Be Strong and Courageous! Who, Me?

So many places in the bible it mentions to be strong and be courageous. I’m thinking that that’s fine for those involved in actual warfare, but I’m not fighting in any battles, right? I’m not doing anything dangerous, right?

Right – but what is it God has asked me to do? And am I doing it?

God has asked me to pray for my family, my children and my husband. He’s asked me to pray for our finances, our home life, the future in laws that I haven’t met, and those I have met. He’s asked me to pray for future decisions, for spiritual guidance, for every step of my way. Have I?

Well, sure, at one time or another. But do I do it continually? Do I bring my worries, fears, anxieties to him every day, every moment of every day? Maybe I need to be stronger willed (oh, my mommy doesn’t want that to happen!) in setting my heart and my mind to God for everything in life, all the time. Maybe its too easy to worry or fret or complain than it is to take it to God and leave it there. Maybe I’m not strong enough to trust in God for everything in my life. Maybe I’m not courageous enough.

What else has God called me to do? My pastor talked today on strengths and weaknesses. He said that our strengths are usually intertwined with our weaknesses. He said we need to tweak our strengths to make our weaknesses smaller. My particular gift is encouragement. I can feel things or know things I didn’t really know that would encourage someone. So, if I’m paying attention to God and his timing, his purpose and his voice, then I can actually make a difference in someone’s life.

That sounds really cool, doesn’t it. But it also means I know exactly what to say to really hurt someone too. That’s not so nice.

It also means that I’m a bit prone to depression. I have problems expressing myself, or asking for help, and spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. This leads to depression. Basically, spending all my time not listening to God, asking for God’s help or thinking of other people and the other things I could be doing. Why? I do it because I lack strength and courage.

So, some of the verses I had coming at me today were:

I write down verses in my remember book – a spiral binder of notecards – that I keep in my car. Then everyday when I get in my car I read yesterday’s verses and todays verses. So, today I read:

Deut 20:3-4 He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”

Josh 1:9 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.”

2 Cor. 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

So I’m thinking about these things and checking my notebook at church and find this scripture drawing my attention:

2 Cor. 4:8-9 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

So after the sermon about strength and superheroes, samson and weakness, I go to the high school service (where my youngest sang with the band!) and get this one:

Heb 11:34 whose weakness was turned to strength

Heb 12: 1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God has asked me to be available spiritually and emotionally for those in need that he sends my way. I am to be strong to gain the spiritual strength for the trials ahead, and for each day’s troubles. I am to be courageous enough to believe that God fights for me, for my dreams, for my desires, for my wishes – that I can be used of God whether in programming or in web development or web design or in writing or speaking encouragement to his children.

I love what the leader of Lighthouse Ministries reads every time she becomes discouraged. I asked her to email it to me, because it really spoke to my heart. It comes from 2 Corinthians and one verse is from 1 Corinthians.

Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love compels us
And who is adequate/qualified for such a task as this?
Since God has given us this wonderful ministry – we never give up.
My gracious favor is all you need – my power works best in your weakness
As a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves but on God – who can raise the dead
We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God. It is not that we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves.
Our only power and success come from God
Now all Glory to God who is able, thru His mighty power at work within us to accomplish infinitely more than we can ask or think
Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever

So, this week, I will listen to God’s voice, I will remember to strenghen and encourage those around me and go to him when I get discouraged. Right? Okay, well, I’m going to set that as my goal this week.

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