Sunday, January 3, 2016

Strength and Courage in 2016!

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”” Joshua 1:9 NLT

Certainly the theme of Joshua's first chapter is "Be strong and courageous!" But as I read this verse it struck me as odd that we are "commanded" to be strong and courageous. I am sure I have read this verse multiple times in my lifetime but now I just recognize, for the first time, I am commanded to do so. 

So I did some research and came upon a sermon by Crawford Loritts called "Desiring God". Here is the link to the entire sermon:

Here is a quote from the sermon that drives home this verse -- "If God has called you, he is with you. Courage doesn't mean that I am not afraid. It means that I fear God more than I fear my environment. It means that I trust in divine resources more than the resources of man." 

I really need this message today. I know I have offended people through ministry. It saddens me to lose people. But, this verse tells me, to be strong and courageous knowing he is with me.

Once I have accepted the "call" of God I am commanded, just like Joshua, to be strong and courageous. The word command exemplifies power and passion. How can I doubt God? It is tantamount to sin if I doubt where and when the creator of the universe has placed me. There are too many weak people in this world. Christians are backing down to the "world" at an alarming rate. We water down our ministry. We share the gospel in weakness and fear of offending. We doubt the power and resources from the Lord. We depend on our own weakness instead of his perfect strength. If God has called us, and HE HAS, we must fear his retribution more than the consequences of the world. That is true strength and that is true courage. We must be confident that we will have everything we need to serve. We have to be confident in his power within us. If we don't have "strength and courage" we are rejecting the power of the God we claim is at the middle of our life. It's just that simple!

So for 2016, be bold, minister with confidence and serve with the power of the one who took Israel from slavery to the promised land. He is with you. He is with me, now, and forever. Amen and Amen!

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