Thursday, January 4, 2018

Courageous New Year!

Welcome to January 2018! Can you believe it's a new year already?

For me 2017 was both ridiculously hard and full of amazing blessings at the same time. I'm learning not to expect life to be all awful or all wonderful. Most of the time life is a mix of good things and trials, heartache and beautiful moments.

While I really hope 2018 is mostly filled with good things and wonderful moments, I realize there will probably be challenges, difficulties, and struggle.

So how do we begin a new year recognizing both hope and reality?

God's word to me this week was from Joshua 1.

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
-Joshua 1:6-9

God gave Joshua amazing promises! God declared that the land was theirs (vv. 2-3). He said no one would be able to stand against them (v. 5). He promised to be with them (v. 5).

But Joshua and the Israelites still had to fight the battles. So God gave Joshua a repeated phrase - be strong and courageous.

There was no need to fear. But there was need to be courageous. Interesting thought.

That's what I've heard God speaking to me. Courage.

Courage comes from knowing the truth about who God is and who He says we are.
Courage operates by faith, not sight.
Courage is willingness to do the hard things in every step of obedience.
Courage knows there are battles to fight, but the victory is already assured.

It's only January 3, and I've already been fighting my share of battles. In the midst of one, I received this text message from a friend:

"There is no victory without a fight. The fiercer the battle, the sweeter the victory. Courage, dear one!"

As I read it, I began to cry. God knows the battles I'm fighting. And He sent me the words I needed in that moment, the words of en-couragement - to give me courage once again. Courage grows in the presence of Jesus.

Joshua did live with courage. He did see the faithfulness of God one battle at a time. He did see victory after victory. He did see God's promises fulfilled!

As we begin 2018, I pray that whatever happens this year, our lives would be filled with supernatural courage. Jesus has already won every victory for us! I believe my friend is right, that over the fiercest battles, God will give victories sweeter than we believed possible. Glory to His name!

So courageous new year to you, my friends!

And don't forget to share sometime about the victories God gives you. I'd love to rejoice and celebrate with you! =)

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