“Give Me This Mountain”

“Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken” (Joshua 14:12).  These were the words of Caleb to his old friend Joshua when the land of Canaan was being divided and distributed to the Israelites.

The Anakim (the sons of Anak) were among the “giants” of that day (remember Goliath?).  These were the same giants that the other ten Israelite spies saw and said, “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:33).

Our word of encouragement here is that when Caleb asked for the hill country of Hebron, he was 85 years old!!  That is one 85-year-old I would not want as an enemy!  Even so, notice that in his request he acknowledged the need for God’s help.

What is your mountain today?  Whatever it is, remember, God loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

In Everything By Prayer

The apostle Paul wrote:  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).  I find this to be a beautiful and hope-filled command, especially when coupled with the next verse.  It is rightly used to offer encouragement to the discouraged.  However, as a practical consideration, that “be anxious for nothing” part can be problematic.

We live in a world just full of opportunity for cultivating anxiety.  While the future in this life has never been certain, in the past it seemed more certain than it does now.  There are anxiety-causing problems in every direction.  And yet the apostle says, “Be anxious for nothing”?

Well, he doesn’t just say that!  He offers an alternative.  And that alternative is prayer.  As difficult to obey as this command is, it works!  It takes practice (lots of practice), but the alternative of prayer really does ease anxiety.  It helps greatly to remember that prayer is for you, not for God.  It is through the exercise of prayer that we learn to trust more in the God to Whom we pray.

Remember, He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates

Count it All…What?

James said:  Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).  The title of the post comes from the King James Version of this passage, which begins, “Count it all joy…”

This is not the first post I’ve written from this passage, and probably won’t be the last.  It has been, over the last twenty years, featured as much or more than any other in my preaching, teaching, writing, counseling, etc.  However, in the last five years or so, not as much.

All of us go through trials.  That is just a simple truth.  And yet I must confess that when those trials come, it’s easy to forget what James says our handling of trials should be.  And I did!

I do not know what trials lie ahead.  Those behind me tell me that as big as they may be, God is bigger!  And so I will bow before Him, not before the trial.  God loves me and He loves you and so do I.

Donnie Bates