Be Strong and Courageous (July 19)

July 19

Be Strong and Courageous

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 76: 1-9 | 1 Chronicles 28:1 – 29:30 | Romans 5:6-21 | Proverbs 19:18-19

Today’s Scripture Focus: 1 Chronicles 28:1 – 29:30

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the LORD God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT).

It’s a debilitating disease. A disease of the heart—a heart attack indeed. It eats away at the heart and causes it to wither. In its final stages it combines with hopelessness and fear to completely debilitate the victim. It makes them unable to accomplish any task. They are tempted to give up. It is contagious—highly contagious.  What is this terrible disease? Discouragement.

To be discouraged is to lose heart. The heart, instead of living out of the “strength and courage” and hope found in our life in Christ, gives in to the temptations of fear and hopelessness. The thief, who only wishes to steal and kill and destroy, shoots the arrows of discouragement into our hearts.

At first, we hold up the shield of faith. But our arms get tired and we let down our guard and our shield only to be attacked again, this time without the shield in place. The heart begins to wither.  Then more arrows of fear and hopelessness find their target. Finally, we have lost heart. The heart attack of discouragement leaves us numb and lifeless—unable to accomplish any task. Those called to a great task are those most likely to be targeted by discouragement arrows. So take heart, you must be causing some threat to the enemy or he wouldn’t bother to waste his arrows on you.

Have you ever noticed that when God calls a leader to a great task, he repeatedly reassures them with words like these: “Be strong and courageous,” “Do not be afraid” and “Do not be discouraged.” Why?  Because he knows that their “strong and courageous” heart will be tempted to give in to fear and discouragement. The enemy knows that discouragement is an epidemic that keeps us from accomplishing the task in God’s strength and courage.

Solomon had been given the task of building the temple. Listen to these encouraging words and take them to heart. They are protection against the heart disease of discouragement:

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work . . . is finished” (28:20).

God is with you. He hasn’t forgotten you. Don’t grow weary in well doing. You will reap a harvest if you do not lose heart and give up. He is strong and courageous. He is not fearful or discouraged. Spend time with him today and let him deal with the fears, hopelessness and discouragement. Get that armor on today and stop giving in to the attacks of the enemy. You’ve got things to accomplish. Get to it!

Father, I stand in response to your command to be courageous against all the fears, and doubts, and disappointments that I face. Strengthen me, open doors before me, guide me, empower me. Don’t allow past memories of disappointment discourage me and rob me of my peace, my joy, my confident hope. I am trusting in you to strengthen my heart. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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