“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 1:9.
Forty years of wanderings in the wilderness are finally over! But, Moses the man who brought the children of Israel out of Egypt is dead. Now, it is time for Joshua to take the staff. He is named as Moses’ successor, and the time has come for Israel to cross the Jordan River and take possession of their Promised Land. If they could get over this one last obstacle, they would finally be home. On the other side of Jordan is a land flowing with milk and honey, the fulfillment of all dreams. But standing at the edge of the River and not knowing what lurks ahead, Joshua became fearful. And he had every reason to be afraid! Canaan was occupied by giants! The cities to be captured were fortified. And yet the Lord tells Joshua, in Chapter 1, Verse 6, “Be strong and of good courage.” Meaning, to succeed in his new assignment, Joshua needs to overcome fear. God tells him this again and again. Indeed, He wasn’t “asking,” “requesting” or “suggesting” to Joshua not to fear. God was issuing a command!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” Isaiah 43:2.
As we stand at the start of the year 2021, God’s telling us not to fear. As we are embarking upon a new path that we’ve never been to, there is a danger that we too can become anxious and fearful. But God has given us a sound mind! We are exhorted to be strong and courageous! God’s given us power so we can overcome every obstacle, and He’s given us love. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. So there is no reason for a child of God to be gripped, controlled, paralyzed, and destroyed by fear. The Almighty tells us not to fear because He is in control of every situation. He is our refuge and strength! God is our help in times of trouble. So we don’t have anything to fear! God will be with us. He knows our name and knows what we are going through, so we don’t have to be fearful of the unknown. We can face the future fearless.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.
Have you ever been afraid? What do you fear? What is weighing heavy on your heart? Like Joshua, we all face fear! Is it of height, of failing, or of how things will turn out? Do you fear criticism? Some fear poverty, old-age, or the prospect of separation or divorce. We worry about the future, about politics, and our health. Fear is a human emotion. It can make a grown man squeal like a child. Fear often results in depression. It stops your spiritual life. Fear paralyzes. It freezes. Sometimes it can rob us of quality of life, or lead us to make bad decisions. Fear will cripple even the strongest. It can prevent us from moving forward to receive all that God has for us. Fear is a torment! Fear brings turmoil in our hearts and minds. When we are filled with so much fear, we can’t think straight. The only time fear is mentioned in a positive light in the Bible is when it refers to reverence for God. Fear is everywhere! Everywhere we turn we hear the voice of fear. The media industry fills our ears with the noise of unemployment, murders, and a failing economy. The doctor’s report flood our ears with cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart attacks, tumors, COVID-19, etc. Friends and family speak their fears into our lives and it weakens our faith. “Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth.” Isaiah 24:17. Still, we don’t have to listen to those noises. We don’t have to agree with them. And we don’t have to line up ourselves with them. “For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” I John 5:4. Therefore, we can overcome these noises of fear by our faith. Even though we hear these noises every day doesn’t mean we have to be afraid. Faith will silence these noises as soon as we activate our faith.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10.
According to Strong’s Bible Concordance, the Hebrew word for courage means: “to be strong, alert, courageous, brave, bold, solid, hard; to be determined, to make oneself alert, strengthen oneself, confirm oneself, persist in, or prove superior to” Courage is not the absence of fear, it’s acting in faith in the midst of fear! Meaning courage is having the strength to do something despite being fearful. Hence, to be courageous means having the confidence to do what God wants them to do. Three times, the Lord told Joshua to be strong and of good courage. He also gives us the same promises He gave to Joshua today. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. Whatever challenge we face in this life, God is with us! We can be assured that He won’t let us down. There may be an obstacle in front of us today, but God will part it. There may be opposition in the year ahead, but God will give us victory over it. Our role is to trust Him completely and genuinely. God will never leave us.
ABIDE IN HIS PRESENCE:
“And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14.
The secret of Joshua’s strength, courage, and fearlessness is the presence of God. And the assurance of this divine presence also applies to all who are in Christ today. The night before His death, Jesus told His disciples in John 14:16: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” Even in His last words on earth, He promises to be with us. “18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen..” Matthew 28:18-20. No matter what is going on in your life, Jesus is there with you. By abiding in His presence, we will be given the strength to overcome.
Here are some directions to follow and important things to always remember;
- Know who you are. When you put your faith in Jesus and became His follower, you are adopted into God’s family and became one of His children. You’re now a child of God! The Holy Spirit is in you. The same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is in you. Nothing will come your way in the next few days, weeks, months, or years, that should trouble you. You’re precious in God’s eyes! He’ll give you the power you need to be victorious.
- Let go of the past. “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:13-14.
- Refuse to focus on your fear. Guard your eyes and ears. Don’t let your fear continuously rob you of joy.
- Don’t let it paralyze you.
- Realize that God is with you. We must not fear because God is with us. “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalms 118:6. If God protects you from all forms of danger, why should you fear?
- Pray always. “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalms 34:4. When we seek God with all our hearts, He will hear us and deliver us from all our fears.
- Confront your fear. You will never win until you rise and confront the thing that is causing you to fear.
- Trust in God. Every time we are afraid, we must see it as an opportunity to surrender everything in God’s hands. Trust that He will provide all that you need. God is still good. He is still faithful. He will never leave you.
- Remember what God has done in the past.
- Meditate upon the Word of God daily. The Hebrew word for meditate means: “utter, muse, mutter, meditate, speak.” It comes from a root word that means whisper. We should not only ponder and think about the Word of God but speak it out even in a whisper. The Word of God is powerful.
- Be filled with love. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” I John 4:18. When love prevails, fear stops from existing.
- Fear God. Every Christian should have this fear.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4.
God is longing to pour out His favor and blessing upon us in the coming year. He has an amazing plan for us. Plans that are so extraordinary that you can’t even begin to dream about. The wilderness is not where He wants His children to be. The place of fear is not where He wants us to reside. God doesn’t want us to be held back by fear. So move into your place of abundance. You’re not alone! God’s with you. He will not leave your side. God cares for you; He will never forget you. He watches over the sparrows and He watches over you. Troubles will come, but God never stops loving you. If He remembers each sparrow, you can be sure He remembers you too.
“25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? ” Matthew 6:25-27.
O LORD, I come to You now. I know I am a sinner, forgive me. Lord Jesus, from today, I accept You as the LORD of my life. Change my heart from a disobedient heart to a heart that will obey You. With my new heart, I believe that it is because of me that You came into this world; You died for my sins, take away my problems, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, write my name in the Book of Life, and make me brand new in Jesus name.
- Father, I thank You that You’re always with me.
- O Lord, help me to remember Your promises and to trust in You whenever I’m afraid, in Jesus’ name.
- Lead me, Lord, through the unknown in my life. Make Your path clear to me, in Jesus’ name.
- Father, I lift my fears, worries, and concerns to You today. Help me to keep moving forward, in Jesus’ name.
- Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promise to be with me wherever I go.
God is your Father and loves beyond your wildest imagination …
Talk to Him … He’s listening!
I pray you receive this message and you focus your life on the one, true living God, Jesus Christ.
Until next time … Many Blessings and “Keep Looking Up!”