Strong and Courageous

Read: Joshua 1:1-11

In many Mennonite Church libraries you can find a very large and heavy book that is entitled “Martyr’s Mirror.” This book records the many stories of Anabaptists who were persecuted and killed during the reformation period in the 1500’s.

It is often hard to read those stories and to grasp how cruel and hateful our human race can be to each other. It is even more disappointing to realize that many of those doing the killing were fellow Christians. But despite those hateful and violent actions so many early Anabaptists stayed strong and courageous in their faith and beliefs.

The Lord spoke that phrase many times in this first chapter of Joshua. He encourages Joshua and the Israelites to “be strong and courageous” as they enter into the promised land. They will need this encouragement for the many battles and struggles that they will encounter.

The truth is, many people are still persecuted for their faith today. They know what it means to have to be strong and courageous in the midst of life. Even today there are many stories of people who choose to respond in peaceful ways despite the hate and the persecution that they encounter.

I recently heard that there is a new updated version of Martyr’s Mirror that is now in the works. It will tell the new stories of our day when people around the world have stayed strong in their faith when faced with persecution and even death at times.

Jesus can help us be strong and have courage during those times of trial. Sometimes it is persecution for our faith, other times it is a trial that we are going through with our family, friends, or co-workers. When we face those various challenges we need to hear these words of the Lord spoken for us as well as Joshua.

In verse 9 it says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Remember those words this week as you face those people and things that are trying to defeat you. Respond in love and peace, and allow the strength of Christ to be your defense.

Make it personal: In this first chapter of Joshua there is one instance when Joshua says, “Go through the camp and tell the people!” Maybe that is our call this week. To hear these words of encouragement for ourselves, but then to also share them with others who may need to hear them.

Have a courageous week everyone,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church