Courage!

courage

It had to seem overwhelming.  Moses, the man who had led Israel from slavery to freedom was gone!  This same Moses had been the instrument God used to win a showdown with Pharaoh and all of the Egyptian “gods”.  Remember, Moses was so close to God that his face shone from having been in God’s presence as he received the Law.  Now, the mantle of leadership had fallen to Joshua.  I would not want to be in Joshua’s sandals.  Talk about a tough act to follow!

In verses 7-8 of the first chapter of Joshua, we find that Joshua did not have to act alone.  He had the same help as Moses.  It says, “Above all, be strong and very courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (‭Joshua‬ ‭1‬:‭7-9‬ HCSB)

Look at the keys to success God gave Joshua.  He promised to be with him wherever he went.  In order to keep his steps on the right path, God advised Joshua to courageously observe His whole instruction.  In other words, Joshua had to be bold in obeying God’s Law.  He would be able to fulfill that by not deviating from the instructions of the Lord. Furthermore, Joshua was to keep the word in his daily life by reciting it day and night.  In doing these things, he would fulfill the first instruction of carefully observing.God’s instructions handed down through Moses.

We need to courageously follow God today.  What does courage have to do with it?  It takes courage to live by God’s instructions when others are not.  The world’s culture does not seem to enjoy absolutes.  Yet God’s word is filled with several clear instructions.  We must be bold like Joshua to stand for God even if nobody stands with us.  Remember, even if nobody else is with us, God is!  His promise is still in effect today.  He is with us wherever we go, so why shouldn’t we have courage?

Who Am I?

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Jean Valjean, the lead character of Les Miserables, faces a moment of crisis. He had been living under an assumed identity while hiding from his past. He had stolen a loaf of bread, and was thus permanently branded a thief in France even though he had served 19 years of hard labor. When he hears news that a man has been taken into custody believed to be him, he knows he has a chance to make a clean break. All he must do is let that man be imprisoned for his violation of parole, and he is forever more free. Yet, he cares about doing what is right. In that moment of anguish, his inner debate is captured in the song, “Who am I?”. He has to decide if personal freedom at the expense of another can be lived with. I will let you research and find his answer.

We too face that question often. Every day we face temptations and decisions. We ask ourselves, “Am I the type of person who ….”. We don’t normally break out in powerful song as we wrestle with the issue, but we do face a moment of introspection. We must check our proposed actions and attitudes with the person Christ wants us to be. It isn’t always a moral dilemma. Sometimes the options may both be fine, but we must know which choice is in keeping with our God given purpose.

If we skip over this step, we are doomed to make a series of bad decisions. We will get involved in side tracks rather than staying on mission for God. We stray into sin instead of resisting temptation.

If we hesitate too long, our indecision can cost us as well. We miss the opportunity due to timidity. Fear of getting it wrong keeps us locked in place. Making no decision is in fact a decision!

To me, the secret is in answering the question now. Who am I? What is my purpose? What defines my character and ministry for the Lord? Knowing these things help us make decisions in keeping with the core of who God wants each of us to be. Then, when those moments come, make the decision which advances us forward in the goals God has given us. Sin’s temptation weakens when viewed in light of our call from God. Decisions become easier if we look for the one which is in keeping with our purpose. Know who you are.