Be Strong, Be Courageous: Preparation for Obtaining God’s Promises

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Bible Study/Devotional

Bible Study/Devotional

There’s no question that unspeakable joy fills our hearts when we get a sneak peak, or insider information (through the Holy Spirit), on what God promises us. Most of those promises are throughout His word. Some are given to us through the Holy Spirit. Once we receive the good news, we hold on to it, anxiously awaiting to see the promises of God. But along the way, trouble comes. Disaster wreaks havoc. Heartache becomes unbearable. Disappointment ends up latching on to our mind, making us weak. The burdens can become so unbearable that we begin to lose hope. So much so, we start to feel discouraged and choose not to use our faith. Throughout the word of God we see “be strong, be courageous.” It’s one of those phrases that is a no-brainer. Yet we find ourselves hopeless and unable to move forward as we look at our circumstances. So I want to have a bible study/devotional on how we can refocus and be strong and courageous as the Lord commands.

We are going to read out of Joshua chapter one. You can follow along in any version you prefer. For this particular message, I will be using the NLT (New Living Translation) version. If you don’t have the NLT version, you can follow along on Bible Gateway here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NLT&search=Joshua%201. I was reading this chapter earlier this month. It was something I was familiar with but this time I gained new understanding. The Holy Spirit began ministering to me what “Be strong, Be courageous” actually meant. In this chapter, there are six steps that we can take in preparing for what God has promised. These steps are vital to ensure we choose to activate our faith and never lose hope no matter how ugly life gets.

Let us start with verses one through four. Take a moment to read: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NLT&search=Joshua%201

1.LISTEN TO GOD AND REMEMBER HIS PROMISE (Joshua Chapter 1:1-4)

  •  God gives Joshua specific instructions on how to move forward.
  •  God reminds Joshua of the promise He made and intends to keep.

Here we see God tell Joshua that it is time to move forward and lead the children of Israel into the land He promised them. Moses is dead, and the nation needs a new leader that will hear from God and relay the message to them. In verses three and four, God gives a stark reminder of His promise. So how does this section apply to step one in our life? Before Joshua could conquer Jericho, he had to be in a position to hear from God and listen to His voice. Often, we don’t put ourselves in position to hear from God because we are letting other things take our attention off of him. Sometimes we allow our circumstances and trouble become the focus because we want to fix it ourselves instead of trusting God. When God makes a promise, He has every intention to keep that promise and deliver it. He is more than able to do it no matter what obstacle you face in the process. That is why it is important to remember His promise while in the midst. God is so good that in the midst of our unbelief, He will still remind us that he intends to keep His promise! God is faithful even when you do not believe for a moment. Listen to God and remember He is faithful. Even when our lives seem chaotic, it is only for a moment. During the storm, we must remember God’s promise to keep our faith.

 

2.KNOW GOD WILL BE WITH YOU AND WON’T FAIL YOU (Joshua Chapter 1:5)

  • God tells Joshua that no man will be able to overcome him because He (God) will be right beside him.

This is awesome. Not only did God just remind Joshua that He will keep His promise, He also promises to be right there! Whenever God promises us something, there are things we have to go through in order to get there and obtain it. Notice here, God doesn’t give a sneak peek into the enemies Joshua would face. He basically declares that NO ONE will be able to stand against him as long as he lives. Think about that for a second. God is saying the same exact thing to us. Things are going to happen, but God won’t let what could kill us prosper. In fact, He promises that while we go through, He will not forsake us (His children). He won’t leave us while we struggle with the depth of adversity. My favorite thing about this is God adds an extra incentive. He says He will not fail them. God will NOT FAIL US! So as you go through and come to the point where you can’t endure, know that God is there with you and He won’t fail you. You can lean on Him and go to Him. He’s a present help in time of trouble.

 

3.IF GOD SAID HE WILL, BELIEVE HIM (Joshua Chapter 1:6)

  •  God says to be strong and courageous because He has chosen Joshua and will deliver what He has promised.

For this first time in this chapter we see God say, “Be strong and courageous.” God tells Joshua that He chose him. Again, He reminds him of the promise that He will deliver. Whether we feel like it or not, we are chosen. When God shows us His promises, it is because He chose us. When you decide to promise something to someone, you have already chosen the person whom you want to deliver that promise to. That’s how God works. Because He is willing to go to great lengths in making sure you obtain those promises, He will encourage you. So why should we invest energy into being strong and courageous when God is much stronger? Here, God is saying, “I will come through, but I need you to be strong and courageous.” See, faith pleases God. Faith blesses God because it is a way of saying, “No matter what happens, I will trust in you. I will continue to praise you because you are my God who loves me and who is faithful to provide.”

 

4.BE OBEDIENT TO WHAT GOD SAYS/MEDIATE ON HIS COMMANDMENTS (Joshua Chapter 1:7-8)

  • God says to be strong and courageous again by obeying the law of the Lord (Commandments).
  • God instructs that the children of Israel should not deviate from it so that they will prosper.
  • God adds, the law of the Lord (commandments) should not leave their hearts but should be meditated on day and night.

God gives another reason to back up his “Be strong and courageous” message: Follow his commandments and be obedient. When we begin to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we start learning about God’s commandments through the Holy Spirit. We start gaining an understanding of what is right and what is wrong. He doesn’t want us to deviate from his commandments (not to the left and not to the right). He promises that we will prosper when we don’t deviate. I can’t count the times I chose to ignore to do right because I felt some kind of way. One great example is how I chose not to forgive. Christ made it very clear that love was a commandment and that we are to forgive as God forgives us. Because I was covering up my deep struggle with depression, any injustice made me angry. I would complain any chance I had and repeated the offense (talking about how so and so did me) to get sympathy. I was that angry. By deviating to my emotions, I did not prosper in health. Because of that anger, stress would take over my body. The stress would make me exhausted to where on some days I struggled to function at 110%. The stress lead to unhappiness because I wanted to “have my moment” and be angry. And that did not help with my depression. Thankfully, God delivered me through faith. I brought that example up because we don’t realize the danger of deviating from God’s commandments. I’m telling you, when I chose to love and forgive, my mental health changed! Sometimes it takes time to really “get it together” when it comes to following the commandments. That’s why God wants us to meditate on them day and night. The more I would meditate on the commandment of love and forgiveness, the more I became better at it. My mental health prospered more because I made a decision to meditate on His commandments and not deviate from them. One thing that God points out in verse eight, is when you meditate on His commandments, you will not only prosper but also be successful. If you are going to sow a seed of disobedience because of your emotions, what someone else says, or what society says, then that seed will grow. If you sow a seed of obedience, God will water it so that you will prosper and become successful. Let us make a decision today to be obedient and meditate on His commandments so we can be in a position to see what God has promised.

 

5.DO NOT GIVE IN TO DISCOMFORT OR FEAR/KNOW GOD IS WITH YOU (Joshua Chapter 1:9)

  • God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous.
  • He reminds him there’s no need to fear because He will be with them.

The Bible says (in the New Testament), without faith it is impossible to please God. Here we see God make that plain by commanding, “Be strong and courageous.” What He has been telling Joshua early on, is now a commandment. The way to have great faith is to have faith in God. It doesn’t take much to have great faith. As Christ illustrated, faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. Why is it difficult then to use our faith? The reason is we get use to becoming our own problem solver, knowing we can not get through adversity in our strength. We forget that faith is the simple act of believing in God. That’s it. Faith is the simple act of believing in God. When we choose to believe in God we are saying, “God is my everything. I will not fear because He is God.”  Once we get that in our mind and meditate on it, we can activate our faith. We can rely on the fact that our faith in God will help us to be strong and courageous. In the end of verse nine, God makes it clear that He will be with them so don’t be discouraged or afraid. The amazing thing about God is when we activate our faith, He will remind us again that He’s there whenever we need Him. So even when we are doing our best to be strong and courageous and trouble comes again, we know that we can call on God. Faith does not fear or becomes discouraged because activating it gives us a free calling card to call on God WHENEVER we need Him.

6.RECEIVE WHAT GOD SAYS AND REJOICE FOR GOD IS WITH YOU! (Joshua Chapter 1:10-18)

  • Joshua does as God commanded and instructed the people.
  • The people received the word.
  • They did not fear because they knew that God was with them.

In the last nine verses, Joshua did what God told him to do. He shared God’s words, “Be strong and courageous.” The children of Israel did receive the word and they did not fear. The first step was about listening. We need to also receive! A part of being strong and courageous is to receive what God is speaking to us. When you receive something, you have your mind made up that it will come to pass. Receiving, by faith, what God has promised us by His word makes it easier to not give in to fear. It is not easy to receive a promise when your mind is focused on what is around you. So today I challenge you, to don’t look to the left or to the right. Instead, look to God and listen. Remember His promises because one day they will come to pass. Know that He is with you and will not fail you! Push yourself to believe what God said He will do! Choose to be obedient to what God says and meditate on His commandments. Learn to not give in to discouragement or fear and know that God is with you! Every day, speak aloud that you receive what God has shared with you and rejoice! Because no matter how long the storm lasts, how low the valley is, how dark it maybe, how weak you may feel, God is with you!

Be Strong! Be Courageous!

 

Editor at Refocused Magazine

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