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Finding Courage - A Devotion

Finding Courage
August 15, 2014

2 Timothy 1:5-7 (NLT)
I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Courage – the quality of mind and/or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger or pain without fear.

God’s Word tells us quite plainly that God does not give us a spirit of fear or timidity. When Adam and Eve hid from God after they had sinned, the couple hid from God in fear when He came to be with them in the garden. “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” “Who told you that you were naked?” the LORD God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:8-11) Fear became a part of our life when mankind chose to disobey the Lord. Our nature became hostile to God and His Ways in that moment. Ever since that time, God continues to call out the hearts and minds of His People who remain hidden in fear and darkness. It has always been God’s Plan for us to live in power, love and self-discipline which keeps us from accepting fearful qualities again. The only thing that separated us from God was sin. When we asked Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, His Grace covered our indiscretions, rebellion and sinful nature completely reinstating us to right-standing with God the Father. We have nothing to fear. So why do we? I cannot really remember fearing anything in my life other than losing my children. God gave them to me. I take my responsibility as mother and caregiver to heart. It is the greatest privilege that I have been given here on earth other than serving Jesus Christ. They are my blessing. My greatest fear met me face-to-face on October 24, 2011. When all of a sudden, it was a life or death situation. It became crystal clear that too many times I had allowed fear to take over when there really was nothing to be afraid of but now I felt as though I had everything to lose. When the Lord spoke to me on the 11th floor of the hospital that night, my life changed for the better in an instant. It is still changing my life today even though He has not spoken to me like that since that night. The Words keep revolving in my head and manifesting in the life of our son. Yet sometimes I still fight fear. This honest admission does not seem in my mind to be what I should be telling other people, yet in my heart I feel that there are some believers fighting mega battles hiding behind a pretense of bravery and smokescreen of courage. Every believer fights fear from time to time. But very few will ever completely overcome their fears. You don’t have to be that person and neither do I! God has not given us the spirit of fear so it is up to us to secure His Power, Love and Self-Discipline.

Deuteronomy 31:4-6 (NLT)
“The LORD will destroy the nations living in the land, just as he destroyed Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites. The LORD will hand over to you the people who live there, and you must deal with them as I have commanded you. So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Our life is designed by God for our blessing and benefit but we may still encounter giants in the land. Do you still go? Will you walk boldly though the valley to make it to the mountain? Abraham had to go the mountain by faith that when he got there that the Lord would supply an alternative sacrifice. But walking to the mountain, up the mountain, building an altar on the mountain, tying his son to the altar, and raising the knife was all by faith until the Lord stopped him and gave him a ram. (Genesis 22) I think of Abraham often in this journey. I wonder what he was thinking as he walked along with his precious boy. I do not have the faith of Abraham. I am only now learning to truly take the Lord at His Word. The Israelites were on the edge of the Promised Land. God promised to go ahead of them and conquer the armies dwelling on their property. But the people still had to go in and secure their land. Just because God told you that it belongs to you doesn’t mean that you won’t have to do something about it. God has a plan for your life. It is His Plan but still requires your participation. God promised to hand the people over to the Israelites, but they still had to go in. What does God consistently require of His People? Faith. It is the starting place of every journey this life takes you on. You decide the outcome when you decide who to trust. Faith eliminates emotions life distress, anxiety and concern. When our fears in life become greater than our faith in God, we lose our hope which leads to distress, anxiety and concern. We become immobilized by it and stop moving from the darkness to the light. Faith tells us we will possess God’s Promise. Fear causes us to lose our hope which promotes the possession of fear. (Psalm 143:4)

I John 4:16-18 (NLT)
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. We know how much God loves us… I don’t think we really do because when we do we will finally put our trust in His Love. God is love. To know God is to know love in its perfect form but our imperfect nature cannot grasp the concept. I think that there are a lot of people who profess to know the Love of God but don’t know Him at all. Afraid to get to know Him more, because what if they are right and He really doesn’t love us like that. When you trust God – there is always an out if what you desire does not happen. It is my firm belief that this is why so many people do not wait on God or try to “help Him” out along the way rather than trusting and believing until He comes. We must live in God to change our mind about His Consistency and Reliability. This will produce greater confidence in His Love. He is Constant. His Love does not change but we are afraid to put any time and energy into Him in case we are wrong. If you really knew how much God loves you, it would change your life forever. I am striving to know His Love in its purest and deepest form because I do not want to fear anything anymore. We must decide that nothing can separate us from His Love. (Romans 8:38) We can no longer allow our fears to somehow discredit our faith and begin thinking that any problem or situation is bigger or stronger than the Father’s Love. Courage comes from knowing the Father’s Intentions. (Isaiah 35:3-6) God is love. He love us. That is always is and always will be His Intention for us. We must get to His Love and have confidence in it and no longer fear His Faithfulness.

Joshua 1:7-9 (NLT)
“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.”

To fully understand the potential of God’s Love and experience its power requires knowing the Word and doing what it says. God has a plan alright but it is His Plan. If you want to overcome fear in your life, it will require knowing God’s Love. To know God’s Love requires knowing His Word. To have its potential you have to do what it says. What is the potential? To prosper and succeed in all you do – that’ all. It feels as though our life has been on hold for the last three years. We live seemingly from Pet Scan to Pet Scan. But one thing that I have discovered, when the word “cancer” is spoken I no longer fear the diagnosis. I hate it don’t get me wrong, but God told me that our son would live and not die. I had to choose in that moment whether or not I would believe Him or not. I chose to trust Him. Now the things that I worry and fret about are not the cancer but all the other little insignificant details of life. I keep pressing against the parameters of God’s Love asking but what about this and what about that. He just keeps pulling me closer and closer. God is with us. He never leaves us or abandons us. We will never be confident of such a thing until we decide that this is absolutely true. He can handle the majors. He took care of the minors. It’s time to put our faith in Him completely.

Ephesians 3:17-19 (NLT)
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Did you know that you can get lost in God’s Love for you? It is wider, longer, higher and deeper than anything that you will ever go through in this life. If we have the power to understand the capacity of God’s Love, we be those who will “not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.” (Psalm 112:6-7) We are made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God the Father when we dare to test the parameters of His Love and press in deeper. Confidence tells us that God has everything under control and we must only do what He says to be successful so we concentrate more on hearing from Him rather than escaping our circumstances. The Love of God now becomes our refuge. (Psalm 46:1-3) When we don’t understand we dive deeper rather than running for any other cover. We are His Children. God will do anything to take care of us just as we would our own babies. I have to be confident that God loves me to be courageous and live fearlessly. When I find myself facing fear, I must decide not to take it. It is not for me.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

What are you afraid of today? Are you ready to let it go? Get back in the Word – there is a promise for every situation. If you don’t know one, cannot find one or need help, contact me and I will help you. You have to get a sword in your hand and that sword is the Word of God for your life. Second, stir up the Spirit. Your faith has been bogged down by fear so it may need a quick talking to! The Holy Spirit is just waiting on you to get all riled up again. Call Him forth to assist you. Now it is time to step out on faith and do what His Word is telling you and His Spirit leading you to do. I guarantee you it will always be something that drives us from our comfort zone – do it anyway! Tie your faith to the future and let go of the past. Decide that what you hope for is possible and with faith it will be. Most importantly, you must accept that God’s Love is for you – it is always about you! His Love is the power and driving force of your life that will overcome evil! Dear friends, we must find courage to overcome fear and doubt that will inevitably rob us of power, love and victory!

I Corinthians 16:13 (NLT)
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

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