Psalm 27:13-14 (Amplified)
[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.
There is a strong connection between a brave heart and confident hope in the Lord. I took to the streets as I often do when unruly thoughts attempt to overtake the Truth in my head. Walking has become a place of sanctuary as I listen to praise and worship preparing my heart to enter His Presence and then meet Him face-to-face. Thank God that He has a come-as-you-are policy that allows me to enter in sweaty, out-of-breath, broken and afraid because He opens the door gladly every time. There are times we must literally subdue our flesh in order to break through into the Lord’s Presence. Our flesh doesn’t want to go there and hear such words as “wait, endure and be patient.” So on such occasions, it is a person’s job to overcome the flesh to allow our spirit to connect with God’s Spirit. If you don’t believe me, then why do most people pray right before they fall asleep? Exhausted from a busy day, strength is weak and mind is shutting down and the Spirit speaks to us to connect with God. Never underestimate the power of your flesh or its need to be controlled. Lest I digress, my overwhelmed heart and out-of-control thoughts are the result of the upcoming PET scan for our son who is battling cancer for a fourth time. The last PET scan I wasn’t worried at all. His appearance, demeanor and health did not indicate what the doctors soon found to be true. So after four rounds of chemotherapy and a whole lot of prayer, it is time to look again. My flesh is telling my heart, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!” But my spirit reminds me of the Word of the Lord from the very beginning and through each battle, “My son will live and not die to proclaim the works of the Lord forever!” (Psalm 118:17) My heart is wrenched between confident hope and gripping fear. Where is the confident hope that I rely on? God wants me to have a brave heart. This was confirmed along the way as I prayed yesterday. A little bird walked on the sidewalk in front of me and I wondered why it did not fly away. When I got just close enough to touch it, it flew to the top of the road sign. As I read the words a smile overtook my stern expression as His Presence overtook me, the road was called “Brave Heart!”
God wants me to have a brave heart. Our journey in life no matter where it takes us is to discover His Love for us putting all our faith and trust in the Lord. This will become confident hope that leads to salvation as we love and trust Him more. We are not born with such a heart. It is developed over time with faith, hope and love. These three eternal qualities must take hold of our heart broken by sin and shame through repentance to make it something God can connect to. His Grace is sufficient in this process. His Mercy grants us the strength to make it through the gut-wrenching and life-changing process of repentance turned to redemption. It is not for the faint of heart. It defy every bit of logic and make absolutely no sense until you know the Word and connect with the Holy Spirit. To the watching world, you will be labeled a fool or lunatic as you turn your life over to Jesus Christ. But those who want to live a courageous life with a brave heart will make the sacrifice. Bravery is possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance. (Not surprising since the biggest fault of most believers is our inability to wait on the Lord.) It is making a fine appearance. It also means to be excellent or admirable. Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger and pain without fear. Faith flourishes in the absence of fear. Confident hope is the byproduct of flourishing faith. I have every reason to trust the Lord and not lean on my own understanding. Yet how many times do we trust the Lord until crunch time and then try to work it all out rather than waiting patiently and courageously for Him to come. My hand is raised!
Psalm 31:23-24 (NLT)
Love the LORD, all you godly ones! For the LORD protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant. So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!
To be strong and courageous requires putting all our eggs in one basket contrary to popular opinion. All of you who put your hope in the Lord will be strong and courageous. This is a process. I hate moving. I vowed when we moved from our previous home to this one that I would never move again. Although we had only lived in that house for a few years, we had added another person to our brood and mass accumulated a lot of stuff. Unlike I Dream of Genie, there was no wrinkle of the nose and the move complete, boxes unpacked and fully functioning household. No, there was chaos with five young children and two very exhausted adults. Walking by faith is a transference of living in this world to relying on the Lord to direct your steps. No longer do things operate on our own timeline but strictly in alignment with God’s. When we get to the end of our faith and run out of confident hope, things can get a little hairy as the war inside of us begins raging for control of the human heart. The Spirit of God whispers God’s Word including all of His Precious Promises while the enemy inflames our flesh yelling lies and taunts to delay and detour us by doubt. You can expect all hell to break loose in your life even when you walk by faith ESPECIALLY when you attempt to follow Jesus Christ. The enemy knows you are about to secure another victory which is just another nail in his coffin. Of course, he wants to stop you. He is desperately fighting a losing battle ready to take as many of God’s People with him as choose to live in doubt and fear draining all faith and hope until they are empty vessels. You have the Spirit of the Living God inside of you! You have everything you need to win the race and receive your reward as well as an inheritance reserved for all of God’s Children. You must simply be strong and courageous to finish the race and endure!
Joshua 1:5-9 (NLT)
“No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
These words are not for Joshua alone, but every man and woman who have the Holy Spirit inside of them. I will be with you as I was with Moses. In the Old Testament before the Cross when Jesus released His Spirit and Pentecost when people could receive His Spirit, God selected those who He would be with. He chose Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Joseph, and others to be faithful leaders and examples. But after Jesus Christ became our prime example, God put His Spirit in every person who called on the Name of the Lord to be saved. There is power hidden and locked away inside of you waiting to be released by faith and confident hope that produces a brave heart filled with courageous endurance. You can go the extra mile and not get winded. You can finish strong rather than barely getting by. You have no excuse but to be victorious if you will just invest a little time and energy in the process of strengthening your weak heart. How? Obey ALL of the Instructions set forth by God for a prosperous life. He is not trying to weigh you down with rules and regulations but set you free from every weight that so easily interrupts your pathway to victory. Compromise is deadly as it replaces God’s Best with what the world has to offer. If you stay true to the Word, Will and Way of God, you will be successful in everything that you do because God has already been there and prepared good things for you to enjoy. Any other route will lead to less than God’s Very Best, especially short cuts. You are not a sprinter, but were born to be a marathon runner. Train properly. Prepare for the long haul. Pace yourself. Let the Lord set your course. Do not be discouraged when it takes a little longer than expected. Do not be afraid when you do not see immediate results. Stick to the plan. Work it and God will work out every detail for good according to His Purpose which is complete perfection where you are concerned. Moses was an example of what God could do from the outside, but we have God’s Spirit living on the inside…imagine our true potential. (Hebrews 3:5-6)
Psalm 40:11-12 (NLT)
LORD, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles surround me—too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage.
God’s Mercy is new for us each morning. It is provided to sufficiently meet our needs throughout the day. (Lamentations 3:22-23) A brave heart is going to require a great deal of mercy because it is the same place that harbors sin. Repentance restores our hope. Sin only drains it. When having one of those days that it feels like sin is an overwhelming battle, repentance is a must. After repentance, it is God’s Mercy that fills the void and allows us to get moving again. Whatever we give to the Lord, immediately invokes an outpouring. He gives you something in return if you will receive it. By giving God faith, we receive confident hope. When we give Him our fears, He gives us strength and courage to go on. When we decide to relinquish doubt, we are empowered to not give up no matter how tough things are and how uncertain the future may seem. God is in the future. He will not withhold His Goodness from His Faithful Children. It is impossible as we give more and more of our life to Him, God’s Spirit fills it. He restores and renews us from the inside out. Giving us a heart after God’s Own Heart filled with confidence in His Ability to perfect that which concerns us. He gives us joy for our sorrows. He gives us healing for all our diseases. He gives us salvation in exchange for sin. What are you holding on to today that is keeping you from having a brave heart filled with courageous endurance? Give it to the Lord and He will give you exactly what you need to experience His Unfailing Love and Faithfulness now and forevermore.
Isaiah 57:14-15 (NLT)
God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: ”I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”
He's still working on me…To make me what I need to be…It took him just a week to make the moon and stars…The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars…How loving and patient He must be… 'Cause He's still workin' on me! How very thankful I am that He is definitely still working on me! The more that the Lord does the more I can see that needs to be done. I am undergoing a seemingly endless renovation effort by God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I want what God has for me…all of it. So with that in mind, I humbly submit to the Lord and ask Him to work it all out. But what can I do from this side to accomplish holiness, godliness and be all that the Lord has called me to be. Through repentance I can now gain access to God, so now I must work to clear away those things that keep me from Him. My life needs close inspection to remove those things that are hindrance to faith and obstacle of hope. When Jesus works on me from the inside out, I must clear the way from the outside in. You cannot meet the Lord living in darkness. We must do our part to be the Light in the dark. We are no longer subject to sin so must choose to walk out of it. Sin is so prevalent in the world in which we live sometimes we have trouble distinguishing the Truth from the lie. God’s Word is pivotal in discerning good from evil. It is very specific. We must live intentional lives to keep free from sin and every other weight that keeps from going deeper into the Presence of God. Rebuild the road. Clear away the rocks and stones to leave captivity. Live in the freedom that allows you to choose good over evil and walk boldly into the Presence of God without fear or doubt! It is such humility that God will restore you. It is with a repentant heart that He will give you the courage you need to endure until the end.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Hope in the Lord will NEVER lead to disappointment. Do you believe that today? You must attach your faith to this promise and hold on for dear life or actually a new life. You cannot compromise and expect good outcomes – it is simply not possible. But with God – all things are possible for those who believe. Belief is simply taking one’s faith and living it out. Problems and trials are simply exercise for your heart. God is strengthening you from the inside out. Will you remain committed to perfection or give up and throw in the towel? It is totally up to you. Endurance builds godly character as with each small win and taste of victory, we hunger and thirst for more. Character is not who we are born to be but the molding and shaping of our person by someone or something greater. Who are you like your mom or dad, grandma or grandpa? Or have you decided and purposed in your heart to be like Jesus? When you do your character is strengthened by confident hope of salvation that will never allow you to act like anyone other than a Child of God! God loves us! His Spirit identifies us as His Children! What is your testimony? Is it that of a child who is confident in His Father’s Strength and Ability? Or do you even know your Father? My Dad is definitely better than any other dad. I know He is stronger than any other force ever created. He isn’t afraid of anyone or anything because my Father created it all. What is your boast on the playground of life? When the Lord has your back, no weapon formed against you will prosper! You will overcome the world because your Father said so!
Acts 27:25 (NLT) So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said.
I love how just when I think I have read just about every verse – God shows me something new in His Word. I love this verse found tucked in the Book of Acts. So simple but true. I don’t have to fake being brave or pretend to be courageous. I just need to take courage. Where do I find it? Well, that measure of faith hidden in my heart is used to pull me up out of discouragement and despair to trust the Lord. It will remain planted there as confident hope allows me to walk in the Power of the Holy Spirit right across the finish line to claim my prize. I believe God now all I have to do is live like it. He in turn will give me a brave heart and courageous endurance to make it to the end! Take courage today! Refuse failure, fear and doubt that want to take your faith from you. Release the weights of life that are weighing you down and just hold on tight! The Lord does not expect you to do anything other than wait patiently and expectantly for Him to come! Make your life suitable for holy inhabitation removing anything that would come between you and Jesus. God is giving you a brave heart!
James 5:7-8 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.