The Lord Your God Is With You
By Carter Conlon
I would like to share a story, and although it is very personal to me, it also applies to you. You see, certain patterns of God's dealing with humanity do not change nor are they exclusive to just one or two people. Rather, they are for the whole Body of Christ–through whom the divine purpose of God is accomplished in the earth.
It was early 1994 and I was a pastor in Canada. I had just entered my office when suddenly I felt an incredible presence of God's Holy Spirit come upon me. In that moment, it was as if everything was heightened. I started noticing things around me that I had not noticed before. I knew it was the Holy Spirit, and I knew God wanted to speak to me. I told my assistant, "Please, no phone calls, no interruptions. I am going to lock myself in my office. I feel the presence of the Lord has come on me for a reason, but I don't know why."
Sitting down at my desk, I felt the Lord say, "Go to where you are presently in the Old Testament and begin to read." At that time, I was in 1 Chronicles, chapter 28. I began to read, and at about verse 10, it was as if the words of God began to just jump off the page.
"'Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.' Then David gave his son Solomon... the plans for all that he had by the Spirit...'All this,' said David, 'the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.' And David said to his son Solomon, 'Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God–my God–will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord'" (1 Chronicles 28:10-12, 19-20).
Afterwards, the Lord told me, "Now go to the book of Joshua and read chapter one, verses one to nine." "After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, saying: 'Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them–the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses...No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you... Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go'" (Joshua 1:1-3, 5, 9).
The Lord then spoke to my heart again, "I am sending you somewhere to help further a work that another man has begun–to help him bring it to completion." I did not know exactly where I was going, but I was confident God had spoken to me. I was so convinced it was God's Holy Spirit speaking that I told my associate pastor, "Start preparing your heart to take over this church. I will be leaving soon."
On May 19, 1994, Pastor David Wilkerson called me at home in Canada, and asked if I would be willing to come to New York City the following Tuesday to speak in a service. Shortly after I arrived in New York, I remember sitting in an apartment that belonged to World Challenge at the time. I looked out the window, and again the Lord said, "Do not be afraid that what I am setting before you is something that cannot be accomplished. And do not look within yourself and conclude that there is not enough resource to do what I am asking of you. I have sent you, and that is all you need to know."
After He spoke to my heart, there was a knock at the door. It was Pastor David, and he and I went for a walk together. "The Lord has used me to start this work," he said, "but it has grown very, very quickly and I need help. That is all I can tell you. Would you be willing to pray about coming to help me?" I suddenly remembered the words God had spoken to me just months before in my office–that He was going to send me somewhere to help a man bring to completion a work that he had started.
I looked at Pastor David and asked, "Don't you think you should hear me preach first?"
"Oh, yeah. Of course." But he already knew. The Holy Spirit had spoken to his heart, and he knew that God had spoken to mine.
Over the course of the next seven years, just as the Lord said, Pastor David poured into my life the pattern for God's church as had been revealed to him–helping me understand all that the Lord had been doing and was willing to do in His house. I remember on one of the last occasions I saw him we were just sitting and talking about the future. He said words to the effect of, "I have brought the people this far. Now you will take them into the place of promise." It was exactly what the Lord had spoken to me in Joshua chapter one.
The words of God applied directly to my life, and now I want to share how they apply to yours. In Joshua chapter one, we read: "After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant" (Joshua 1:1). Interestingly, the meaning of the name of this man, Nun, is fish–making Joshua "the son of fish." This signifies to me that God's selection of whom He uses to impact another generation is not based on education or lineage. Just as the Bible says, God does not choose the wise or the noble or the naturally strong (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-27). Rather, it is the hungry heart that gets the victory. It is the person who says, "Yes, Lord, I want You. I do not want to be sold short of Your calling on my life."
Now remember that at the time Joshua was born, the people of God were slaves in Egypt. Although Joshua was the son of a slave, something in his heart said, "God, I feel called to be more than I am at present. I believe You can do something significant in my life." Joshua understood that it was only through consecration and prayer that these things could happen. The Bible tells us that he would go with Moses into the place of prayer, yet when Moses returned to the camp, Joshua stayed and prayed (see Exodus 24:13, 33:11). This serves as a reminder for us that if we live a casual Christianity, we are going to be of casual effect in our generation. To be used of God requires dedication, separation, sanctification.
When I first came to New York, Pastor David instructed me, "I want you to shut away two days every week and pray." It was hard; it took discipline and dedication, and Pastor David knew that. If you are going to amount to anything, you must learn how to pray–to press in and seek God.
CROSSING THE JORDAN
"After the death of Moses...it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun" (Joshua 1:1). You and I are here today because other generations passed the torch to us. Some had to go to jail, some were burned at the stake, and still others paid with blood. Yet they got the torch to us, and it is in our hands. You and I are now the ones to whom God is speaking.
"Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them–the children of Israel" (Joshua 1:2). The Jordan River represents the boundary between the old way of living and the new life promised in Christ. It is where we die to ourselves and rise in newness of life–choosing to live according to the will of God and believing that He will supply the power to fulfill it. The children of Israel had to pass through the Jordan before they could see Jericho come down and the land conquered. While the Promised Land was a physical place for the children of Israel, for us today, the Promised Land is Christ. It is a spiritual place of redemption and regeneration–a place where the kingdom of God begins to advance through our lives!
A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
"Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses...No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:3, 5). Rest assured, the plan of God for your life is certain. People may criticize and threaten you, but no one can stop the plan of God if you have a pure heart and want to see Christ honored in your generation. The beauty of it all is that in order to stop God's plan for your life, those who oppose you must be able to stop God Himself, for it is not you but Christ in you! The only thing that can hinder the Lord's work is unbelief or the refusal to make the choice to live for God.
"Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them" (Joshua 1:6). When you are set apart for God, it will affect those around you as well. You will have an inheritance to give. You might be the only one in your family who is a believer in Christ today, but continue to live for Him with all your heart, and watch what God will do in your home! You will bring people into victory who were not even searching for God. "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success" (Joshua 1:7-8). We are to know the Bible. We are to prayerfully read it and ask God to speak to us through it. You may not have a lot of time in the morning, but you can still pray, "Lord, establish my thinking for the day. What is a good verse for me today?" Perhaps you can read that verse five times and meditate on it all day. It is life; it is light and direction. It is God speaking to you.
Lastly, the Lord tells Joshua, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). If you are going to live for Christ, you will be opposed from without and within. Fear comes when we see the magnitude of the opposition we are facing; dismay comes when we look inside ourselves and do not see adequate strength to be able to stand. However, the error of it all is forgetting that the battle is not ours–it is the Lord's. In fact, I believe the basis of having faith to finish the journey is the simple truth at the end of verse nine: "For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Never forget that it is God who has commissioned you, and He is going to be with you until the end–until the fullness of His plan in and through your life is accomplished! Hallelujah!
This newsletter is an edited version of "THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU," a sermon given on February 4, 2018 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.