Courage

After wandering around for 40 years in a primitive wasteland, where God provided both food and water when none could be found otherwise, the chosen Hebrew nation was at their defining moment once again.  As a people group, they could decide once and for all to live as God called them to live, in a Promised Land… or they could reject the words of God, and wander in the wasteland forever.  Their leader, Joshua (not Moses at this point), said to them:

Joshua 1:7  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.

The people chose to listen and heed these words, at least for a period of time, and God blessed them greatly… as long as they did.  The law of God was the equivalent of God’s divine voice, given through Moses, as the instruction manual for maintaining the covenant relationship God had established with them.  When they began abandoning these words, things turned against them.  When they returned in repentance to God, seeking forgiveness and restoration, heeding once again His instruction manual, God reconciled with them and began blessing them once again.

By the time Jesus arrived in Galilee and Judea hundreds and hundreds of years later, the words of Moses and the law of God was so misconstrued that few of the leaders, and most of the people, looked very little like the trusting Hebrew nation that came out of the wilderness.

They needed a new word from God.  They needed a new covenant.  So God (the Son) left heaven to come and reconcile all mankind, not just the Hebrew nation, back to Himself.  He spoke the divine voice of God again, with new instructions about a new covenant.  His authority was established in mighty ways, through signs and miracles, through which He demonstrated His authority, control and presence as “God with us.” (Immanuel)

One night as the disciples were crossing the sea of Galilee, a storm threatened to sink their boat, and in the process they would all die in the depths of the raging waters.  But then, suddenly, out of nowhere, Jesus comes walking to them on the waves.  They cower in fear, thinking they see a ghost.  Now hear the words of Jesus, to these fearful expert fishermen:

Matthew 14:27
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Courage then, from the Old Testament and the New Testament, could be defined as the RESULT of faith in action, placed in the divine voice of God, instructing us to NOT BE AFRAID.

Not so easy to do in this world today is it?

Not when those given the task to protect us… allow innocent lives to be taken, when it could so easily have been averted.

Not when those given the task to rule and lead us… constantly politicize the event rather than deal with the real issue of accountability of the humans involved.

Not when the society we live in constantly belittles and condemns our leaders who have the courage to stand for their faith in God, and vocalize it publicly.

But here’s the thing…

Neither God the Father in the Old Testament, nor Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in the New testament… said it would be easy.  Remember what they did say…

“Be strong and very courageous…!”
“Take courage… it is I; do not be afraid!”

Think of it this way…

It is not courage, if it is easy.
It is not courage, if you are not in danger.
It is not courage, if the core of your faith is not challenged in any way.
It is not courage, when you say, or do, or think… like everyone else.

Courage is living out your faith in Jesus…
Living as He lived, by yielding every moment of every day, to the glory of God the Father.

What does courage look like… for you?

 

 

Courage

Abram’s Moxie

Daily Post: Moxie

moxie

This morning I slept in.  I didn’t set an alarm last night, intentionally.  But then again, I don’t ever set an alarm as though I need one to get up in the morning.  My internal body clock just gets me up.  I can’t just lie there in bed.  It’s virtually impossible for me to force myself to stay in that prone position after I awaken. Life has been this way for me as long as I can remember.  As a result, just after 7:00 am on a Saturday morning, (an hour later than average), here I am, sitting at my desk, writing.

Everyone has their routines.  But I can honestly say I didn’t wake up full of moxie this morning.  I didn’t have a lot of pep in my step, or energy coursing through my veins.  Mostly it seemed I was on auto pilot until my reading routine brought me to this word –Moxie – from the Daily Post.  It wasn’t like a shot of adrenalin, or enlightening like an epiphany, really.  My coffee hadn’t even finished brewing at that point.  Something in my brain just clicked, and it was time to write.

This word, moxie, reminds me of Abram.  Most people know him as Abraham.  He’s pretty famous for his role in becoming the patriarch of the nation of Israel.  Yet, most people don’t even understand that when God spoke to Abram, it wasn’t because he was Jewish.  There was no “Jewish” at the time of Abram.  In fact many of the nations of the world came from Abram’s loins.  Additionally, Abram didn’t even live in the land that would become Israel at the time God found him.  Abram lived in the area of southern Mesopotamia along the Persian Gulf, in the land of Ur (see map above).  Through archaeological discoveries this area extols evidence of elaborate wealth, skilled craftsmanship, and advanced technologies and science (for that ancient time).

Now imagine you are Abram.  God’s voice comes to you and you hear these words: [Genesis 12:1]
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives And from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

What kind of pluck, what kind of courage, what kind of MOXIE would it have taken for Abram to act on these words at face value?  It wasn’t like he had been to the middle east territories and said, “that sounds good, I’ll go live there.”  Abram hadn’t seen it, couldn’t see it, and wouldn’t even know how to get there, except God shows him the way.  Talk about a pioneer, this guy has something most of us can’t even comprehend.  Abram has to leave the only home he has ever known, all his relatives will stay behind, and he’ll never return to his country.  Call it what you want, that takes moxie.

Theologians, Pastors, Teachers and the Church at large tend to quantify Abram’s actions by the word Faith.  Clearly, this is what Scripture teaches in Hebrews 11:8.  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

So here’s the thing, perhaps we’ve heard this word so frequently that today we need to find some context of its meaning for us personally.  Hence, I offer you here, Abram’s moxie as a bench mark of faith.  All of Abram’s actions were based in an active belief, resulting in behaviors which were evidence of his faith.  This takes moxie: courage, and determination.  Abram determined in his heart that God would do exactly as He said.  Abram then courageously acted in accordance with God’s commands.  I don’t know a better definition of faith.

After all, remember what Abram left behind in Ur… a culture of wealth, craftsmanship, technology… to become a pioneer of something greater.  When someone suggests walking in God’s will and way is easy, mostly they have no idea what they’re talking about.  It takes great courage and determination to believe God’s promises and act accordingly.  To pull up roots, to travel to an unknown land, takes moxie.

Faith today then should be expressed in Abrahamic style… with moxie.  Today I urge you to live courageously and determinedly, walking with God toward that land that you have not seen.  Step and in moxie-like faith, and become the person God intended you to be.

2 Corinthians 5:7
… for we walk by faith, not by sight.

If you liked this blog post feel free to share it on your Facebook page. Send me a “friend” invite on my FB account or sign up by email to follow my blog!

Discover a new Lifestyle/Health Monitor, click:   INTRODUCING HELO