Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Week 78: Courage - to Know that God is beside You

"The Lord is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid?" (Psalms 27:1)

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever plans or actions that you may have decided on, there is always someone will tell you that you’re wrong, incapable, and of no used. There are always difficulties or circumstances that will arise – and often time you’re tempted to give up and believe that your ‘wise critics’ are right. That is the time when you need to be courageous the most...

In reality, throughout your life you will find yourself in fearful situations – persecutions by the enemies, extreme stress, serious illness, financial crisis etc. Oh, you need courage to lives on. Fear may come, but courage will overcome. Courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to push on in the face of it. Tom Rusk observed, “Courage is the act of doing what one feels is right despite one’s fears.” Courage is fear that has said its prayers... Pray for courage in the midst of your many fears.

In the opening of this month reading on the Bible in one year, my soul is filled with God’s encouragements to Joshua son of Nun, the newly appointed leader after the death of one of the greatest leader of all times; Moses (Can you see how stressful he may have been?). In the New Living Translation chapter 1 of the Book of Joshua, God told him to be ‘strong and courageous’ 3 times (1:6, 7, 9) and one time the people also said to him to be ‘strong and courageous’ (1:18).  Mind you, this is no mere divine pep talk, but rather God Himself had assured Joshua that He will be with him wherever he goes (1:9). God knows that he needs to hear it over and over again.
Do you also need to hear it today? Be strong and courageous!

Miguel Cervantes writes, “He who losses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he who loses his courage loses all” How true. How true it is. Here is what I believe: men’s encouragements can sustain you for days, months or even years; but God’s Word can sustain you for a lifetime! Went you know and experience the greatness and how mighty God is in His written Word – you’ll find (understand) that God is stronger than your biggest problem. Courage comes from knowing that God is beside you, always. To stay courageous, focus more on God’s strength rather than you own willpower and your mere self-centered-confidence. Focus more on God’s power and less on your problem.

In his article on Christian Courage (May 11, 1999; by John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org), John Piper answered a question, Where then shall we get this courage? He asked his readers to consider these pointers:

FROM BEING FORGIVEN AND BEING RIGHTEOUS - "The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion" (Proverbs 28:1). "Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, 'Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven'" (Matthew 9:2).

FROM TRUSTING GOD AND HOPING IN HIM - "Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD" (Psalm 31:24; see also 2 Corinthians 3:12).

FROM BEING FILLED WITH SPIRIT - "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness" (Acts 4:31).

FROM GOD'S PROMISE TO BE WITH YOU - "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).

FROM KNOWING THAT THE ONE WITH YOU IS GREATER THAN THE ADVERSARY: -"Be strong and courageous . . . for the one with us is greater than the one with him. With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles" (2 Chronicles 32:7).

FROM BEING SURE THAT GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER THE BATTLES - "Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight" (2 Samuel 10:12).

THROUGH PRAYER - "On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul" (Psalm 138:3; see also Ephesians 6:19-20).

FROM THE EXAMPLE OF OTHERS - "Most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear" (Philippians 1:14).

Be Strong and Courageous!
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