Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Step on it...

A few months ago, our church's theme for the month was:
Be of Good Courage!

A lot is to be said about Courage so let's just start with Encarta's definition:
Courage is the "quality of being brave: the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action."*

It's an interesting definition because it can be summarized in a 2-word command from God:

Fear Not!
- which I've heard appears at least (or exactly?) 365 times in the Bible - I haven't counted yet.

One day, my husband & I were discussing one of the messages that focussed on Jos 1:3:
"Every place upon which the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given to you,
as I promised Moses." **

Obviously, it was not enough for the people of Israel to rest in the fact that God had given them the land...they needed to STEP ON IT - and that is a timeless principle that applies to every promise of God. Let's consider a four examples - starting with God's first command to us all:

Fruitfulness - in every area of life
Gen 1:28 - And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.**
Ex 23:26 - There will be no miscarriages or infertility in your land, and I will give you long, full lives.***

Prosperity
Deut 30:9 - And the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in every work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, of your cattle, of your land, for good; for the Lord will again delight in prospering you, as He took delight in your fathers**
Jos 1:7 - Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.**

Health:
Ex 17:26
- He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”***
Is 53:5 - But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.**

Long life:
Ps 91:16 - With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.**
Ps 128:6a - Yes, may you see your children's children.**

I like the way this set of verses pulls these examples togther:
The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment]. [They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. (Ps 92: 12-16)**

Our ability to appropriate and live in the reality of these promises is all dependent on our faith. We must all start with a child-like faith. Remember the example I shared a few days ago?**** Although faith is necessary, it is not sufficient because "Faith without works is dead."***** In fact in relation to this topic, I'd like to extend that verse to say "faith without works or walk is dead" - which is what Joshua 1:3 tells us when put in perspective - and only the dead to not work or walk! May sound morbid - doesn't change the fact that it is the truth.

Just like owning a treadmill and not using it will not benefit you except you "step on it", it is only the truth that you know and live by that you can benefit from.

So STEP ON IT - whatever "land" God has promised you - knowing that sometimes it might involve "walking on water."



References:
*http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?lextype=3&search=courage
** Amplified version
*** New Living Translation
****http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2011/05/listen-and-learn.html
***** So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead). But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith.
(James 2: 17-18)**

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