November 9, 2015

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

This is certainly a magnificent command/promise, and it bears analysis. Fear is a major tool of the devil, and faith is the ultimate weapon against it. The devil peppers us with “what if?” scenarios, and we need to respond with the contents of this verse: my God is with me. As God said to Paul, His grace is all we need. (2 Corinthians 12:9) That’s a truth the devil desperately wants to hide from us! As has been well said, courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s moving forward in the face of fear. Accordingly, faith is the ultimate foundation for courage, because when we have faith that our Lord is greater than our circumstances, we aren’t defeated by our circumstances. (1 John 4:4) We don’t see the future, but if we fix our eyes on the One who holds the future, we can have peace. Atheists would say that this is all a matter of mind tricks, of self-hypnosis, if you will. The human mind is capable of amazing things, but God has given it to us to be submitted to Him, and thus be a tool of blessing. When the mind is given over to the devil, nothing good comes of it. Some translations of the Bible use the term, “reprobate mind,” in Romans 1:28. What a waste! How we use our minds is a choice. If we dwell on the negative – physically, emotionally, morally – we will reap negative results. As Jesus said, sin starts in the heart. (Matthew 15:19) When our minds and hearts are fully given over to Jesus, we are courageous indeed!

This is intensely personal at the moment, as my wife is experiencing “rebound pain” from her nerves after her surgery that is more intense than what she had before the surgery. Just reminding her that the doctor said this was likely was a help to her, because the devil was having no trouble presenting negative scenarios to her mind! I must not make her feel put down for that, but come alongside her and encourage her to keep her eyes on Jesus. I am reminded of what Peter is said to have called out to his wife as she was being crucified, just before he was: “Remember Jesus!” I can’t bear Cathy’s pain for her, as much as I would like to, but I can and do stand with her in prayer, so that she may receive the full measure of the grace that she needs right now, for God’s glory.

Father, I do pray for Cathy, and I thank You that Your grace is sufficient. I pray that You would enable her to lift her eyes from herself in spite of her pain and rest in You, so that Your good plans for her may be fulfilled, for her blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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