June 7, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Blessed is (she) whose strength is in Thee: in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca (weeping) make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength…O Lord of hosts, blessed is (she) that trusteth in Thee.”
Psalm 84: 5-7, 12
“If I stoop
Into the dark, tremendous sea of cloud,
It is but for a time; I press God’s lamp
Close to my breast -- its splendor soon or late
Will pierce the gloom; I shall emerge one day.”
Today’s Study Text:
“According to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Joshua son of Nun.”
1 Kings 16: 34
“So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.”
Joshua 6: 27
“God’s Word Stands Forever” Part 4
“Having courage for the long haul means embracing God’s love in the face of unrelenting difficulty.”
Is there an event in my life which calls for God’s empowering gift of courage to fill my life?
What does it mean to me to face life’s challenges courageously?
“If God is on our side, who can ever be against us?”
Romans 8: 31
The Living Bible
“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”
Joshua 1: 7, R.S.V.
“The first step of courage isn’t taken in the midst of a battle, it’s taken when you’re willing to walk onto the battlefield and face the unknown.”
Steven Curtis Chapman
Over the last few days, we have studied the way God kept His word, a word He gave to His courageous servant, Joshua.
We’ve found that when King Ahab and his cohort, Hiel the Bethelite, decided to “erase the word of God,” and pretend it was of no value by rebuilding the walls of Jericho, the curse God had pronounced came true, just as God said it would. As explained by M. B. Van’t Veer, “Ahab was deliberately trying to silence God’s Word, just as he was deliberately opposing the Word when he built a temple for Baal and introduced the worship of Astarte. The rebuilding of Jericho was a wanton offense against the Lord’s honor, an offense entirely in line with Ahab’s deliberate provocation of Israel’s God…Ahab and Hiel declared, “The rebuilt walls will proclaim the greatness and honor and independence of man.”
This attempt to wipe out the word of God, called forth the need for men and women of courage. Down through history, God has needed His children to be people who would step forward when He calls.
In 1902, a baby was born in Coatbridge, Scotland. At a very young age, Peter had a burden laid on his heart to become a minister. Even though he had no money, at the age of twenty-three, he left Scotland to make America his new home. After pastoring several churches in Georgia, he became pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. and in 1937 he was appointed twice as U.S. Senate Chaplain. Peter Marshall’s biography was penned by his widow, Catherine Marshall and later made into an Oscar-nominated film, A Man Called Peter.
Peter Marshall’s legacy lives because he was a man whose courage took him onto God’s battlefield as he upheld, with heavenly courage, the values of right and wrong. One of the most touching prayers he offered on the U.S. Senate floor has thankfully, been preserved and it is so appropriate for our study today on the virtue of courage:
“O God our Father, let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen. While time is running out, save us from patience which is akin to cowardice. Give us the courage to be either hot or cold, to stand for something, lest we fall for anything. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”
Unfortunately, from the time in the Bible when Joshua led the children of Israel on a valiant and courageous attack against the Canaanite stronghold of Jericho, to a point in history, over 500 years later, when King Ahab tried to wipe out the worship of the Almighty with the gods of Baal, we witness God’s children, the Israelites, in such moral decline that indeed, they stood up for so little that they fell for anything. And it was at this moment when a courageous man, Elijah, answered God’s call and courageously stepped onto the battlefield and took a stand for righteousness, no matter the personal cost.
“Father, hear the prayer we offer,
Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever,
Live our lives courageously.”
Love Maria Willis
A Prayer For Courage
“God make me brave for Life
Oh, braver than this!
Let me straighten after pain,
As a tree straightens after the rain,
Shining and lovely again.
God make me brave for Life,
Much braver than this!
As the blown grass lifts, let us rise
From sorrow with quiet eyes,
Knowing Thy way is wise.
God make me brave – Life brings
Such blinding things,
Help me to keep my sight,
Help me to see aright
That out of the dark comes Light.”
Grace Noll Crowell
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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