lives. Jesus doesn’t want that for any of us.

The key to freedom is identity. It’s vital to know who I am. More than thirty years ago, I was born of the Spirit (became a follower of Jesus). This meant that I had a noble birth.

It doesn’t matter that I was born to working class parents on a council estate, had an average education and didn’t go to university. Why? Because I became a daughter of the King of kings, making me a princess (in the best sense). Nothing can change my position ever. I am fully accepted by God, now and for always.

As a member of God’s royal family, I get to use the front door of the palace and sit on the family seats. I don’t have to creep in like a servant through the back door.

This is His tremendous gift to me. I could never earn His favour. It’s something He gives because He loves me.

Knowing who I am makes a difference. If I have a wrong view of myself, I think that other people see me like that.

LocustWhen the Israelites spied out the promised land, they said: ‘…we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’ They felt small and insignificant in the eyes of their enemies, leading to doubt and fear. That generation of Israelites never did make it into the promised land.

Jesus’ desire is for us to live in on-going freedom every day. He hides us in His perfection.

When God began having a good rummage in my life, chucking out the rubbish I didn’t need, and bringing me into a freedom I’d never known, it felt as though I was expanding to be the person I was always meant to be. There were unexpected changes: a sudden liking of the colour pink (I’d always despised pink in the past), and enjoying baking and knitting. I also have a freedom in worship that I never experienced before. He is growing in me compassion, resulting in inclusive friendships rather than jealousy and exclusivity.

If you are reading this, know that God is absolutely crackers about you. Ask Him to show you any areas in your life where you don’t have freedom so that He can come and break chains. Jesus wants you to be yourself.

Be content in who you are and in who God made you to be.

 

Based on my notes from a talk by Liz Holden. Used by permission.

Featured image used courtesy of stock images at freedigitalphotos.

Whole

Lord, I want to be wholehearted. I hardly ever have been in the past, it’s tough when you don’t have much confidence. You think you’ll do something and then you stop to wonder if it’s okay, whether you can, what other people will think, and so it goes on.

But I’ve been reading about Caleb. What a guy! In his eighties, he was still going for it. He was the only one – as far as I can tell – who took possession of the land You’d promised the Israelites. He was wholehearted and so ended up with the whole of his territory. You even commended him for following You wholeheartedly, and that’s what I aspire to! 

Lord, I read in Judges 1 about the other Israelite tribes. It’s a woeful repetition of ‘…and they failed to drive out….’ They weren’t determined like Caleb, so never did end up owning the whole of the land You’d promised them. What a tragedy.

I don’t have enemies of the flesh and blood variety that You want me to fight. But I have other stuff in my life that probably shouldn’t be there. Baggage is a good term for it. I still battle with fear. But I want to be like Caleb, to be someone who goes for it. Fear and lack of confidence can do one!

Lord, I want to be wholehearted for You, bring me into the whole of all that You have for me.

© 2020 Mandy Baker Johnson

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑