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So I’ve been on a faith journey that has required me to be vulnerable and take some interesting steps. I had the realization that if I want the life God has for me…the good one from Jeremiah 29:11, I have to run down the dock and jump into the deep end. Go all in!
If you’ve been around a while…that’s not how I roll. I have played around the edges of the lake…maybe tiptoed in to my knees…but never gotten my hair wet.
I went to the city I hear calling my name and I found my tribe, aka my church. Praise Jesus!
When that happened yesterday, I knew that this city is now MY city. I am compelled to pray for her and love her and love her people. I am compelled! I feel it in the core of who I am.
Even though I haven’t moved here yet. Don’t have a job yet. Don’t have a place to live yet. Don’t know when I’m moving here. But I know I am home.
Strangest feeling ever, BTW!
Anyway…yesterday at my church…I was talking to a woman and telling her what was going on. Her eyes got very big and she said, “You are sooo brave. I could never do what you’re doing.”
I am brave? Really?
I did not feel brave. I felt crazy. I am in one of the biggest and most expensive cities in the US by myself to do a fact finding mission to move here. All completely on faith that God is telling me I should move here.
But I left there confessing and declaring “I AM BRAVE.”
So thank you, Maple, for telling me who I am, when I couldn’t see myself clearly.
“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.” Joshua 1:6 NLT
Point to ponder while you wander…God is constantly speaking to us, revealing who He is and what’s on His heart, but sometimes we’re so in the weeds of our day to day that we miss Him. He’s also inviting us to partner with Him. But He’ll never force us. We are given a choice to partner with Him or go our own way.
As scary and hard as it is to leave my warm comfortable place. I trust Him. And He is worth the risk.
And honestly, right now, in this hard and scary place, I feel like Sleeping Beauty who has just been awakened with a kiss by King Jesus. 💋
Joshua is one of the people I continually go back to study. And one of the things that stands out to me is how many times God told Him the same thing. DO NOT FEAR. BE STRONG. BE COURAGEOUS.
Joshua was the military commander under Moses, and then promoted to lead all of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua KNEW first hand the issues that Moses struggled. He was one of the two spies who stood against the other 10 in front of all the people. And he saw the people choose fear over faith. He sat in the desert for 40 years as those people died off. THEN God says, “Okay, Josh. Take the people in.”
“WHAT? Why me? These people? Seriously!?”
Those would be my thoughts.
But as I have learned. The faith walk is not for sissies.
Before Moses (at the age of 120 BTW) stepped down and went to Mt. Nebo, he spoke to the people:
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV
Then he called Joshua to him in front of all the people and repeated it to Joshua directly:
“Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:7-8 NKJV
Then you roll on into the book of Joshua, and the first thing written is what God spoke to Joshua after Moses died is…(drum roll please)…Do Not Fear. Yes, the exact same message again.
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: ‘Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.‘” Joshua 1:1-9 NKJV
Why? Fear is a sneaky punk. And it’s relentless in it’s efforts to make you live a pathetic small life. But God is bigger than fear. His love kicks fear’s ass every time. You just need to do your part and be bold and courageous.
Point to ponder while you wander…Today. Right now. In the decision you are about to make… Remember one thing. God has personally gone before you into the place He’s asking you to go.
“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
Joshua was not an untested leader. He had been the military leader since the Children of Israel left Egypt. He was one of the twelve who spied out the promised land. He didn’t lack courage, strength or conviction. Yet in Deuteronomy 31:6, 7 and 23 and Joshua 1:6, 7, 9 and 18, God repeats the same message to Joshua. I am with you. I have chosen you for this task. Be strong. Be courageous. Why did He keep repeating the same message to Joshua?
In my opinion I think it’s the same reason He has to repeat the same things to us over and over again, because we can forget who we are in the trenches of day to day life.
God wasn’t telling Joshua to pray for strength or courage, He said be strong and courageous. Joshua already had the strength and courage residing on the inside of himself. He just needed to remember who he was and be who God made him to be.
The same is true for you. You are strong. You are courageous. You can do what the Lord has asked/is asking you to do. He made you specifically to be able to handle the life you would lead. He gave you talents, gifts and abilities. He created you with strength and courage. You were created with the ability to thrive in the environment that you would be in. But like everything, it’s a choice. You can choose to be strong and courageous and thrive. Or you can choose not to.
Joshua told his troops the same thing in Joshua 10:25, “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous…”
Paul tells the Corinthian church something very similar in I Corinthians 16:13-14 “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.”
I am passing on this message to you. Remember who you are. You are a child of the Most High God. He is for you and not against you. Be who God made you to be. Be strong. Be courageous. There is strength and courage inside you already. Be you! You are strong and courageous!
Bonus Random Quote: “God’s plan for us is usually where our passions, our purpose and our capabilities intersect.” Bob Goff