Wednesday, February 27, 2008

From a Place of Courage

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:7-9, NIV)

"Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid." (Matthew 14:27, NIV)

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines courage as the "mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear, difficulty." It also states that, "courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty."

As I write these definitions, I look at my own life and wonder where courage fits in. It pretty much needs to live everywhere within me. Courage takes faith and surrender. It requires complete trust in God and His promises. It requires us to lay down everything and let Him teach and love on us. It takes waiting on Him, wisdom and knowledge. It requires something, Someone much greater than ourselves. I know I don't have all that it takes to be strong and courageous.

Last night I went through the Bible searching for Scripture focused on God's promises. That pretty much sums up the whole Book! I found such hope and comfort in my search. As God has promised in Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole heart." Knowing that I cannot do what God has called me to do on my own and knowing that in my own strength I cannot remain surrendered, I find comfort in His Word and Presence. Spending time in His Word, spending time in His Presence, loving on Him and letting Him love on me fills me with courage to do what I cannot do. My hope is that He will find a faithful servant and warrior in me.

Choosing to live the life He has destined for me and leaving father, mother, sister, brother and even myself, takes greater courage and greater faith. As I lay down my life, I find that God fills me with more hope, more belief, more faith and more courage to live each day. Learning to let go of even the things I don't want in my life takes a courage that can only come from the Lord. I know I don't have it and living for God will require Him to fill every inch of my being with all that He is. God is going to have to take over my life in order to make His plans happen.

Surrender is the hardest part of Christian life because it requires us to relinquish all that we are to be available for what we don't know. Each step of this journey with Him, requires us to surrender even more than our last moment on the altar. As we grow, He shows us what else He needs for His purposes. There is stuff He wants us to give up including our plans and expectations as to how we are to live this predestined life. Sometimes I feel that all I can do is sit, watch, wait and listen because I don't see anything in front of me to do. You hear so many people say that we can't just sit around and wait on God to move, but that we must do something every day for His kingdom. I have to say that we as humans are always busy doing something because we believe that that is what He wants from us all the time. My heart says He wants us to spend more time being still, praying, reading and meditating on His Word which is one of the greatest acts we can perform for His Kingdom. Then, when He is ready to move, we will be ready as well. We will then have sufficient courage to serve and fight for His kingdom because we will be full of Him.

Today I encourage you to be strong and courageous enough to be still and live in His sufficiency. When we are obedient in this, we will see that the mighty hand of God has moved mountains, strongholds and giants and is more able than we could ever be on our own.

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