Yesterday I started to share some thoughts from a sermon I gave a while back. You can (if you really want to make me happy) read part 1 here. I am quite aware that many of us are going through transitions, some planned, some not. I’m hoping that I can encourage you with the truth of God’s overwhelming love and goodness. Blessings, Jay
From Joshua 1: 3-9
Joshua is in transition…his mentor, his leader is gone, the pressures, the contractions of leadership are squeezing him. In this moment God speaks three things…Promise, direction and new life. Yesterday we started off with Promise…today is:
Direction (verses 7-8)
Straight ahead, right before you is the way. The Word of God is the path.
When you are squeezed…don’t turn away, observe my words and your path will be prosperous.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105
“So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
This is what will strengthen our faith and courage: attention to God's word. His Word brings perspective and focus. During my wife’s transitions I would speak to her, my words helped her to focus…even through the pain of the contractions.
New Life (verse 9)
Be strong and courageous…3 times God commands Joshua and (I believe) is speaking a new way of living life for Him. He adds…do not be afraid or be dismayed and here’s a really kool thing. The Hebrew word for dismayed means “to break down from fear”. The fact that God will not leave or forsake us produces life in us. The courage that springs from that helps us “not to break down from fear” and give up in time of transition. This is new life, not bound to fear but to a victorious walk.
What does it mean to be strong and courageous?
For me it’s to be strong in to be rooted in God’s truth and what God says
The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn you.”
To me courage is more the absence of me…than just the absence of fear. When we are set free from fear, we are finally free to lo live. We can gather courage from His promise that He will never leave or forsake us. It moves us beyond…well, US! And more importantly, towards the Father’s will. It’s this Scripture fleshed out.
“For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1
Transitions are hard…the contractions of life will squeeze us…but faith will see us through. And in the midst of transitions, Jesus speaks shalom.
“Shalom I leave with you, my shalom I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid”
May I pray for you…for us?
Give us your shalom peace, walk through the walls of my heart where fear lives and put me at rest. Help me gain perspective in the middle of transition and difficult circumstances. I need your shalom to focus on your truths and walk in them. To trust in the promise, the direction and the new life you have for us.