Be Strong and Courageous

Have you ever had a job or get assigned a task and you think to yourself, why in the world was I chosen for this? There is no way that I can get this done. I have often felt that way about numerous things.

In I Chronicles 28, David gives instructions to Solomon to build the temple. But he doesn’t just give him the instructions and then send him off on his merry way. He encourages him as well. God did the same thing with Noah, he gave him in the instructions on how to build the ark and then provided everything that he needed to complete the task that was before him. Joshua was left to complete a task after Moses had died, and he may have thought how am I ever going to get this done. But God encouraged and reminded Joshua that he was going to see him through all the way to the end.

“…as I was with Moses, so will I be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” – Joshua 1:5 Again, in verse 6 he tells Joshua to be “strong and very courageous.” And then a third time in verse 9, “Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” 

I often need to be reminded of verses such as Hebrews 13:5, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” God doesn’t just give us a task to complete and then fold his hands and sit in a rocking chair and wonder to himself, I wonder if they can handle that one. No, thankfully, God provides and sustains us through whatever task he gives us.

David encourages Solomon in I Chronicles 28:20 “And David said unto his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it; fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of God.”

Our issue and mine as well, is that we often already have a pre-assumption that whatever God wants us to do we aren’t adequate enough to complete, so why bother even trying. What’s the point? The point is that we have gifts and skills that God gave us, and if we are willing, he will work through us and allow us to use those strengths for his glory, and in a way yes, we aren’t really adequate enough to really do much of anything for God, but that’s why we need his help! He’ll see us all the way through.

God will even provide the right people to come along side of us and help as well. I Chronicles 28:21, “And, behold, the course of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skillful man for any manner of service, also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment.” 

Just like a baseball team, you can’t show up with 9 pitchers. You need a catcher and a pitcher and all the other positions filled. The pitcher can’t just do everything on their own, thats why they need everyone else on the field supporting them. As Christians we can’t do everything on our own. We can’t do anything without help from our Heavenly Father. With God helping us, willing and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ helping us as well, we can accomplish whatever God has asked us to do!

 

 

“Two are better than one; because they have good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

“Being confident if this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6

 

 

 

 

 

Helping Hands

In Luke 10, in verses 10-37 there is the famous account of the Good Samaritan. Jesus is speaking to a lawyer and he begins with the question, what can he do to inherit eternal life. I’ve been told that a good lawyer will ask questions that he already knows the answers too. Jesus replies with a question, asking him what has he read in the law. Very clever of Christ because he would have realized that this lawyer would be very knowledgeable of the law and what it says. The lawyer answers and says “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”  (v.27)  A correct answer and Jesus acknowledges that but the lawyer wants to really to get the win here, and seemingly prove his case and asks the question, and who is my neighbor? As I was reading the account it got me thinking and wondering the same question that the lawyer had asked. Who is my neighbor? Is my neighbor the folks that live on either side of me, or perhaps could I consider everyone in my neighborhood my neighbor? Really not that bad of a question if you ask me.

Today we can turn on the news and within a matter of minutes, we see stories about all kinds of death, hurt, destruction, illness and really just madness. With recent terrorist attacks in other regions of the world, I think it can become easy for us to come to the conclusion, that I’d rather not have any neighbors. If I can take care of me, myself and I then all other needs just become secondary or even non-existent.

This account in the Bible has never become more relevant. We see a Jewish man that is “stripped of his raiment, and wounded, and departed, and leaving him half dead.” (v.30) He’s obviously not in a good spot and yet what is to come is rather disturbing in one sense. A priest, which represents a religious man, comes by this wounded man and, “when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.” (v.31)  A priest is the first one to see the helpless man, and he we could say represents a religious man. As a Christian I feel like we are always being criticized, and it may even be fair to say that all those are considered people of religion share constant criticism, but God help us if we get to a point, where we see something and decide to not only let someone else handle it but rather take ourselves way out of the picture, and ‘pass by on the other side’ so to speak. We live in a society where everyone has to have their needs met right away and we are inconvenienced when we are asked to assist someone else.

Next, a Levite comes along, and his reaction is actually worse. “…when he was the place, came and looked on  him, and passed by the other side.” (v.32) It’s not that he glanced over, or tripped over the man, but he saw, he took the time to gaze upon, and then made the decision, to not even walk by but to take himself to the other side of the road and then pass by.  Today I think we can all relate in a sense. I remember in school seeing a fight break out and I never really wanted to get involved, and it seemed that the crowd that gathered around to watch didn’t either. Even if one person was getting annihilated everyone just waited for someone else to handle the situation. It’s sad that so many times in churches this same thing happens from time to time. We hear of a need, but we are too busy, or we have the ‘someone else can do that’ mentality. I have been guilty of that. But the fact of the matter is if I am able then I should help my neighbor and as a Christian I believe that is part of the following of Christ, to help those in need when I can.

Lastly, a Samaritan comes and takes care of the wounded man, cleaning up his wounds, and he even goes so far as to bring him to an inn and further take care of the man. (v. 33-35) Now we read that and honestly, we don’t really think that the Samaritan did anything that amazing. But what he did do was use his resources his animal, clothing, money, and energy. Something that we can do all do to help the needs of others.

But at the time of the story Jews and Samaritans hated each other. They had no dealings with one another. But yet the Samaritan helps this Jewish man to the ultimate degree and then some. When Jesus asks the lawyer who he thinks proved to be a good neighbor, the lawyer can’t even bring himself to say Samaritan, he just says, “he that showed mercy.” (v.37) 

So can I challenge everyone with this, as I have been challenged – it doesn’t matter what color, race, creed, gender, social status is can we be a Good Samaritan, because it doesn’t matter if someone is a homosexual, or a drunk, or a drug addict, or rich, or homeless, or black or white, or purple or fat or skinny or a pastor or a satanist. We all are neighbors of each other even though it may mot be a geographical sense. We all have neighbors that are in need. We probably don’t have to drive far and we’ll see a neighbor in need. Let’s put aside these barriers of why we can’t help someone else and instead come together like chain links and help those that needy. People may have less than us but that doesn’t mean they are less of a human than us.

 

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” – Matthew 5:43-44