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Driving down the road last week, seeing the price of fuel on the BP signboard, I thought "Jesus, I need fresh courage for the future". Hearing the news from Eastern Europe, I thought "Jesus, we need fresh courage for the future".
Courage: the strength to persevere, to act in the face of danger, discomfort or difficulty. To be willing to let go of the familiar. There is so much we cannot control, and we need courage to commit to moving forward, with confidence in a God who holds the future!
EVERYTHING WORTHWHILE IN LIFE REQUIRES COURAGE.
Visiting a church for the first time requires courage. Coming back to church after two years away requires courage. It takes courage to say "I'm sorry". It takes courage to forgive. To start something new. To ask someone out on a date. To wrestle with addiction. To face sickness. To get baptized. To come humbly before God. Everything worthwhile in life requires courage.
Think through what you know of history, of the people you admire. What would the world be without courageous decisions that change destinies?
Maya Angelou said that courage is the greatest virtue a person can have. Yet, it is far to often overshadowed by something darker, scarier and powerful - FEAR. We fear all kinds of things: rejection, failure, pain, discomfort, suffering, change, losing what we have worked hard to gain. Fear can become a barrier that stops us from moving forward.
FEAR SHOULD BE A BRIDGE, NOT A BARRIER!
Courage, is not the absence of fear, but courage is the choice to move forward in the face of fear. Fear should be a bridge to walk over into the future, rather than a barrier.
Courage is a choice, and COURAGE CAN BE CULITVATED The more you choose to be courageous, the more courageous you become. So much can be accomplished in one moment of courage. And I believe God wants you to be courageous!
Joshua 2 tells the story of Rahab and the spies. Here are two big thoughts from this power packed passage.
THE PERSPECTIVE YOU HOLD DETERMINES THE COURAGE YOU HAVE
This is second time spies go into the land. The first time, was forty or so years before. At that time, the report focused heavily on the people in the land, rather than God's promise of the land.
Numbers 13:33 We even saw the Nephilim there — the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim! To ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and we must have seemed the same to them.”
This time, the spies focus on Gods PROMISE of the land rather than on the PEOPLE that are in the land, and almost as an afterthought, they add that the people in the land are panicked. Joshua 2:24 They told Joshua, “The LORD has handed over the entire land to us. Everyone who lives in the land is also panicking because of us.”
In the two accounts, it us the SAME land. The SAME people. The SAME promise. And DIFFERENT perspective.
If our perspective we hold of ourselves is that we are shameful, insignificant, a failure - the courage that we have will run out. If our perspective we hold is God's, that we are overcomers, righteous, loved - our courage will grow!
Perhaps it's time to see things from a different perspective?
Sometimes it's not the things in front of us that stop us from moving forward. Sometimes it’s the things behind us that hold us back.
YOUR PAST DOESN'T DISQUALIFY YOU FROM GOD'S PURPOSE
Sometimes it prepares you… Rahab the proustite. The one with a label, a past, a reputation.
She does what is necessary:
She RECOGNIZES something is happening, God is doing something, and she aligns herself with that as best as she knows how. I know that the LORD has given you this land... The LORD your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.
She does what is possible:
She acts… not perfectly… not fully understanding, but she courageously, at great risk to herself, she hides the spies and lies to the King of Jericho. Then asks them to spare her, and her family.
She does something that seems impossible
She puts her trust in their promise, and she and her family are saved. She goes on to find a husband and start a family. And Rahab the proustite becomes the great grandparent of Kind David, because she courageously aligned herself with what God was doing!
Matthew 1:5-6 Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse, 6 and Jesse fathered King David.
First do what is necessary, then do what is possible, and before long you will find yourself doing the impossible. – Francis of Assisi –
Rahab is mentioned again in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 where she is commended for her faith and action.
No matter what your story has been, God invites you to believe in him for salvation and live out that faith through action.
This is not a story about good or bad behavior but about faith and belief. It is the a story of redemption, of courageous decisions that cut off pasts and change destinies. It is the story of the Gospel.
The first Joshua (Yeshua) sends his forerunners and the go to the outcast, broken. She find salvation, and is used in a powerful way to change lives now and for eternity.
She is saved by putting her faith in a promise that by marking her household with a thread of scarlet.
The second Yeshua (Jesus) - goes to the sinners, tax collectors, the beyond broken. They find forgiveness and salvation by putting their faith in promise that by marking their lives with the blood of Jesus.
Do what is necessary - recognize the Kingdom of God is advancing and there is an invitation for you part for you to be part of it.
Do what is possible - ask God for forgiveness and salvation, and put your faith in His promise by marking your live with the blood of Jesus
And you will find God doing the impossible - bringing you to life, setting you free, cutting off your past and opening a new future.
What courageous decision lies before you that needs to be taken today?