"Choosing to Believe the Good Report"
By Anne Ballard
In the month of November, God is inviting us to take risks with Him. Instead of avoiding challenges because of the fear of failure, God is teaching us to view failure as an opportunity to grow. God is giving us eyes to see with
faith, not fear.
This month, choose to listen to the promises of God over fear or intimidation. Come to God exactly as you are and give Him your weariness and discouragement in exchange for hope and strength. It's time to rise up and step
out in bold faith.
This month, exchange fear for faith, discouragement for hope, and heaviness for joy. God is with you.
Unafraid of Failure
"He helps those who are in trouble; He lifts those who
have fallen." (Psalm 145:14)
In our perfectionist culture that's obsessed with success and status and social media, the idea of failure can seem like the worst possible thing. Failure can feel like the ultimate defeat. And, if we're not
careful, the fear of failure can keep us living in a state of limitation and prevent us from ever taking risks.
Although none of us want to fail when we set out to do something, failure isn't the worst thing that can happen to us. With
failure comes learning opportunities, humility and growth—all beautiful Kingdom values. And we may label failure in one way, however, God does not label our failures the same as we do.
The Bible is full of people who "failed." Some
of them we might even label as "failures," and yet God used them. King David had an affair with a married woman and then had her husband killed to cover up his tracks. Moses killed a man and then fled for his life. Abraham was afraid of the king, so he lied
about his wife. Sarah laughed at God when He promised her a son. All of these people failed, but failure did not define their stories.
Moses, after living for years in the wilderness, tried to avoid God's call on his life. He felt small
and inadequate and was embarrassed by his speaking abilities. But God had a plan—he would send Moses' brother Aaron to speak for him. Moses' objection was overruled.
The fear of failure can paralyze us into inaction. Moses fled to
the wilderness after killing a man. He went from being the adopted son of Pharaoh to being a man on the run for his life—talk about feeling like a failure! And after forty years in the wilderness, he no longer saw himself as a powerful son of Pharaoh,
but one who had been disqualified. However, God did not see him as "disqualified."
So often we view ourselves as disqualified based on our limitations or past mistakes, but God doesn't view us this way. The fact that He has chosen us is
precisely what qualifies us for what He's calling us to do. Sometimes the fear of failure is rooted in what we believe others will think of us, or in what God will think of us. Will God be disappointed in us if we fail?
Sometimes we have
the belief that if we fail, then that means we ARE a failure—which is simply not true. God does not define us by what we do, but rather by who He created us to be. Who does He say that you are? What is He calling you to do? The answer to these questions
is far more important than the outcome of what you set out to do. The Bible is full of examples where God gives grace when we fail; can you receive the grace He has for you?
God is reminding you that He loves you for who He you are. There
is nothing you can do (or not do) that can separate you from His love, and there is no way that you can earn more love. He is breaking off the fear that has been holding you back from taking a step in the direction that He's calling you in. Lay your fears
at His feet and be filled with boldness as you take a step toward your destiny.
This word is for people who have felt paralyzed by fear of failing, and it may have even led them to inaction. There are some who have not been obedient to
what they know God said to them BECAUSE they are worried about failing. Others have discounted themselves from God using them because they have already failed (or they think they've failed).
If this is you, spend some time in God's
presence asking Him what He thinks of you. Share your fears with Him, and listen to what He says. Be renewed in His presence and bolstered when He speaks the truth to you. Hold on to that truth as you keep moving into what He's called you to.
Your Mouth Is Powerful
"...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34)
Our words are powerful, and we must wield them with wisdom. Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as he thinks in his heart,
so is he..." Those are powerful words. What thoughts are you thinking? Matthew 12:34 says, "...For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." In essence, the thoughts we think and the words we speak expose the beliefs within us.
In Numbers 13, the Israelites sent out twelve men to explore the land of Canaan that God had promised them. Why did He tell them to explore it? Could it be that He wanted them to see their inheritance and that He wanted their excited investment into pursuing
their promise? However, only two of them—Joshua and Caleb—came back with excitement and anticipation for their promise. The others completely freaked out.
They said, "We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come
from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them" (Numbers 13:33). In this verse, they revealed 1) how they saw themselves as small and insignificant as grasshoppers, and 2) that their self-image/self-worth impacted
how others saw them. In essence, because they thought of themselves as grasshoppers (in comparison to the giants), the giants saw them that way too!
What if these ten had instead taken the stance of Joshua and Caleb, realizing that God
was with them, so it mattered little how their circumstances looked? How would the giants have seen them then? What we believe, and eventually speak, is so incredibly important. It reveals our beliefs, our faith, or lack of faith.
would the Israelites' forty years of struggle have looked different if they'd entered the land with faith instead of fear? What if, instead, they had partnered with the words of Joshua and Caleb: "Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of
the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them" (Numbers 14:9).
In essence, your words can cause you to inherit your promised land now, or delay it. The
Israelites were delayed forty years because of their words of fear! God is inviting us to view our circumstances how He views them. He wants to partner with us in the promised land that He has for us. He's inviting us to renew our minds with what He's said
to us, instead of how our circumstances appear.
This word is for those who have believed the bad report (or maybe even spread it) because it was easier than being brave and standing in faith. Perhaps you have been tempted to take the easy
way out because the promise seems impossible. Maybe you abandoned the promise out of fear and are in the midst of the wilderness right now...
If you have been battling massive fear or have retreated from your promise, don't give in to
shame or self-criticism! Take no shame in your decisions of the past, but instead choose to believe God's word to you and the good report. Stand in faith, especially when your circumstances don't seem to be lining up with it. Claim the promised land as yours,
knowing that God is with you!
The Good Report
."..[Joshua and Caleb] said to the entire Israelite assembly, 'The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, He will lead
us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid
of them.'" (Numbers 14:7-9, emphasis added)
As the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, Joshua and Caleb were the only two spies out of twelve who believed God over their circumstances. Sure, the giants were intimidating, but
God had repeatedly told them that this was their land—the land He was giving them—AND that He was with them. Did that mean they wouldn't have to fight giants? No. Did that mean it would be easy? No. Did that mean that victory was not only possible,
but promised—if they focused on God's word to them? YES.
In today's world, the "bad report" that the ten spies gave can be likened to "fake news." The bad report is all around us: propaganda, half-truths, and fear-driven narratives,
with maybe a few morsels of truth sprinkled in. It's quick to throw us into fear, contains no hope, and isn't connected to the word the Lord gave us. Were there giants in the land? Yes, but what mattered more was that the Lord was with them.
How often have we lost sight of what God said to us because our circumstances felt so LOUD (and scary) in the moment? We become discouraged, derailed, or even give up. We must guard against becoming so distracted and keep our focus on God's word to us,
and His promise that we are never alone.
God is reminding us to not get caught up in the swirl of negativity, but to instead seek His face, His presence, and His peace. He is reminding us of His promises to us, and encouraging us
to focus on them instead of our circumstances. Be prepared to see Him supernaturally work things out that seem impossible!
This word is for you if you have felt overwhelmed recently, or like your are easily caught up in the swirl of current
events and the news. You may feel hopeless about the future and feel disconnected from the promises in Scripture, or the specific promises God has given to you.
When you become overwhelmed and hopeless, ask God what He has to say about that situation.
Ask Him what it looks like in that situation to partner with hope instead of fear. Ask Him to show you the good report.
Hope for the Weary
"Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because
of their discouragement and harsh labor." (Exodus 6:9)
In the beginning of the sixth chapter of Exodus, God revealed to Moses, once more, His plan to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of the Egyptians. When Moses shared this with
the Israelites, they could not hear him because of their discouragement (weariness) and enslavement. In essence, their discouragement and exhaustion actually prevented them from hearing the word of God which would set them free!
are we not even able to see that we are acting as a slave or an orphan in a situation? How often have we not been able to hear what God wants to tell us because we are discouraged? God had just shared (through Moses) that He would bring them out of slavery;
He would redeem them; He would take them as His people, and He would be their God; He would bring them into the land He promised them and they would possess it.
All in all, that's good news! But they weren't even able to hear it because
they were so downtrodden and without hope that their situation would change. It's as if God was throwing them a life preserver as they were drowning and they didn't even have the energy to grab it. God is not hopeless about any situation. He may be heartbroken
or, at times, angry, but He is never without hope. We must align with God's value and belief system—especially when we feel trapped or hopeless. He has hope, refreshing, and rest when we align ourselves with His word for us.
is speaking against discouragement and encouraging our hearts. He is reminding us of His good plan for us. He's reminding us of His promises to us. He is breathing life and hope into our circumstances—into our hearts. He is reminding us that His yoke
is easy and His burden is light.
This word is for those of you who have felt discouraged, weary, hopeless, or poor in spirit. Your circumstances have stolen your hope, and you don't have vision for the path ahead. In the past, you may
have had a high value for hope, but recently things have felt very hard.
Allow God's word to be the loudest thing you hear. Surround yourself with truth and people that are full of hope. Spend time in His presence and He will infuse His
hope back into your heart.
• I am embracing failure as an opportunity for growth.
• I am looking at the promises of God over the obstacles in front of me.
I am choosing to believe the Word of God and to not believe reports of intimidation.
• I am trading my discouragement for joy.
• God is setting me free from heaviness, and I am living with hope and purpose.
By Anne Ballard
The Crowning Jewels
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321