A Time For Courage

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Fear is a hindrance. It creates anxiety in our heart, it divides our mind, it drains our energy and it hinders whatever we’re doing in life. We learn how to conquer this damaging emotion and live with the confidence only found in God.

 

 

life is a challenge and we all need guidance. For decades. The in touch devotional has provided daily readings for devoted living with spiritual connection and nourishment directly from God’s word in print through our website and app by email via podcast and Youtube. The in touch devotional is with you every day through every season of life. In Touch Ministries, celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yeah. In touch with Dr. Charles Stanley celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness. Next on in touch a time for courage. Fear can grip the heart of a person or can grip the heart of the whole nation. It can be created by what we know and what we don’t know, motivated by false information or true information. It can either drive us or paralyze us? It depends on how we respond. And if you and I respond in an improper fashion, If we respond by giving in and yielding to fear, we lose all the way around. And when I think about what it does to us, it divides our minds, It shadows our emotions. It impedes our progress. In fact, every aspect of our life is affected by it. And yet people live in fear. You may say, well, there are a lot of things going on these days that would cause people to fear. And I understand that there are many things that are happening around us. It would cause us to be afraid. But are we to live in fear? Are we to live by courage and faith. Are we to live worried about anxious about all the things that possibly could happen? And you and I can look in the scriptures and think about all the things that our Lord has warned us about that would come in the latter days. Are we to live in fear of these things? Are we to live by courage, faith and trust in our Lord? It’s interesting that how many times our Lord tells us to fear not, for example, in the 10th chapter of Matthew three times he says fear not fear not fear not. And somebody has said and I don’t know whether it’s true or not that there’s one fear not for every single day of the year. Now when I count them, I don’t come up with 365, but I do know this, that the same heavenly father who said it once says it to us every day. We do not have to fear because we have the Lord jesus christ living on the inside of us Now there are many, many people out there who are afraid who have fears who live in fear, who have a reason to if you do not know jesus christ as your personal savior. If you don’t have a relationship with God through him, you have lots of reasons to be afraid because the truth is you have no assurance of today, no assurance of tomorrow and certainly no assurance of life after death. What I want to talk about in this passage of scripture here and many others, is this a time for courage, a time for courage. And even though our Lord says to us, fear not, that does not mean that he doesn’t understand when you and I hit those situations and circumstances, sometimes those things that come upon us without any warning that suddenly we feel fear. It’s not a sin to feel fear. But what happens is when we let it become anxiety within our life and doubts and frustrations and all the rest and oftentimes we find ourselves indeed, our energy is gone. Our mind is divided and what’s happening and we’re not making the best of life because we’re living in fear. God does not intend for us to live in fear. So I want us to look at a passage of scripture that not only says to us, we should not be afraid that we should be courageous, but also in this passage. There are the reasons and the ways and the steps to building courage into your life. And the truth is no one wants to be a coward. We all want to be courageous and bold and face life no matter what’s going on. How do we do it? So I want you to turn if you will to Joshua. Chapter one in Joshua chapter one, what is happening is moses God’s servant who has led the nation of Israel the hebrew Children for years and years and years now at the very beginning and now the Lord has called him home and he has been given the responsibility. That is Joshua, who has been his general and his associate and the man who stood by him all those years, he has been given the responsibility. And this is the way God said it to him, He said, Verse two Of Chapter one Moses. My servant is dead now therefore arise cross this Jordan you and all these people to the land which I’m given to them to the sons of Israel. Every place in which the sole of your foot treads that is Joshua. I have given it to you just as I spoke to moses from the wilderness and this Lebanon even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates all the land of the Hittites and as far as the great seats for the setting of the sun will be your territory. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with moses, I will be with you. I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous. But you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them only be strong and very courageous. Be careful to do according to all the law which moses my servant commanded. You do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. Then you’ll make your way prosperous and then you’ll have success. Now watch this next verse. Have I not commanded you? That is is before he says the same thing again, he says, have I not commend you? This is not a suggestion to Joshua. Have I not commanded you? Question mark, What’s that? Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble. All be dismayed for the Lord Your God is with you wherever you go. But you know what The very that very 9th verse that says be strong and courageous. He says don’t tremble or be dismayed. But the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. As much as he said that to Joshua, he says that to you and me every single day of our life, all of us who know, jesus christ as their savior, have that same promise. He will be with us no matter what we face in life and whatever is going on now, what I want to do first of all is I want to define what courage is because courage is not just a matter of being strong, it is more than that. Listen, it is listen, it is calmness in the midst of fear and what I want to say a couple of times and there’s this, it is not a sin to experience fear you? And I can think of all the catastrophes that have happened in our country recently, we can think of the things that have happened to us personally maybe and there are those moments of those periods of time when we may have been gripped by fear, overwhelmed by fear in the midst of danger, sometimes whatever is going on, it isn’t a matter of experiencing it is what we do with it, it is how long it lasts in our life, it is what we allow it to do to us and in us and through us. And so I’m not saying that fear in itself is a sin because sometimes fear can protect us and sometimes it can motivate us and so therefore Senate, that is Fear in itself is not a sin, but it should not listen. It should not live in the life of a child of God. So what I’d like to do is I would like to just give you a simple definition and that is this courage is that attitude of mind and heart that enables us listen. That enables us to face dangers, obstacles and the challenges of life fearlessly firmly and calmly to face those dangers and obstacles in life. Those challenges in life fearlessly listen fearlessly, firmly and calmly, that is even in the midst of danger and difficulty and hardship, there can be a sense of calmness and tranquility within us, no matter what is going on now? Here’s the big question, how do we develop courage? What has to happen in our life? What must we do? How must we think to become courageous bold people in whom God can live his life, through whom God can do his work and through whom he can confront evil and wickedness in this day and time? Well, I want to give you several things. It’s all right here in this first chapter. Look at this Verse eight. This book of the law, The Law of God, which had given to moses and written it down, shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it, then you’ll make your way prosperous and then you’ll have success Here listen, here is the first step to becoming a courageous bold person who can face if God says wait with its imminent danger, death, you name it. And the first step is this begin to meditate upon the word of God. Now, what does meditate mean? It doesn’t mean just read through the bible. It doesn’t mean just pick out a verse here and there. It means when you come to read the scripture, you ask him questions. God. What are you saying to me personally, How do I apply this to my life? What are you saying to me today? What are you saying to me? I have to relate to this person or whatever it might be. What happens is when you’re meditating upon God’s word, watch this. You’re taking you’re taking the thoughts of God placing them into your mind. They become a part of your very being, your subconscious mind so that you can refer to them consciously or subconsciously both. There there you are beginning to fill your mind with the mind of God. You’re beginning to think the way God thinks therefore, what are you gonna do? You’re gonna respond the way God responds. God is fearful of nothing. And so when you and I begin to meditate upon the word of God. Here’s what we do. We’re learning the ways of God. We know what God is thinking and what he says about this situation that any other. So the first thing he says meditate upon the word. The second thing that’s involved here is this, look at what he says, he says, okay, this Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, not once in a while, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. Then you’ll make your way prosperous, then you have success. Not be full of fear, but make your way prosperous and be full of success. What’s that? He says not only meditating upon it, but do what it says. You see people still, I read the bible and they’re living a backsliding condition. You know why they may be reading it, but they’re not doing what it says when you are living a life of obedience to the word of God. There is a strength. There is, there is a stamina, there is an energy, there is a confidence, there is a boldness that naturally overflows in your life as a result. Listen, keeping God’s word in your heart and doing what it says. That’s two steps. There’s a third step here and that is listen to recall the faithfulness of God in past circumstances. And think about what he said to him, he said in verse three verse two moses. My servant is dead now, therefore arise cross this Jordan you and all these people of the land which I’m giving to them to the sons of Israel, every place on which the sole of your foot treads. I have given it to you. Just as I spoke to moses what’s happening. He is, he is he is challenging Joshua to remember, listen, the faithfulness of God to moses in the past, the faithfulness of God to moses in the past. And he says, listen, he says, just as I was with moses, I’m gonna be with you. You think about how many times God has brought you through difficulty. How many times he’s brought you through things that you think God, this is it. I don’t think I’m gonna be able to handle this. And he brought you through it. You that’s why we should keep a diary. That’s why we should write down. We should we should keep listen, we should keep a record of the things that God has done in their life. So that when we hit these situations and circumstances, we look back and say, well God, here’s what you promised and here’s what you did. You were faithful here. You were faithful. Here. You are faithful here. Why should I be afraid? Why should I be afraid? Now, when you have been faithful? Every single time, you know what happens? Your courage begins to soar when you begin to reflect on the times in your life when God has brought you through things, you think God, how in the world am I gonna face it? He brought you through it, recalling, listen, recalling those difficulties, recalling those hardships, recalling those times, of doubt, recalling those times of fear when you would search the scripture and say God, what do you want? What do you want to do in my life here? Here’s what I’m facing God. And you flip through and you read maybe some of the psalms or the proverbs of some parts of the epistles. And you’re asking questions and God began to speak to your heart and what happened as he spoke to your heart, you began to say, well God, you know that that’s that’s how you brought me through it last time. And no matter what you keep moving another very important step. Is this observing courage in the and other people listen what he said to him? He says, just as I was with moses, I’m gonna be with you and what I want you to see is that all through moses life? There’s courage. Did he ever make any mistakes of sin? Yes, he did. Did he ever have any fears? Yes, he did. In fact, you know, you know what he said when God said, I want you to go see pharaoh and he gave him all this long bunch of reasons why he couldn’t do it. You know why he couldn’t do it. He was afraid, naturally, he was afraid, but he obeyed. And I was thinking in in preparation of this message, I was trying to think about how many times in my life have I really and truly been afraid If you expect me to say none, you’re wrong. Because I have been I’ve been afraid and I thought of three significant times. Real significant times in my life when I was afraid one time I was afraid because I just knew the consequences were gonna be more than I thought I could handle another time because I knew I was not equipped and capable of doing what God was calling me to do another time. I was just scared. I was afraid of the criticism because I figured I was gonna fail. Have I ever been afraid? Yes, I have, but I can tell you this each time I ultimately obey God. Each time he put such pressure on me is what I discovered I was more fearful of meeting him. Then fail in their words, it didn’t make any difference. I knew that I had to be obedient because I couldn’t live with myself. They’re gonna come those times and you’re gonna feel it. But here’s what I want you to remember. Your heavenly father knows all about that. You look back in your life, how he’s helped you survive. You look at other people injured and if there’s ever been a time in the life of this nation, when we have hundreds and thousands of examples of courageous bold people, courageous people have been willing to sacrifice their life for what they believed in and what they were committed to. Then I want you to notice something else that’s very, very, very important here, that it’s not here in a particular verse, but it’s here and listen carefully. If you’re listening, I want you to say, Amen. Listen carefully. Yes. one of the things that builds courage into us is facing those circumstances and listen, here’s what happens. What will determine what we do watch this now is what we see as being at stake. That is what’s at stake here. What’s what’s hanging in the balance here, Joshua would probably was fearful, but what was hanging in the balance, What was hanging in the balance is the nation of Israel God’s chosen people through whom the messiah would come through whom the savior of the entire world would come for all time and eternity and what was at stake was getting these people into the land that God had given them, promised all the way back to Abraham, this wasn’t some little journey. What was at stake? Listen was God’s great plan of redemption for mankind. Now here’s what you’re not to think about. When you and I are challenged, we’re confronted and we could either be fearful or we could be courageous. What we have to stop and ask is what’s at stake. Now watch this, here’s somebody around you criticizing and knocking jesus in the bible and the church and all the rest and all those christians and you know this that the other do you just walk away and stand quietly and say nothing when somebody says well jesus is just like all those other gods, well they got a few christians, he’s just one of many gods, let me ask you a question, what’s at stake? There’s more to listen, what’s at stake is not your reputation, what’s at stake is not what you, what’s at stake? Is this the name of jesus, the God of the christian, Jehovah God, that’s what’s at stake, what’s at stake is that you’re not defend his name and you and I know that people can talk about God, God God when you mentioned the name of jesus, they throw a fit and you know why? Because everything he represents strikes against the sinfulness and the wickedness and the vileness of their life and they don’t like his name. What’s at stake is the name of jesus, What’s at stake is the name of Jehovah? God, should we be bowling courageous? Yes, act silly, No, act ungodly. No, but listen fearlessly firmly and calmly defend the name of the son of God. That is our responsibility. Listen, it doesn’t make any difference what anybody thinks. One thing they cannot deny. You have a conviction that you’re living by a boldness. They don’t have a courage, they cannot understand. And that goes a long ways in your witness, in your testimony. One of the things I would say about this whole idea of how to build courage in our life and I hope you’re jotting these things down because they’re all important. And the one last thing is this not only observing courage and other people and not only having a clear understanding of what’s at stake, but the last thing I mentioned is this and that is recalling the promises of God, recalling the promises of God and listen to what he said to Joshua, he said to Joshua be strong and courageous, strong and courageous, strong and courageous. He knew the promises of God to give that land to the hebrew Children of the nation of Israel God wants us to recall his promises because he’s never failed to keep on. What has he already said to us? I’ll never leave you nor forsake you. Now listen, clearly, this is the bottom line of all courage that you have unwavering faith in that not affect you. Have unwavering faith in the truth that your God is with you. In every single circumstance of life, every single moment of your life and that with his presence comes, his power, his protection and his provision and father, how grateful we are for the wonderful truth of your word and that you want us to be bold and courageous because you’re living on the inside of us. We represent you. I pray the Holy Spirit. We’ll speak to every single person who hears this message pointing them to yourself as the beginning of all true genuine life. Life eternal found in your son, jesus christ. But we ask it in his name. Amen. Now I ask you, should you be afraid of death? So let me say this. If you’ve never trusted jesus christ as your savior. Let me ask you a question, what’s gonna happen to you when you die? He said, I’m going to heaven. On what basis I have been sorry the bible is so crystal clear that you’re behaving your conduct will not get you into heaven. So what’s going to happen to you when you die? Well, I guess I’ll just become nothing. Sorry, You’re gonna live forever. So that doesn’t work. What’s going to happen to you when you die? Well, I guess I’m going to. Yes, not guess you are going to stand the presence of the living god and give an account for your life. For having rebelled against him, chosen to live outside of his will and purpose and plan for your life. And you tell me that you’re gonna face death with no assurance. Listen, you said, well, this is what I believe. But what is the basis of your belief that you’re going to heaven? What’s the basis of it? Do you have a true, genuine, unshakable, provable basis? But believing that you’re going to heaven, you’re gonna face death no assurance. And tell me that you’re gonna do it fearlessly and boldly and bravely. No, you’re not. It’s easily when we are healthy and strong and walking and doing our thing to talk about how bold we are and how brave we are and how courageous we are now fearlessly. We live when all of a sudden your strength is gone and you’re lying flat on your back and you can hardly raise a part of your body and you’re breathing towards your last breaths and you’re telling me that you’re courageous when you know that in maybe a few moments or a few hours at the most you’re going to die and you’ll have to admit that it’s possible that there is a God and that is holy and that he offers his son jesus to die on your behalf. And you turned him down, you’ll have to acknowledge that’s a possibility and you’re gonna die without him. Listen to what God said. Not some preacher, it is appointed unto man wants to die. And after this the judgment period. Yeah, my friend, the only way to leave this life and head into the next one joyfully confidently and courageously is having accepted jesus christ as your personal savior by faith, which means that you accept his death at calvary as full payment for your sins. And you’re taking him as your personal savior. And you can do that by simply asking him to forgive you of your sin, telling him that you do believe that he died in your behalf and that you’re receiving him as your personal savior here and now, that will change your eternal destiny.

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ABOUT DR.CHARLESSTANLEY Dr. Charles F. Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969 and became senior pastor in 1971. In 1982, Stanley...

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