Be Strong and Courageous

Joshua 1Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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. (Josh 1:8)

How do we find the strength and courage to face our daily work routines? Where do we find the courage to step out into a new career or a new position?
God is sufficient to replace our anxieties, inadequacies, fears, and doubts with courage and confidence.

It would be nice if God gave us 12 steps to courage, or seven habits for courageous living. However God gives something much more amazing. God gives us his promises, God gives us his Word and God gives us his presence.

God’s promises as a source of courage 
Our strength and courage rests in God. God is the supernatural power that has created this world, and acted throughout history and in your life. All power on heaven and earth belongs to God. God is unchanging and God’s power will continue to act today and tomorrow.

God’s promises are dependable, because God’s promises rest entirely on God’s unchanging character. There is nothing that God has promised or does that relies on what you do, or what anybody else does.

The Bible as a source of courage
God reveals himself to us in the Bible, so that we can grasp the length and breadth and height and depths of his love for us. God reveals to how we can live our lives in a right relationship with him so that he can provide the strength we need for today and tomorrow.

Daily hear what God has to say about you and to you through his word. Don’t be distracted by inferiority-complex podcasts from your youth, or fear-mongering messages from well-intentioned friends, or people comparing you to your predecessor.

  • There is always something new to discover in the Bible. Knowing what God says to us in the Bible requires consistent life-long:
  • Meditation on God’s Word to make God’s Word part of your normal, day-to-day reasoning and thinking;
  • Exploring with other believers how the truths of God’s Word apply to everyday life situations;
  • Making God’s word part of your everyday conversations;
  • Being able in your own words to explain how God’s Word influences your day-to-day actions and larger decisions.

God’s preparation as a source of courage
You didn’t just arrive on the scene as a random collection of atoms. God skillfully created you! God has prepared you for today, and what lies ahead tomorrow. God gave you the abilities and skills you need to courageously face your daily work routine, or to courageously step out into a new venture.

God has also prepared the hearts of the people you work with, the people you lead, and your managers. Instead of being scared of the people around you, or frustrated by the people around you, give thanks to God for how he has prepared them and brought you together.

God’s presence as a source of courage 
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Josh 1:5)

God has promised that he will be with you wherever you go. When God is with you, there is no need to be afraid or discouraged. God’s perfect love drives away all fears. With God present in your life you know that God has forgiven you and which in turn gives you the courage to forgive.

Obedience as a source of courage
“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.” (Josh 1:7)

You may know a lot about God’s promises, about the Bible, about yourself, and that God is with you. But true courage will not come until in faith you step out in obedience. Stepping out in obedience may mean dealing with sin in your life before God will give you the courage to move forward. For many of you obedience may mean faithfully doing exactly what you were doing yesterday. For some of you, obedience may mean a leap of faith into something new holding onto God’s hand.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

God knows your name

What is more important: the people you know; or that the Lord knows your name? What is more important: pleasing people; or that people know God is pleased with you?

Our lives have significance when we believe that God not only knows our name, but knows us intimately. Every task that we do has meaning for today and for eternity when we know that God is pleased with us and what we are doing.

You are known by God, and that is enough! God knows the essential reality of who you are, what is bringing you joy, and what is stressing you out. God created you and knows all there is to know about you. You are God’s special treasure.

For Moses knowing that God was pleased with him, and that God knew his name was sufficient. By faith Moses believed that God’s presence would go with him as he lead the Israelites to Canaan after they had made the golden calf (Ex 32-33).

Knowing that you are known by God, you can move away from the shrines of self-worth, of possessions, or accomplishments and step with faith onto the unseen path of God’s story.  By faith, you have the privilege of enjoying the presence of the One who loves you and enables you. When you walk by faith, you walk unencumbered by idols. When you walk by faith God is pleased with you.

Not only does God know your name but God who is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Ex 34:6) promises to be with you.

With God present in your life, as Augustine wrote, the world sees “a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks, and a hand through which Christ helps.”

Bask in the wonder that God is pleased with you and knows your name.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isa 43:1-3a)

6 Certainties for a New Year

As we make our plans for the coming year what can those of us who have placed our faith and trust in God know with certainty?

1. The Lord is the Maker of Heaven and earth. 

Our journey toward our goals takes place in God’s world. God created this world for us. God reigns supreme over this world. Nothing will happen to us this year that hasn’t first passed through the throne room of heaven.

2. The Lord enables us to pursue our goals. 

The Lord has blessed us with the abilities to make plans. The Lord has blessed us with exactly the right resources we need to carry out our plans. The Lord has surrounded us with just the right people to support us as we move forward with our plans

Give God the glory, the honor and the praise that is due him for all his blessings.

3. The Lord is with us! 

God is with us as we create our plans! God will be at our right hand every moment of every day as we carry out our plans through to the very end of our life. The perils along the path may be unknown, but our security is certain. God is not distant during our successes and failures.

As we are working on each of the tasks of our plans, we can continue to place our trust in God’s infinite wisdom and loving, protective care. We don’t have to worry about slip-sliding down “slippery slopes”, or tripping along rocky paths when we trust in God.

Believing that God never sleeps and never slumbers we can be refreshed as we rest with delight, assurance, joy and peace.

4. We do not need to be afraid! 

Fear not! Keep your eyes focused on our Lord and Savior, the maker of heaven and earth!

Sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. When “Murphy’s law” kicks in, continue to keep sight of the one who can help us. Don’t be allured by the apparent tangible help that the world has to offer, instead continue to place your trust in the eternal, invisible, only wise God who has promised to never leave us or forsake us.

By trusting in God we won’t be consumed by fears that block the potential of our lives. Know with certainty that “the Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night” (Psalm 121:5 NIV).

5. Our eternal soul will never be harmed by evil! 

The Lord is watching over us! We don’t have to be afraid of future unknown public assaults, or secret treacherous insidious attacks of enemies. The Lord is the divine companion at our right hand, who stands between us and every threat real or imaginary. This doesn’t mean that we won’t face difficulty or danger, or won’t experience physical or emotional pain. But it does mean that our souls will never be harmed by evil.

6. We have a certain hope! 

The day is coming when we will stand before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple. God who sits on the throne will shelter us with his presence. We will never again be hungry; we will never again be thirsty. The sun will not beat down on us, nor the scorching heat. For the lamb at the center of the throne will be our shepherd; he will lead us to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. (Rev 7:15-17).

As you keep your eyes focused on God may your life be enriched with love and thankfulness!