Encouragement for Today
“A Bottle of Encouragement”
Susanne Scheppmann, Co-editor of Online Devotions, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Joshua 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." (NIV)
Do you ever fear where your next path in life might lead? I do. Recently I struggled to determine which path God wanted me to take in serving Him. One lazy, late Sunday afternoon, I took some time to sit outside and bask in the setting orange-pink sunset. Discouragement crept in. I moped about decisions and dilemmas that I faced. Then I began to flip through the pages of my Bible and began to browse through Joshua 1.
As I read, I realized how frightened Joshua must have been when he looked across the dry desert plain. Consider the thousands of Israelites he needed to lead to the Promised Land. After Moses died, Joshua's position required him to make the essential decision to lead the Israelites into enemy territory. Suddenly, my own dilemmas didn’t seem so big.
God in His mercy used the same words of encouragement for me as He did with Joshua. God told Joshua three times, “Be strong and courageous.” In fact, one time God said, “Be strong and very courageous. . . Do not be terrified; do be discouraged but the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:6-9, NIV).
As I stood up and stretched, I felt comforted. I knew that whatever direction my life path took, I could be courageous. I knew the Lord, my God, would be with me wherever I went.
One week later, I attended the She Speaks! Conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries. As part of the staff, I had the privilege of attending a pre-conference session. As each of us arrived, we spied a basket of beautiful swirled glass bottles with a sheet of parchment inside. We were instructed to pick one bottle to take back to the hotel with us that evening. Our leader said, “Each bottle has a different Bible verse in it. It is our prayer that each of you will be blessed by a meaningful verse that will speak to your individual hearts.”
As what often happens in a conference atmosphere, more life-questions surfaced in my mind. My head churned with the thoughts, so many ministry needs, so little time, so many directions and so few resources. Both my head and my feet hurt as I treaded back to my room with the tortuous high heels in my hand. As I opened the door, I spied my verse still waiting in the unopened bottle sitting on the hotel nightstand. I gently pulled the paper from my own handpicked urn and read my message in the bottle.
“ . . . Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed,
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9, NASB)
Encouragement swept through my soul. I smiled to myself and to the Father. He is aware and in control of everything!
My Prayer for Today:
Father God, remind me time and time again that You are in control. I do not need to be anxious about my path in life. My fretting is futile because You are in complete control. You know the desires and needs of every area of my life. I praise You for going with me wherever I go. Thank You for the encouragement and the reminder. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Read Joshua 1. Underline in red pencil every time you see the words, “Be strong and courageous”. List a few things you need to be strong and courageous about in your life. Then ask the Lord to remind you, “The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Do I believe God is aware of my circumstances?
Can I rely on the Father even when my questions seem to remain unanswered?
How has God proved Himself to be fully in control of my life?
Psalm 46:10-11, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.” (NASB)
Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (NIV)
Judges 6:12, “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." (NIV)
Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst
Journey of a Woman’s Heart (4-tape set), by Renee Swope
The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Friday, 07 October 2005.