Be Strong!

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Have you ever had that happen? You looked forward to a change, but it didn't turn out quite the way you planned? Choose to rely on God's strength and follow Him by faith.

I think we look forward to each new year for the same reasons we feel a glimmer of hope when we see a sunrise or begin a new week: we sense a new beginning. Maybe we'll determine to "Turn over a new leaf," do things differently, or start fresh. I pray that you'll purpose in your heart to experience God in a radically new way, to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind" (Luke 10:27).

In Joshua 3, the Israelites were on the threshold of a new experience -- preparing to enter the Promised Land. It had been the subject of their conversations and the object of their dreams for 40 years. Now they were steps away from entering the land, but it wasn't what they expected. Have you ever had that happen? You looked forward to a change, but it didn't turn out quite the way you planned?

I've discovered that one of the problems with dreaming is that reality never quite lives up to the fantasy. This is what happened to the Israelites. Rather than finding a welcoming committee to usher them into the land, they found the Jordan River at flood stage, separating them from their blessing. They had traveled through the desert for 40 long boring years only to face a tidal wave of new circumstances.

I wouldn't be surprised if we find ourselves in a situation very similar to the Israelites. As we move forward, there are certainties and uncertainties, both on a personal and national level. But take heart! The seemingly impossible things we might face are really opportunities for our faith to grow. As Joshua told the children of Israel, "Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).

Whatever the future holds, you need not be afraid because God is with you! Corrie Ten Boom said, "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." In the coming year, choose to rely on God's strength and follow Him by faith as the children of Israel followed Him into the Promised Land.

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