Strength and Courage Stand

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, AMP)

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. – (Joshua 1:9, NLT)

 

My heart leapt within me a little as I read that this was the verse of the day this morning. This particular verse has been especially significant in my life for the last few years as I have navigated a new season. Daily, I am reminded of the words of this verse, yet until this morning, I have not unpacked a few of the words within these two translations. As a self-professed “word nerd”, language fascinates me, and I do what I can to find further significance and meaning from written text. When I heard “dismayed“, I always thought distressed, but when I actually looked up the word, I was surprised to discover that dismayed means: to break down the courage of completely. Additionally, discouraged in my mind, dis – without or not, and courage, and one can figure what I assumed the word meant. “Discouraged” according to dictionary.com, is: to deprive of courage, hope or confidence. Both of these words go much deeper than I had anticipated. God does not want us to allow anything to break down nor deprive us of the courage that He has created within us. He commands us to be courageous – not in our own strength, but in His. We can take courage because He has promised to be with us wherever we go. That alone is reason to be courageous. Greater is He who is in us, than anything that might come against us. May we each rise up in strength and courage as we are commanded, and keep terror and dismay far from us. Take heart dear ones, for the Lord our God is with us!

 

For the Lord commands,Dispelling Discouragement

Take courage, be strong;

Because He’s with us,

All of our life long.

Let nothing find way,

To come and break down;

The courage God gives,

For in Him, strength’s found.

Do not be afraid,

For He’ll never leave;

All hope comes from Him,

By faith, we receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to be strong and courageous. Thank You that You unpack it for us by explaining that we are not to allow anything to terrify us or break down our courage or take away our hope. Thank You that this is not something that we do on our own, but we can be strong and courageous because You are with us wherever we go, so there is no reason for fear. Forgive us for our fearfulness, as we forget how great You are and how small our obstacles are in comparison. Teach us to trust You more, as we struggle with discouragement when giants stand before us. Show us Your heart for those around us, so that we can love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in Your strength and courage, knowing that You are with us wherever we go. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Love Breaks Down Barriers

Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” – (John 4:7,9-10)

 

I so appreciate this exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. He models for us how we can break down social and cultural barriers, and approach people where they are. Though society would have deemed her unworthy – to acknowledge, let alone speak to – Jesus approached her directly and spoke to her face to face. He was kind, honest, and offered the hope she had so long been looking for. As followers of Christ, we are called to do likewise. Our job is to break down barriers that society deems necessary, and show the world that they are not. We must touch the “untouchable“, love the “unlovable“, give voice to the silent, and meet the needs of those without. So many are misunderstood, misrepresented, and labeled as a result of their circumstances. May we be the ones who answer the call to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us – no barriers, no limits, just love.

 

The Lord, He calls us,Hearts of Thanks

To tear down the walls;

That keep us away,

from hurt who fall.

We’re meant to draw near,

To reach out our hands;

To help and to love,

The way God has planned.

May we be aware,

Help our eyes to see;

Where we’re called to go,

And how to meet needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to show us how to love as You love us. Thank You that though we were broken and sinful and needy, You came near and loved us back to life. Forgive us for not extending the same kindness to all whom we encounter. Teach us to trust You more, so that regardless of how things appear, we would offer what we have been given – kindness and grace. Show us how to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we approach those whom society has somehow deemed unworthy, and let Your love give worth to all. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

His Love Doesn’t Hurt

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

 

Our goal ought to be to mirror God’s love to all. In our broken humanity, we fall short – daily. When we are wronged, often our gut instinct is to lash out and respond in the same way; yet love, is to choose to extend kindness to those who deserve it least. Love offers grace to the guilty and mercy to the mean. To love is to contradict the way the world says we ought to respond to anything that comes against us. The more we choose to love, the more natural it becomes. It does not always mean it is easy, but there are never regrets when a loving response is extended, rather than lashing out or firing back – as such things cannot be erased. Sometimes love is extended simply by not responding and exercising self-control, when everything within us desires to meet fire with fire. As we love, God uses our obedience to break down barriers in others, and can do amazing things in hearts and lives. It is no wonder that God calls us to love above all else, for all things flow through His filter of love. May we choose to go forth and love others as we are loved by God.

 

Love will not choose harm,Purposeful Prayer

despite what it gets;

for love is from God,

it never regrets.

Love fulfills the law,

for God’s love is good;

it mends the broken,

makes grace understood.

Love heals the hurting,

it turns away wrath;

love makes clear the way,

to travel God’s path.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that love does not do wrong to others, but rather it fulfills all that You require of us. Thank You that the love You speak of is Yours, not that which we distort and confuse and fracture. Thank You that You have shown us the perfect example of love through the gift of Your Son, Jesus. Forgive us for not loving as we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would respond in kindness, grace or in silence – according to Your will, rather than our own when we are wronged. Show us how to love others as You love us, so that people may come to know the kindness and grace that comes from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love as You love us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15