Tag Archives: be courageous

The Spiritual Odds

In Deuteronomy 20, Moses gave the Israelites a reminder that is good for us too. In verse 1 he said, “When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you!” (NLT) He knew that there would be battles they would face where they were outnumbered, outgunned, and out resourced. He knew that, as people, we would look at those things and be would allow fear to come into our minds.

When I was a kid, my brothers and I would always want to take things to a vote because we knew we had more votes than our parents. My dad would say, “Ok, but our vote counts as one more than yours.” Without knowing it, he was demonstrating what it’s like to have God on your side. It doesn’t matter how many problems you’re up against, you have one more solution than problems because God is on your side.

God wants to remind you today that with Him on your side, you are never outnumbered, outgunned, or out resourced. You don’t have to be afraid of what you’re up against, no matter what the physical odds are. The spiritual odds are in your favor. In Joshua 1:9, God again reminds us of this promise. He said, “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.” So be strong and courageous today. God is with you. There is no need to be afraid. Walk in victory. The spiritual odds are in your favor.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Truth Compacted

In a lot of Paul’s letters to the churches, he starts off slow and then hits the fast forward button in the last chapter. It’s like he knows he needs to wrap up the letter, but has so much more to say. In those moments in his letters, there’s a lot of truth compacted. One of my favorites comes from I Corinthians 16:13-14. He wrote, “Be on guard. Stand firm. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything in love” (NLT). There’s so much good stuff packed into those two verses.

First, he warns us to be on guard. He knows there is an enemy out there looking to mess you up, so he can destroy your testimony and your work for God. I Peter 5:8 puts it this way, “Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” We can never forget that there is an enemy who is out to prevent you from doing the work God called you to. Be on guard.

Next he says to stand firm. In Ephesians 6:11 he goes into deeper discussion about what he meant. He wrote, “Put on God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil” (NLT). The enemy comes in like a flood to knock you down, but by the power of God, you have the ability to stand firm when you are under attack. Utilize the armor that God gives us to defeat the enemy.

The next two go hand in hand. He wants us to be courageous and strong. Winston Churchill said, “Courage is the foremost of all the virtues, for upon it, all others depend.” You can’t stand up to the enemy unless you have courage. David had it when he fought Goliath. Jesus had it as He carried the cross to Calvary. You and I can have it and we can be strong in our faith. Acts 1:8 says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (NLT). You can have God-given power to be courageous.

Finally, he tells us to do everything in love. In I Corinthians 13:2, just a few chapters back, Paul wrote, “If I had the gift of prophesy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing” (NLT). It doesn’t matter how much faith you have or what you can do for God in your own strength, you’ve got to do it in love or it’s worthless. Love is the key element in our walk with God. Live your life doing everything in love, and what you do will prosper.
 

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The Land Of Promise

My three year old son surprised me the other day. We were sitting down talking and he wanted to get my attention so used both hands to grab my face to look at him. He said, “Joshua 1:9, Dada.” It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about, but then I remembered it was his memory verse a few weeks back. I thought for a second how they had taught him, then I recited it to him, “Do not be afraid. God is with you.” He smiled and said, “Yeah. God is with you. Joshua 1:9.”

What a great promise to us to hold on to. The full verse says, “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.” This was God speaking to Joshua before he entered a land of giants and walled cities that he was to conquer. It was 40 years earlier that he had been there as a spy and was outvoted 10-2 because the people were afraid of what they saw. I’m sure the ones who were scared told their kids what the Promised Land had in it. They might have been afraid of what their future held.

Like them, you may be looking at your future and are starting to feel scared. There are uncertainties, giants even huge walls up around the things you feel like God has called you to. When you look at those things, you may be wondering, “How can I accomplish that?” The path to it may be unclear. There may be huge obstacles in your way. But if God has called you to do it, there are no walls high enough that He can’t push down. There are no walls thick enough that He can’t break. There is no enemy strong enough to keep you away from all He has promised. He just needs you to step out in faith.

That’s the hard part. The scary part. When that fear arises that wants to keep you from doing what God called you to, go back to Joshua 1:9. God commanded us to be strong and courageous. He didn’t merely suggest it. He told us not to be afraid or discouraged by the obstacles in our way because He is with us. He doesn’t expect us to do these things in our own strength or abilities. He will do the work as long as we are willing to cross the Jordan and enter the Land of Promise. Our step of faith pushes back fear and activates God’s strength. Don’t hold back because of fear. Go and conquer all that God has for you.

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