Just a friendly public service announcement....

As of late, I've noticed that my posts have been covering the same general topic, so I'm sorry for the repetition, but I'm not sorry at the same time because it's an issue that every Christian faces one time or another and it should not be faced alone. A good friend told me today that we should stay attached to the Vine. Okay fellow branches, let's help one another with a worldly issue that we combat far too often: fear.

This is going to be a continuation of a post I wrote almost two years ago, but it's definitely an interesting concept: how do we see ourselves in the Bible? How do we relate to the characters in this epic non-fiction novel?

Allow me to introduce myself as Joshua. Read with me in Deuteronomy 31:1-8 along with Joshua 1:6-9 so you don't get confused with my attempt at an analogy:

I came into college knowing that in four years, I would get my degree. It didn't seem like a huge deal because I was a naive little freshman coming into college with 2016 far from sight, so I had nothing to worry about. I am now in my last semester of undergrad, which is both reason for celebration (Hooray! I'm finally done!) and reason for panic (Oh no, what's next?). I'm discouraged in a sense that I don't know what to tell people when they ask what my plans are after graduation, and it doesn't help my cause that I have an extra five to six months to fill with whatever since I'm finishing a semester early (Hip hip hooray for being an eager beaver, I guess...).

Joshua was called by God through Moses to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land. It didn't really seem too bad because Moses was still alive for the remaining four chapters of Deuteronomy. It's not until the book of Joshua begins that the truth sets in, certainly along with nervousness and anxiety. Oh snap, Joshua is going to lead these people. How on Earth is he going to fulfill this task that God has set before him?!

Let's look at Joshua 1:6-9...
"Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them." Oh boy, this is really happening? Right now? 
"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it." What were Moses' instructions again?
Let's look at Deuteronomy 31, specifically verses 7-8...
 "Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, 'Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them and their grants of land. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.'"
 Back to Joshua...
"This is my command -- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
This last verse is huge: "This is my command...." Who's speaking here? It's not Moses. He's dead. He died before this book began. This is God's command. His command. What does He command you to? Be strong and courageous. How many times in these few verses does God say either through Moses or directly to Joshua? SIX TIMES. Well, technically four, but there's double negatives involved.... I digress. But isn't that some indication that this is important? Yes, it's painfully obvious in this text. Yes, it's hard to apply in life, but it's God's command to be strong and courageous because guess what? God is right there walking with you through every moment of your life. Yeeaahhh, even in the rough patches when you feel like you're wandering aimlessly in the dark. Not only is He walking with you but He's walking ahead of you, so you shouldn't be afraid of what is to come because God is already there!

Take heart! Whatever your circumstances, no matter how big they seem, God is bigger! Be strong and courageous!

God bless! :)

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