Be Strong And Courageous

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 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.”

Joshua 1:7-9 NIV

It is so easy to get caught up in uncertainty…we want to take control and try to force our desired outcomes.  Many of us spend years trying to grasp that which is beyond our control and get anxious and worry when things don’t go the way we want.  In the Old Testament Moses and Joshua are excellent examples of trusting God with uncertainty, being obedient to Him and trusting His way even though we have doubts.  At the end of Deuteronomy and the beginning of the book of Joshua, Moses dies and Joshua is being promoted to fill his shoes.  Just like Moses was apprehensive to lead the people out of Egypt, Joshua is uncertain he should be the one to lead after Moses.  In both situations God reassures them to “be strong and courageous because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) We would do well to listen to these words when we are uncertain and have doubts about situations and events in our own lives.

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The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1-2 NIV

(This photo was taken in Spetember of 2022 in Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming)

Do Not Worry

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?”

Matthew 6:25-27 NIV

It can consume us if we allow it to…worry.  What does it do for us?  Nothing.

We have a choice; we can sit and worry and stew about things or we can make use of the time we have by meeting with God about these things and trust in Him to guide us and lead us.  Do not worry, seek the Lord and you will find peace.  Amen.

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But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:33-34 NIV

(This photo was taken in April of 2020 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Doubt…Faith

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:29-31

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As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.”

Psalm 18:30-36

(This photo was taken in July of 2018 on Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands)

Do Not Worry

It can consume us if we allow it to…worry.  What does it do for us?  There is a famous quote that is attributed to many different individuals…I believe it is famous for what it says not because of who said it:

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere”

We have a choice; we can sit and worry and stew about things or we can make use of the time we have by meeting with God about these things and trust in Him to guide us and lead us.  Do not worry, seek the Lord and you will find peace.  Amen.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?”

Matthew 6:25-27

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But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:33-34

(This photo was taken in April of 2020 in a neighborhood near Plymouth, Minnesota)

Doubt

Everyone has doubt.  We all experience moments when we question…’where is God in all of this?’ or ‘Why is this happening?’  This has happened to people throughout history.  Even the disciples, who lived during the life of Jesus on earth had doubts.  Having doubt and questions is natural and it is a starting point to explore and learn, so what do you do to find answers to your questions and your doubts?  God wants us to have questions and to ask Him…having doubt and questions is ok…what you do with those doubts and questions is key to your faith journey.  Amen.

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Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  “Come,” he said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:28-31

(This photo was taken in July in 2016 at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota)

The Door To Your Heart

We learn to build walls around the parts of our heart where the deepest and most vulnerable topics and issues, thoughts and feelings are hidden from others.  We believe we are safe keeping these items locked away.  There is a door in these walls and Jesus is on the other side.  He is not locked out, we are locked in…think about this…we do not have to wait and hope that He will find us and help us or save us.  He already knows about these things, He has done what He needed to do to save us.  In His words, it is finished (John 19:30).  We are the ones who need to take the next step, unlock the door to your heart for Jesus and let Him in.  I like many people have been searching for the door in the wall, it takes persistence, discipline and courage to open the door and let go of those things keeping us trapped in cycles…we need to let the fullness of Christ into our lives.  May God’s peace be with you.

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“Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

Revelation 3:20

(This photo was taken in June of 2013 near Pike’s Peak in Colorado)

Ask and Seek

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“Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, ‘Are you asking one another what I meant when I said’, ‘In a little you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’?  I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices.  You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.  So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

John 16:19-22

(This photo was taken in October of 2014 on the north shore of Maui)

Spiritual Growth

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Often times people put little value on the things that they can do to help another, yet others believe it is the simplest gesture that can make the biggest difference in their day.  This is something I was reminded of earlier this year while on a mission trip with senior high youth…

Do whatever you can

For whoever can

Whenever you can

Wherever you are

Because whatever you can do it will be something that someone else needs and never forget your actions DO make a difference in this world. 

“Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

                                                                                                                                Ephesians 5:15-17

Even those who lived during the time of Jesus’s life on earth had doubts about Faith in life…one of his disciples was walking on water towards Jesus and once the wind kicked up he doubted he could really do it so he began to sink and Jesus was standing right there.  We all will have moments of doubt and that is Ok, just don’t quit trying.

Even the easiest thing like holding a door open for someone can contribute to the spiritual growth of you and the other person.  But do not do things expecting the “proper” reaction from another…we must remember we can’t control what another person thinks, says or does.  Our spiritual growth will come from doing what God is asking us to do, not from what the world thinks we should do or how the world reacts to the things we do.

In short, we are blessed to be a blessing…we all have been given something to share…don’t immediately think about money.  There are far greater things in life than financial riches…ask God to help you find what you can share with others and…

Do whatever you can

For whoever can

Whenever you can

Wherever you are…

Peace.