Monday, July 3, 2017

Be Strong and Courageous!

If you ever feel weak and frightened as you look ahead to what you are facing, pick up the Bible and read Joshua chapter 1. Joshua is poised to take over the leadership following Moses' death. Talk about big shoes to fill! After 40 years of wandering, the Israelites were camped across the Jordan River from the Promised Land. Only the rushing river stood between the Israelites and the land God had promised them. You might think nothing would stop you from getting to that beautiful land that offered something more than the 40 years of manna. Or you might be paralyzed by fear of the difficult battles that lie ahead.

I am reminded of the brave and powerful soldiers who have served in battle all over the world to secure freedom for the United States of America. Those who battled for our independence as a country; those who fought for the freedom of others around the world who were being tortured, unfairly victimized and forced out of their homelands; those who risk their lives to protect the rights of children and families to worship God; and those who were drafted to fight wars that weren't supported by the public: to you I say thank you for your sacrifices, your losses and your lingering pain. I appreciate all you have done in the past, and all you do today and tomorrow to protect our nation and our freedoms.

My own fears were not on foreign lands or physical battlefields, but within my mind. For more than 30 years I failed to believe in God's purpose for my life. I was afraid of more failure, inadequacies, embarrassment, of looking foolish and stupid, and always coming up short of the goal. I was depressed and hated myself until I finally began to believe that God created me uniquely for a purpose, that He had a plan of success for me, established long before my birth.

God reminds us, just as He told Joshua, "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go," (Joshua 1:5-9 NIV).

Amen and Amen!

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