Over the landscape of the Bible, God’s words echo over twenty times…”Be strong and courageous!” and “Take courage!” But like the Lost and Found Dept., our courage can become absent only to be obtained again. Psalm 107:26 says, “In their peril their courage melted away.” But in II Samuel 7:27 it tells us, “So Your servant has found courage.” Courage can momentarily wane in the face of tragedy and disaster, but it can readily be found again when we look to God, for it tells us in I Corinthians 16:13. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” And Hebrews 3:6 also reminds us, “Hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” You are strong and courageous…established and determined by the God who arms you with everything you need.
Month: September 2020
God says you are: Unique
Psalm 139:13-14 ” For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful.” There is nothing else to say but miraculous at the birth of a baby, and all we can do is marvel at this extraordinary event of life, for there are no words to explain this miracle. So on the day you were born your uniqueness began. You are one of a kind and special to God who lovingly formed you and hid you away for those 9 months. In His eyes you are exceptional with gifts, talents, and passions only you possess…His plan and purpose for your life written for you alone and your unique qualities. There is no one like you…for in God’s eyes you are perfect!
God says you are: Patient
Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.” Eight years ago today I started writing this Devotional. Eight years ago today I took a giant leap of faith and said yes to something God had been pressuring me to do for at least a year prior. What I thought may last maybe 6 months is now eight years old. What I figured could become fifty devotionals are now over 2,700. Has it been easy? Have I wondered many times if it’s worth it? The answer to both is yes. But the greatest lesson I’ve learned these eight years is waiting patiently for the Lord. Of learning to suffer well with hopeful expectation in faith and duty…which is entirely a learned quality of my mind…a gained understanding to bear up under things with a tranquil mind. And so I would encourage you today…waiting patiently for the Lord involves strength and courage…it develops your faith and perseverance as you wait on the Lord…for patience is a cultivated fruit of the Spirit.
God says to you: You can be used of Me.
Now before you start to dispute this idea, let me tell you a little story out of the Bible. Numbers 22:27-28 tells us about Balaam and his little donkey who came upon the angel of the Lord guarding the path they were traveling. Three times the donkey saw the angel with his sword and three times she veered off the path. Finally, she just laid down. And when Balaam became angry, the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth and she spoke. So I ask you, if God can use a donkey, why in the world couldn’t He use you? And before you start with excuses why you can’t…let me tell you about a few well-known prophets from the Old Testament. Jeremiah argued with God that he was too young to be used…it says that Ezekiel was so sad and angry that God had to put His hand in the middle of his back and push him into service…Amos was a humble country-boy with no education when God called him…and then there was the reluctant missionary to Nineveh, Jonah, who ran far away from God’s call at first…and we all know where that landed him! We can all be used of God. For we all have been given gifts, talents, and passions that are unique to us. Couple this with our unique character traits, personalities, and bents and God has very special plans for each one of us. The only thing we have to do is be obedient.
God says you are: Filled with hope
Jeremiah 17:7, ” Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in Him.” Where does our hope come from? It comes from the Lord. And this hopeful expectation is rooted firmly in God alone. And as Hebrews 6:19 shows us, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” But not only do we possess hope, but we are to pass it along, for Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” God wants you to know that you are filled with hope in order to fill others with His hope.
God says you are: Strong
In the crucible of life, especially this year, we have endured the great heat and severe testing of the pandemic. But out of it we are made stronger if we keep our eyes on God. Psalm 18: 32 & 35 says, “It is God Who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. You give me Your shield of victory, and Your right hand sustains me; You stoop down to make me great.” Our strength comes from the Lord and as Philippians 4:13 reminds us, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Think of this…you are stronger than you know or can imagine. For the strength you receive from the Lord in this verse means it enables you to not only endure but to effectively handle any situation you confront.
God says you are: Protected
Proverbs 18:10 ” The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Especially this year and what’s happening with COVID 19 we can’t take the protection of God lightly. But instead of me rattling on, I feel it’s more important to read what the Word of God says. Psalm 20:1 “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.” Job 11:18 “You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.” Psalm 69:29 “I am in pain and distress; may Your salvation, O God, protect me.” There is protection in the powerful name of the Lord, and He assures us that He will keep us safe from calamity, and enemies…including COVID 19.
God says you are: Full of Joy
John 15: 9 &11, ” As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Now remain in My love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Let’s admit it…there hasn’t been a lot to be joyful about the last nine months. But it shouldn’t stop us from finding our source of happiness, well-being, and delight in the Lord. Jesus tells us that His joy is in us…fulfilled at the cross. And we should take this blessedness and share it with others…or as Mother Teresa once said, “Joy is a net by which you can catch souls.”
Luke 20:1-2 ” One day as He was teaching the people in the Temple courts and preaching the Gospel, the chief priests and teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to Him. ‘Tell us by what authority You are doing these things,’ they said. ‘Who gave You this authority?’ “
The chief priests and teachers of the law didn’t like what they saw and heard. This Jesus fellow was teaching with a command of the law they’d never seen before, and He was proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God with such power and conviction that the crowds were being won over by Him…and this wasn’t good. So when they approached Jesus that day in the Temple courts they wanted answers. “Just who gives You the right to do this?” For they were afraid…fearing that their power and control over the crowd was slipping. But neither would they accept or believe where Jesus’ authority came from. “Jesus said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” (Matthew 28:18)
II Thessalonians 1:6-7 ” God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled…”
Our broken human nature likes to get even and retaliate when we think we’ve been wronged…even if it’s just in our minds. But God is very clear, “Don’t take revenge my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is Mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) But we want vengeance and when we don’t see it quickly from the Lord, we whine. But as Jesus tells us in Luke 18:7-8, “Will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night?” There is but one just and righteous Judge Who will avenge all the wrongdoing in the world…while also, as it says above, giving the Believer rest from their affliction and tribulation.