It is a funny thing, when I find myself needing God's direction, I usually don't ask for it. Or better yet, I ask and then don't wait to see what he says. I spent my evening praying that I would hear what God is calling me to do, and I spent half the morning not listening. I had three conversations with three different people and each one of them said the same thing to me. Then like a light switch I ask, is this one of those times God is using people to get his message across? Oh but wait!! Change is scary!
I find it NO coincidence that my scripture reading was about being courageous. In Sunday school, we started the book of Joshua. I missed class yesterday to snuggle babies in my monthly rotation at the nursery. I read my homework last night as the rest of my household was sleeping. I am not sure that I have ever read the complete book of Joshua, but it drew me in right in chapter one.
It begins with Joshua being God's chosen leader to follow the footsteps of Moses. WOW, can you imagine? I certainly can not imagine Joshua and how he must have felt, but according to my conclusion from scripture, he must have been afraid. This was a huge change for Joshua, and change can be paralyzed by fear. God instructs Joshua four different times to be strong and courageous.
VS 9: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
The chapter continues to give instructions on how the Israelites will finally go into the Holy land. God gave them specific instructions on how and when they would cross into the Holy land, and all Joshua and the other had to do was obey God's instructions.
Fast forward to 2012. VS 9 " Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." What does that mean to me today? For me it means, that the Lord will be with me wherever I go, and more importantly, I need to remember to take him with me. The verses prior to this instruct Joshua to, "keep the book of law always on your lips." This is a reminder to me, that I should be in prayer for God's direction. I pray all the time for the needs of others, and the concerns of other, but it seems rarely do I have the conversation with God, am I in your will? Am I doing what you want me to do? Then even worse, I don't stop to listen.
Clearly there is a message from God for each of us as to how we complete His perfect plan for us as individuals. I am wondering today, have I been listening? Have I been too afraid of change or the unknown? I believe and scripture tells us that God does not give us a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7). Interesting, the chosen leader after Moses, Joshua, had to be reminded four times, to be strong and courageous. In my mind the people from the Bible heard God like the sound of James Earl Jones loudly and all around, and even with that assurance of the voice of God and the presence of the Ark of the covenant, there was still fear.
So, I wonder what are the characteristics of a strong and courageous person? How do the biblical examples crush their fear? The first person to pop into my mind is King David. There is not only a man after God's own heart, but a strong and courageous one at that! The identifying feature of the great courageous examples of the bible seems to be prayer. King David as shown in many Psalms, that he called out to Jesus, "Lord hear my cry...." (I did a keyword search at bible gateway for Lord hear my cry, and there were 17 results. Keep in mind that each translation uses different terms, so there could be more.) King David had fear, but he never let it stop him from praying and calling out to God. He always trusted faithfully that God would answer and he would obey that answer. Each of the great biblical examples had dedicated prayer lives that were filled will all needs, not just some.
This leads me to conclude that to be strong and courageous means that my prayer life needs to be well rounded. My prayers need to not only be about others, but also about my own needs and insecurities. I need to call out to the Lord and faithfully wait on His answer and obey His direction. Fear can be crushed by confidence and faith in God. Confidence comes from the Lord, because it is a result of obediently doing something right, honorable, and righteous. In other words, doing the will of God. The Lord clearly promises over and over again, that He is with us wherever we go. As a result of the new covenant, we have the holy spirit living in us. This is an incredible power that can be harnessed if we only ask, if we only pray.
I have blogged about prayer before, and I think it is awesome. However, like I said from the beginning, I find that when I really need prayer or have something going on, I tend to not mention it to God. There is a part of me that is like, "Oh, he knows!" Well, I am reminding myself today, that I need to pray fully for all my concerns and ask for my needs, or something better! (Ephesians 3:17-20) Prayer is the road to courage.
I love this song and am considering it my new theme song!
"So long status quo, I think I'll just let go. You make me want to be brave!"
This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!