Thursday, February 18, 2010


In times of overwhelming danger, in times of overwhelming every-dayness, in times when I have to make a decision or face a fear or walk away from something "too big for me," I need a diet of in-couragement. No, that is not a typographical error. The world seeks to be encouraged, "you can do it," but God seeks to place in our hearts His presence which produces courage within, "I am with you." There is a huge difference.
More often than not, we seek deliverance through a change in difficult circumstances. Indeed, deliverance from the LORD can mean at times pulling us out of the miry bog just in the nick of time. But for the most part, deliverance from the LORD is not dependent on a change in our situation, but a change in our hearts.
Deliverance from the LORD is seeing what God does in the midst of a troubling situation, even a place where you would not dare tread. God specializes in unlikely leaders, as seen throughout the Bible. And in each of those cases, their courage comes from God alone. God did not pluck Moses from the wilderness, but parted the Red Sea. We all have Red Seas in our lives.
Is our prayer to God "help me!" or "get me outta here!"? We are all in scary places. It is not a matter of getting your shield in place, but getting yourself behind God's. Over and over again, God reminds us, "I am your shield," (Genesis 15.1), "My shield is with God," (Psalm 7.10), "He is a shield..." (Proverbs 2.7). At the beginning of each day, get your shield in place and realize that it is not your own.
From what do we seek courage? Easy situations? Self-help books? Oprah? Cute little needlepoint sayings?
Or the Creator of the Universe?
"Be strong and of good courage, and do it. Fear not, be not dismayed, for the LORD God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you..." (1 Chronicles 28.20)
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1.9)
"Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth." (Psalm 124.8)
These verses are not mantras to be repeated to psych yourself up, but the very Words of God to be woven into your life. The Scriptures are laden with His courage for you. And in the midst of that valley or on the edge of a cliff or surrounded by wilderness, you will see the hand of God and experience His in-couragement: "We don't know what to do, but our eyes are upon You." (2 Chronicles 20.12)

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