Scripture Reading: Courage

Courage is faith in action. We are called to step out in faith, regardless of opposition. Please join me for August Scripture Reading: Courage.

scripture reading courage
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I need courage. I’m terrified at failing at this blog. Deep down, I wonder if I’m tough enough to handle all the crazy curveballs parenthood throws. Did I ever mention that my marriage to Dan is actually my second marriage? Yup, my first marriage failed after he left me for another woman. I get sick to my stomach if I entertain the possibility of this one ever failing. Here is another big secret – I’m in the market for new mom tribe, but too scared to actually go out and make friends. Right now, my husband is unemployed and I don’t work. God has promised us a job and we are trusting in him to provide. I need courage.

Don’t we all need a little courage? We all have things that we either too scared to set out and do or situations that leave us cowered in a corner. We need courage. Well, we’re blessed because Christ provides it. The bible is full of examples of courage.

Joshua & Caleb

One of my favorite stories about courage in the bible is about Joshua and Caleb, two of the twelve spies sent to scout the promise land. Here we find the people of Israel, they’ve been led out of Egypt and finally they found themselves at the threshold of their new home. The spies came back with a report and proof of plentifulness of the land. “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is the fruit.” There was just one catch. The current inhabitants were formidable and giant. “We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so were in their sight.”

That was all the people of Israel needed to hear. They immediately became despondent and began to whine and complain. After all they had suffered they were overwhelmed by the thought of having another obstacle in front of them. Even though God had promised to give them the land and victory, the Israelites began to rebel. Only Joshua and Caleb remained faithful – and God was watching.

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors.

God ordered that all the non-believers over the age of twenty to remain in the wilderness. Those over twenty, along with Joshua and Caleb were permitted to enter. The disobedience of the Israelites cost them their promised land.

Choose Courage

I like to think of courage as the physical manifestation of faith. In other words, courage is faith in action. Throughout scripture God encourages us to “fear not” and ” be courageous.” He tells us “do not be discouraged.” Courage is how we obey those commands. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is feeling fear and doing it anyway.

Faith is a choice. We choose to either take God at his word or disbelieve him. God never lies. So when he says he will not leave or forsake us, we can count on that. If he promises a victory, he will ensure a win. When he promises to provide, we won’t go hungry.

Peter and John

After the death of Christ, the apostles continued performing miracles in the name of Jesus. John and Peter are subsequently arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, the very council of holy men responsible for crucifying Christ. First they are interrogated. Then the Sanhedrin forbade them from healing in the name of Jesus Christ. In holy courage, Peter and John stand up against the council and stand in faith refusing to stop. The Sanhedrin, faced with the healed man and a growing crowd of support for Peter and John, agree to release the apostles. As a Christian, you can expect to be told to stay silent or reject the teachings of Christ.

Of all heroes in scripture, I find Paul the most inspiring. Paul faced numerous threats of imprisonment (Acts 20:23, 21:11) and death (Acts 20:3, 23:12-14) and refused to yield. In fact, Paul wrote about half the New Testament imprisoned, surrounded by a sewer. During his imprisonment he even dared to evangelize to his captors (Acts 23:1-10, 24:21-26, 26:32, 28:30-31). Regardless of circumstances, he reminds us we are “more than conquerors.” This kind of steadfast courage is not generated by the flesh, but rather manifested by the Holy Spirit.

Pray everyday for God to bless you with holy courage.

Courage & Conviction

Don’t think that persecution was only in the time of Christ. Christians today are facing immense opposition. The world (society at large) will always try to promote and normalize sin. Christians should not only remain obedient to God’s word, but to continue to speak light into the world. However, this is both unwelcome and unpopular. Christians can expect to ridiculed, humiliated, ostracized, and mocked for our beliefs. In these moments, we will have to find holy courage to remain convicted. Jesus told us that most of the world is fleshly and on a path to destruction. Doing the right thing is a lonely road. Most of the world, won’t agree with you.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

When we endure humiliation or persecution for His sake, we should remember that we have the great reward of heaven. Earthly persecution is temporary.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:10

Scripture Reading: Courage

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Trusting God In Tough Times

Trusting God in tough times is hard, but I’m here to share some hope on how to keep your focus on the Lord and his blessings that are coming your way.

Trusting God in Tough times
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Trusting God in tough times is one of the hardest things we will have to overcome as Christians. Worry is a symptom from doubting God. If we believe that he will sort out of problems and make good on his promises, there is no reason to worry. If we believe he is omnipotent and has control over all circumstances, we shouldn’t grapple with trust. And yet…we do.

A Hitch While Getting Hitched

When I was getting married, my husband wanted a cookie cake as his groom’s cake. I tried ordering it advance, but the store told me the soonest I could order it would be two days in advance. So, I went down to order it two days before my wedding. I asked for a cookie cake with a Collegiate block ‘O’ written in Scarlett and grey. The man behind the counter just stared blankly at me as I continued describing it. I even drew it out on a piece of paper. He then said, it might not be him that makes it and he had no idea how to leave the drawing for the next person. I left frustrated and in tears.

I called my maid of honor and started crying. With all the things I had to do for the wedding over the next 48 hours, I was totally stressed over the potential of disappointing my new husband over a groom’s cake. I sobbed. She listened. Then she said calmly, “I don’t want you to worry about this anymore. I will take care of it. Even if I have to bake it myself, it will be there. Enjoy your wedding and don’t worry about this anymore.”

Ensuing Peace

I can’t even begin to describe how I felt. The burden had been lifted and I totally believed with all my heart that she would fix it. I trusted her to make it right. And…I stopped worrying about it. Sure enough, on my wedding day, there was a huge cookie cake, decorated with the block O, sitting there right next to my tiered wedding cake.

I realize this could have ended differently. But my point is the peace I felt knowing it was her problem and not mine anymore. This should be the same peace we feel when we shift our problems over for God to deal with.

I get it. Our problems are often bigger than a wedding cake. We suffer life altering things like divorce, death, chronic illnesses, job loss, and financial woes. I get it – but so does God. Scripture calls him compassionate. He knows what you’re facing and he is compassionate towards you.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in every way as we are yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

Why We Can’t Find Peace

We can’t see God face to face and that causes us to wrestle with faith. Even the disciples struggled to believe after witnessing miracles of Christ. Remember Peter on the water? When Jesus called him to walk on water with him he started to sink. Why? He started to doubt.

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

Matthew 14:31

It is in our very nature to doubt. We’ve got serious trust issues! This is why it is so important to recount the times God has come to your rescue. I keep a prayer journal (war binder) with all my answered prayers. It proves to me that God is listening – or more to the point, that he cares an answers prayers.

Trusting God in Tough Times

Set Your Mind on Higher Things

Too often we tend to dwell on what is wrong, rather than what is right. This is why Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8 to purposely reset our minds.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

Philippians 4:8
perfect peace

The Psalmist echoes Paul. He tells us how to trust in one simple sentence – by turning your thoughts often to the Lord. That means when doubt and worry start to creep in, you immediately turn to God for reassurance. His promises in scripture is the reassurance he has left for us. We deliberately need to choose to think of good things instead of our problems. The more you worry, the more your fear will grow.

Gratitude

One thing is certain, after this problem, you will face another. Such is life. There will always be something about which to grumble and complain. Again, focusing on what is good, will make you feel better – and there is always something for which to be grateful. Gratitude grows contentment and joy. Spend time praising God and I promise you’ll feel better. I love reading the Psalms. The Psalmist laments and cries out to God about his troubles, but then immediately praises God for being God. He encourages himself in the Lord, our savior. Magnify God, not your problems.

In every circumstance give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

There won’t always be someone to cheer you up or encourage you. It might be the friend, spouse, or parent, with which you have trouble. You can’t rely on imperfect people to be your “well.” Draw from the well that never runs dry! Learn to encourage yourself in God’s goodness.

Shift Responsibility

You are limited. God is limitless. He is both powerful and mighty. He can take on any mess. Make it his problem to fix. Let him shoulder the burden of working out the kinks. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. When you know every mystery in the universe and control all circumstances, our problems aren’t a surprise. Wreckage and ruble is easy to clean up when you’re the creator of the entire world.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

A yoke is a wooden beam fastened to oxen (one older, one younger), to pull heavy weight in pairs. If the young oxen tires, the older one will bear most of the weight. Jesus invites you to share your heavy burden with him. Fasten yourself to him and let him take on the weight of your troubles. To him it is easy and light to bear. Also, the analogy of the yoke does not promise the burden will disappear, rather we are to walk in step with him and he will carry us through.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.

Psalm 4:8

In Conclusion

If you are struggling with trust, faith, or anxiety or worry, I encourage you to read my other posts:

Thank you for taking the time to read Trusting God in Tough Times, with me. If you are going through a hard time and are burdened with worry I’d like to pray over you.

Lord, thank you for inviting us to share our burden with you. Please help my friend, who is struggling with believing that things will get better. Bless them with the gift of faith and trust. Assuage their anxiety and worry and help them cast their care onto you and you alone. Thank you for always showing us compassion and mercy. Even though we don’t understand why this happening, we give thanks to you and know you are working it out for our good. Amen.

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March Scripture Reading: Anxiety & Fear

Anxiety and fear are two emotions constantly clawing their way into our minds. Battle those negative feelings with March Scripture Reading: Anxiety & Fear

March scripture reading

Spiritual Amnesia

There is something unique about fear, anxiety, and worry. It creates in us spiritual amnesia. We forget about all the times God has rescued us in the past. We fail to remember that God has worked out our problems again and again. Fear creates spiritual amnesia. In other words, we forget how good God really is! But don’t think you’re alone. The apostles went through it too.

Jesus Calms The Storm

I love the book Fearless by Max Lucado. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. The first chapter uses a bible story we all know very well – Jesus calming the storm. The story can be found in three of the four gospels. Each one says Jesus is asleep in the boat and stays asleep even as a great storm arises. Why is he asleep? Because He’s in control of it! Our “storms” don’t scare Him. Furthermore, there is something unique in the gospel of Mark. As waves crash into the boat, the apostles cry out in fear.

“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

As Lucado points out, these men have been traveling with Jesus for years. By this time, they have seen Him cast out demons and heal the blind. He has raised Lazarus from the dead and fed a crowd of 5,000 with just a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. And yet, as soon as they were fearful, the spiritual amnesia sets in. It’s like they totally forget that He is Lord. They don’t ask Him to calm the storm. Instead, they question his character. “Don’t you care if we drown?” And don’t we do the same? When fear overtakes us, don’t we forget that He is Lord and in control of it all?

Our Small Prayers

The truth is, we limit God with our prayers. Allow me to share something deeply personal. My husband and I are currently going through a season of anxiety and fear. In August, my husband will be losing his job. His employer is closing down his office. Currently, we are scrambling to find an engineering job, but in particular one that will not uproot us from my hometown.

So I began praying, asking God to send us something here that would match his salary. After a few weeks of praying, God revealed truth to me. – one that I had forgotten. I was limiting God by my prayer. I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask God for what we specifically want, but we limit God when we do so.

You Do Not Have, Because You Do Not Ask

Read what the apostle Paul writes :

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Boldly! Some translations say “confidently.” To be confident means with no doubt. That is the first point I want to make – that we can confidently go directly to God and ask for help and be assured that He will indeed help us.

But wait, it gets better. One of my favorite verses in the bible is Ephesians 3:20. This verse is why I say we limit God with our prayer. Ephesians 3:20 is why we should pray “Your will be done, Lord.” Here is the truth: Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,”

Ephesians 3:20

That’s right. God can do more for you than you can possibly imagine. Even better, He wants to! And if you don’t believe me, read John 10:10: A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

This doesn’t just mean in heaven. Eternity has already started, my friend. His will is the best for you! It’s bigger and better than you can imagine. When you get scared or anxious, don’t run away. Instead, run to God and listen to Him comfort you in these scriptures.

Scripture Reading Anxiety & Fear

This month, I’d love for you to join me in scripture reading, anxiety and fear. I pray these verses bring your peace and remember that God loves you, He is in control and wants the best for you.

Anxiety & Fear

Colossians 3:15
Mark 5:36
1 Peter 3:14
Deuteronomy 3:22
Zephaniah 3:17
Psalm 34:7
Isaiah 35:4
Psalm 55:22
Proverbs 12:25
1 Peter 5:6-8
Psalm 56:3
Romans 8:38-39
Revelation 1:17
Exodus 14:14
Psalm 118:6Isaiah 41:10
Philippians 4:6-7
Isaiah 35:4
Psalm 34:4
Proverbs 3:5-6
Luke 12:22
John 14:1
Joshua 1:9
2 Timothy 1:7
Isaiah 41:10
John 14:1
Psalm 94:19
Jeremiah 17:7-8
Matthew 11:28-30
John 14:27
Psalm 23

In the comment section below, please tell me how I can pray for you in this season of anxiety & fear and I’ll add you to my prayer list.

Join me next month for April’s Scripture Reading: Grief and Depression. Also, if you missed it, see also February’s Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness