Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3244

Jump Start # 3244

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

  Three times in the first chapter of Joshua the statement, “Be strong and courageous” is found. Two major things were taking place. First, Joshua was leading the nation. New eyes. New blood. There are always some who don’t like a new face leading people. Complaining, critical and judgmental are usually what is found when someone doesn’t like the current leader. If you don’t believe this, just look at politics or look at a losing team in sports. The second major thing taking place is that the nation was packing up and heading to the promise land. The word was sent through the camp, three days. Three days and we are moving. And, it wasn’t round and round like in the wilderness. This time they were crossing the Jordan River and they are heading in.

 So, to fortify all the preparations, Joshua is told, three times, to be strong and courageous. God assured him that He would be with the new leader, just as He was with Moses. This wasn’t going to be walking through the gates at Disney. No. The words of the spies long ago was still true. There were fortified cities. There were strong armies. They had the call from God to drive out these people. Be strong and courageous. Those words were necessary.

  God promised to go ahead of them. The battles would belong to the Lord. Yet, still, they had to march in. They had to fight. They needed to be strong and courageous. And, it begins first with Joshua. It’s hard for followers to be courageous when the leaders are scared. When the leaders are looking for cover to hide, the followers won’t be brave.

  And, these same powerful words need to be spoken among us and to us today. We need to be strong and courageous. We need preachers who are not afraid to speak God’s word with clarity, boldness and truthfulness. This does not mean being ugly. This does not mean mocking or making fun of others. But it neither means hiding behind the pulpit because you have a mortgage, need a pay check and are afraid of losing your job. The pulpit isn’t the first and most times not the best way to deal with fortified cities. One on one, private conversations with the Bible open, can do more good than a month of sermons.

  We need shepherds today who are strong and courageous. Tough decisions must be made. It is easy for shepherds to follow the sheep rather than being out front leading the flock. Understanding where the congregation is spiritually and what they need at the moment is foremost in helping people connect with God. Generic, standard replies, such as, “They all need the Bible,” is true, but where in that Bible do they need it the most? Is the congregation young in faith? Are they mostly mature in faith? Have they gone through trials and troubles? Do they understand the fundamentals? When things arise, such as the need for discipline, does the church understand why that is so important? Strong and courageous leaders will help a church become strong and courageous.

  We need parents who are strong and courageous. It’s tough being a parent. This world has lost all sense and is flying without any direction or compass. Saying “no,” doesn’t usually win you the parent of the year award, but it may be the very thing to keep your child safe, godly and grounded. No to some movies and shows. No to some friends. No to some activities. But, it is also important to offer great positive alternatives. You can’t do this, but here is something that you can do. If all your child hears is “no,” from you, then he will despise you and want to get away from you as quickly as he can.

  We need disciples who are strong and courageous. We need members who can look the world in the face and say, “Nope, I don’t agree, go along, nor support that.” One can do that kindly. One can do that without being rude or offensive. But one needs to do that. The corporate world jumps every time the progressives have a new idea. They run embracing new change fearing that someone will call them a name, never realizing the inconsistencies they create and how one sided most of those policies become.

  Strong and courageous. For Joshua, Jericho was first in line. God was going to test Israel. He was going to make them really trust Him. There was no charging the gates. No battering ramps. No fiery arrows. March around once a day for a week. Then march around seven times and blow trumpets and break pitchers. Put that on paper. That sure seems like a dumb battle plan. It looked like a suicide mission. But, with God, anything can happen. Be strong and courageous. Trust the Lord. He knows.

  We certainly need those words today.