Be Strong and Courageous
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6. This world is full of trouble. There are so many things around us that may demand our time and energy. Sin swirls around us as we do our best to stay faithful to God and to set an example that is worthy of our Savior, Jesus. We live in a day and age where our children are washed over with television advertisements and peer pressure from their friends that most certainly carries the pollution of worldliness.
Society has set a new standard for modesty, respect for authority, and the value of a faithful marriage. As you and I watch the world pursue the path to destruction we must ask ourselves, “How can I best serve Jesus?” Please consider with me the message that Mordecai sent to Esther in Esther 4:14: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Are you and I here for such a time as this? Is there anything we can do as individuals to remain faithful and help others understand God’s will for their life? Of course there is!
The truth is, we come in contact with many people every day. You and I cannot change the world on our own but we have the ability and opportunity to help the people around us all the time. Would you agree with me when I say that we all know someone who needs to hear the gospel? Each one of us can probably think of at least one person. If we do not know anyone who needs the gospel then we can make up our minds to find someone. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” God, in His mercy has given us time to share the story of Jesus and ask people to respond to His invitation. Could it be that the main thing we lack is courage? Ephesians 6:10-11 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
I like to think of the soldier of Christ as someone who goes into a furious battle, wearing the whole armor of God, and quickly destroying the tired schemes of the wicked one. While that can be the case, the battle is more often fought in the seconds and minutes of everyday life. We should be confident in our ability to spot something that is sinful, and deal with it in a godly way. The problem is that our actions toward sin are not always as consistent as we would like them to be. The fiery darts of the wicked one come in different shapes and sizes and we are not always at our best. There are situations and people that lure us away from our strengths. The pressures of everyday life are relentless and we can set our armor down in moments of weakness.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” By faith the members of the Lord’s church know that this is true and we should be looking for opportunities to walk in this truth. I know of two things that are accomplished when we are victorious over the temptations and trials that come our way. We grow spiritually and our faith is demonstrated to a crooked and perverse generation.
It overjoys our hearts to look back at some of the faithful men and women in scripture and read about their unwavering courage. Think about Joseph when he told Potiphar’s wife, “how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). What about Daniel who knew the consequences of praying to God in defiance of the king’s decree. Daniel had the moral courage to do what was right. He did not attempt to hide his faith (Daniel 6:10). You and I know what is right today. We have God’s word to guide us and it is simply our turn to choose. Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God, goes with you. Danny Simmons
Yet another professional athlete is having money problems. This one, reportedly, took out a massive loan at 20 percent interest to help finance, among other things, a $300,000 birthday party he was throwing for himself.
A combination of poor performance, childish behavior and general idiocy have left him without a paycheck for a year and a half now. The massive sums he earned at the beginning of his career are gone. Beyond gone. So where does he place the blame for his woes? His own weaknesses? An inadequate education? Poor role models? No, it’s the “predatory lenders” who (it would seem) forced him at gunpoint to borrow all that money and then throw it away.
ESPN’s documentary series 30 for 30 included a look at the plethora of multimillionaire athletes who find themselves broke at the end of, or even during, an unbelievably lucrative career. And there’s always someone to blame. Agents. Friends. Family members. Ex-wives. Usually ex-wives. But the underlying issue is always the same: über-competitiveness in the conspicuous consumption of stuff. Bigger is better. Flashier is better. More expensive is much, much better. And now they’re broke.
Christians should be better than that, but often we are not. If we are not careful, we can become those Christians of whom Paul wrote in Philippians 3:19, “whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.”
Seeking “the things above” (Colossians 3:1) solves that problem. No one ever went broke by storing up treasures in heaven. Hal Hammons