April 17, 2017
When our daughter Dominique was about four years old, we took her to Dairy Queen to see the Easter Bunny. On the way, she filled with excitement and I was pumped to see her smiling with joy. We walked in and saw exactly what I expected, a 6-foot tall Easter Bunny. But poor Dominique was terrified, because she was expecting a little six-inch Easter Bunny. She was afraid the oversized bunny was going to attack her with those big bunny teeth. She cried and didn’t take her eyes off him for one second … never even touched her beloved ice cream. After seeing her so frightened and knowing she was unable to warm up to the mutant Easter Bunny, we left pretty quickly.
I wouldn’t bring my daughter to a dangerous event. I knew the mutant bunny was benign. But from Dominique’s perspective, danger was written all over this event. Now at age 24, she realizes the truth. We’ve all experienced fear and discouragement at times. In today’s scripture, God is speaking to Joshua, telling him to be strong and courageous. “Do not be afraid or discouraged.” How can this be possible? Well, it is all about perspective. God’s versus ours.
You see, Joshua was faced with the tremendous responsibility of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, conquering the land, and setting up residence for a whole nation of people. There would be times of defeat … great challenges … biting criticism … a nutty group of fickle followers … and immense frustration. Yet God told him not to be fearful or discouraged … “because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
What a wonderful promise! As we submit to God, making Jesus Lord of our lives, we, too, can be sure that He will be with us wherever we go. He will protect us, comfort us, defend us, teach us, guide us, and love us unconditionally. No matter how bleak things may look, or what challenges or sorrows we may face, we can know that our heavenly Father is with us. And as we trust Him and walk in obedience, He will work all things together for our good and growth.
Are you afraid or discouraged right now? Perhaps you don’t feel as though God is with you. Unfortunately, Satan excels at coming between you and God, distracting you with other impostors. His ability to push your emotional buttons is uncanny and disrupting. But the good news is, although feelings can lie … God’s promises are always true. The more you believe His promises and adopt His perspective, the less fear and doubt you’ll have, and the more peace and power you’ll enjoy.
Today, no matter what your circumstances, you can be strong and courageous. Think about the source of your confidence as you engage in your everyday activities. On what do you lean when the pressure ramps up? Does your confidence come from what you can do? If so, your confidence reservoir is pretty shallow and will soon run out. Your confidence needs to come from God … from His promises, teachings, and character. Our Decision-Making Curriculum is designed to help you see whether you are getting your confidence from yourself or God. It will also help you learn how to tap into God and the Holy Spirit for true confidence and empowerment. Whether you get your confidence from God or you get it from your limited understanding is your decision, so choose well.
My Father and Lord, Thank You that I can always count on You. Even though I don’t always sense Your presence, help me to remember Your promise – that You are always with me. Help me to focus on You, not on the circumstances. Help me to be strong and courageous. I know my courage and my confidence can only really come from You. Help me to lean on Your strength and let You be the Rock for my foundation. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who teaches us how to be strong and courageous, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28