My Giants Have Fur {Lessons In Conquest}

by contributing writer Kristen Webb

Philippians 4:6-7 - do not be anxious
On October 12 our pastor spoke on Lessons in Conquest from Joshua 10-12.  (You can listen to it here or watch it here.) It so related to my life!  I have had an particular issue that I have been struggling with for 10 years.  It is a bizarre thing to struggle with and I just never seemed to find victory over it… 

Joshua had to face Giants but the giants I face have fur.  I am addicted to selling and buying horses.

I am not sure why it gives me such a rush but I love doing it.  It started because I have a very limited budget and very high expectations of what I want in a horse.   Now, looking back, I can see why I struggled so long without victory.  Basically, even though I prayed about it, I never really believed God could answer.   My prayers were more of a fierce desperate wishing followed by worry and scheming.   I still felt like it was a huge long shot that I would ever find the horse I was looking for.   Joshua acted in faith, listened to God’s voice, lived in partnership with God, and prayed with imagination. I did the complete opposite.

I was not kidding when I said this was a long road of mistakes. The first horse I bought was pretty but very stubborn so I sold him and tried to get another horse that was closer to my wishlist.  But each horse I would get, after a little while, I would think that if I sold them I could trade up for something better. I did this in a frenzied fashion. I would look on kijiji and find something that was amazing that I just had to have.  However I had to sell the horse I had first.  I would list my horse and then wait – not very patiently – for it to sell.   I would worry that the horse I had seen and wanted and really believed was the only horse for me would sell before my horse sold.  

I am ashamed to say I did this roughly 10 times in 8 years.  (My husband was really grateful that I did not treat my men like my horses!)  
I liked the rush of buying a new horse but then I would crash in depression when I would inevitably realize the horse I thought was perfect was far from it.  Part of the problem was my expectations were completely unrealistic for the amount of money I had to work with.  The expectations themselves were not based in reality but on my girlish dreams and further amplified by my perfectionist personality.  I was not very logical when I was looking at a horse and in my desperate desire to finally find one that worked I would overlook serious problems.

The horse I bought last year was the worst mistake of them all. She was more money than any of the others and she was only a one-year-old. She had a problem with bucking when you got on – like you were in a rodeo. I need a safe horse because I have already fallen on my head too many times and I can’t fall off again. This horse was my worst nightmare and the people I bought it from would not take it back.   In the end I had to pretty much give it away.

At this point I recognized that I had a problem. I really wanted to stop the cycle and just find a horse that was safe and that I could keep for a long time. I prayed about this and for the first time I really gave it to God and stopped worrying and stressing about it. God did not have much to work with because I had no money left for my next horse as I had lost it all on the nightmare.  God, being all powerful and all knowing, was not stressed by my request for a horse.  In fact I think He was very relieved that I was finally giving it to Him.  He started working on pulling the strings to bring me the right horse for me despite of myself.  

There was a horse that I was boarding for someone who wanted their horse to be shipped out to her in BC at the end of summer.  She was an older white mare and did not catch my attention because I’m usually drawn to the flashy, crazy horses.   The owner decided that she was too old to ship such a long distance and decided to give her away to someone here.   She asked me to try her out and then put an ad on kijijito  find her a new home.   I tried her out and she was seriously the best horse I had ever ridden!  To think she had been in my backyard all summer!   She was so safe and obedient that I could ride her with my daughter (who has Downs Syndrome) as well.  I was enjoying riding when I was on her and it was peaceful and soothing.
I had some reservations however because she was older and not the prettiest horse I have ever seen and usually buying young and pretty is high on my priority list.   But I asked God what He wanted me to do.  He impressed upon me that safety and having a horse I can trust were the most important things.   It was vain of me to only want good-looking horses that others would admire.  Who cares if others think the horse that just bucked you off is good-looking!   This time I was trying to live in partnership with God in regards to my horse search instead of going off on my own schemes. 

Fear of getting the wrong horse again was at first overwhelming but as I wrestled with what horse to get I just keep praying and asking God to help.  I did find that He eventually gave me freedom to act without fear right around the same time I finally got a hold of the idea that God administers all the resources of the land.  Finding me a great horse was not a hard task for Him.   Even helping me accept that what I originally wanted in a horse was not the best choice was not a hard task for Him either!

So instead of living in fear and making a hasty decision I trusted God to meet my needs and bring me a safe sane horse.  It was pretty cool that He arranged for the horse that I was considering to not be available to anyone else until I made up my mind.  I did not have to make a fast decision because no one else even knew she was available for free yet!   

I rode the older white mare many times and she was excellent every time.   She did not even spook at deer or partridges flying up in her face.   I prayed that God would help me look past her age and outward appearance and He totally answered.  She put on weight and looked much better and I started to really like her one blue eye.  
God pointed out that her age is what makes her so reliable and perfect for me – I am no spring chicken either!  
By the time I decided to keep her it was a “no brainer” because God had made it very clear to me that she was the one.  I am still in awe about how He found me a free horse that was better than all the other ones I bought and sold throughout the years.  Not only was the horse free but I did not even have to pay for transportation because she was already at my farm!  The little amount I got for the nightmare horse was just enough to get the vet out to look after my new horse’s teeth and shots.     

I have had her for 3 months now and I like her more every time I ride her.  I am so thankful to God for ending my horse search and freeing me from my trading addiction.  I do sometimes feel the same old urge to upgrade and get a better horse but then I apologize to God and thank Him for the great horse I do have.  I ask Him to continue to help me be content with the horse He gave me and not be such a picky perfectionist.   

By the way, I called my new horse Eden and she is going to be part of my life for long time. 
Kristen Webb boards horses in the country with her husband and three daughters – one of whom has special needs. She has been part of the HMC congregation for almost eighteen years.   You can find her over at her own blog, My Wild Ride Through The Door Of Faith.

Joshua Week 6

book of Joshua sermon series
Joshua gives one final exhortation to the Israelites at the end of his book.  In 24:14-15 he calls the Israelites to choose ‘this day’ God or gods they will serve.  Then he takes a stand and says, “…as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” 

Reflect on the God or gods that was/were worshiped in your home growing up (ie. Jesus Christ, money, success, material possessions, status…).  What did you see in your family that helped you?  What didn’t help?  What about your household today?  What God or gods do your children, grandchildren, friends, and neighbours see you worshipping?  Do you need to make a change today to be more fully devoted to serving the Lord Jesus Christ?

Joshua Week 5

Read the summary of the allotment of land to Israel in Joshua 18:1-7.   Notice that the tribe of Judah anchors Israel’s settlement in the south while the tribes of Ephriam and Manassah (house of Joseph) will be the first to receive allotment in the north.  Both tribes are favoured.  Why?  Could it have something to do with the ancestors that bear their names (Read Genesis 37 to see Joseph and Judah in the same setting along with their brothers)? 

Have you ever been treated with favoritism or been passed over because someone else was favoured?  How does/did that affect you?  What advantages and disadvantages are there for those who are favoured?

Joshua Week 4

Joshua sermon series, discussion questions

Read Joshua 10:12-15

Notice God’s power over the sun. 

Now read about the Amorite god of the sun in this Wikipedia article (only the 2nd paragraph). 

Notice how Utu is depicted as emerging from a mountain, traveling across the earth, and then returning to a mountain hole (cave). He carries weapons, doles out justice, stands with one foot on a mountain, and he decides the fate of the dead.

Keeping the above themes/words in mind, read Joshua 10:16-28. What do you notice? What similarities are there between the Amorite kings and Utu? (Hint: caves, death, ‘one foot’…). What does this story reveal about Israel’s God when compared to one of the gods of the Amorites?

Joshua Week 3

Joshua 9 describes a Gibeonite plot to stop the Israelites from destroying them in their Promised Land conquest.  Read the text Joshua 9:1-18 What’s going on between the Gibeonites and Israel’s leaders?  Joshua sermon series, discussion questions
What were the Gibeonites thinking?  

What were Joshua and Israel’s leaders thinking?  

What were the Israelites thinking about their leader’s decisions?

Why didn’t Israel consult with God?  

Read Deuteronomy 7:1-2 and Deuteronomy 20:10-15 to shed light on the complexity of the decision-making.  Have you ever struggled to make a decision when you didn’t know all the facts?  What role does time have on making good or bad decisions?  What role does inquiring of God have on the decisions you make?


Joshua sermon series, discussion questions
In Joshua 5:2-3, God called for all Israelite men to be circumcised.  The result was that God “rolled away” the reproach of Egypt (Joshua 5:9).  In the New Testament, God “rolled away” something else.  Read Luke 24:1-3 to find out what it is.  In both texts, sacrifice precedes the lifting of the curse (or “rolling away”).  What needs to be rolled away in your life?  What might God be asking you to sacrifice? 
This question may be a little personal to share in the comments below but we’d still love to hear your thoughts regarding the Joshua series. What is God teaching you through the sermons? How is the story of Joshua making an impact on your life?

JOSHUA – Fall Sermon Series

On Sunday we begin a new sermon series, delving into the exciting pages of the book of Joshua. Then on Monday, (September 15 at 7:00 pm) for those who want to dig in farther, we are introducing an Adult Life Group that will unpack Sunday’s scripture passage a little bit more.
Joshua sermon seriesWe are hoping to offer a discussion question each week to help you get a bit deeper into the scripture and we’d love if you felt comfortable enough to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Check back each Friday during the series for a new question.
In Joshua 2:1 the spies are sent from Shittim.  Events of being in Shittim in the past would have haunted the Israelites.  Read Numbers 25:1-3.  Notice the Israelites are standing in the same place again.  Is it significant that the spies went to the home of a prostitute?  How is the outcome different in Joshua 2 than it was in Numbers 25?  
What about you? Has God ever returned you to a situation from your past? Was your outcome different the second time around? What did He teach you and how did you grow through revisiting that situation?