Tag Archive | Deuteronomy 31:6

Saddle Up Anyway

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” (HSCB)

Courage can mean different things to different people or different things in different situations. Courage is most often associated with physical heroics but we do things everyday that require courage. The late actor John Wayne is quoted as saying, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” I asked several people for personal examples of courage and answers ranged from asking someone on a date to skydiving. For me buying a house took great courage. I had wanted a house of my own for years but signing my name to that page with all the dollar signs gave me the shakes! In Acts 4 Peter and John are arrested because they were teaching the people and proclaiming resurrection from the dead, using Jesus as an example (4:2). After a night in jail, they were brought before the Jewish Council and someone made the mistake of asking Peter by what power had he healed the crippled man. Verse 8 says that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. Wow! I bet that was something to see! Peter has had moments of being intimidated but this isn’t one of them. To be certain they knew who provided the healing power, Peter gave Jesus’ name, title, and hometown, and, just in case there was still any confusion, describes the Jewish leaders’ treatment of Jesus. After lots of whispering, head shaking, and exasperated sighs (okay, that part isn’t in the scripture but you know it happened!), The Council commanded Peter and John to stop what they were doing (v.18); Peter said “Yeah, you wait for that” (my rewording of v. 19), and after more threats, they left the temple. Peter and John knew the potential consequences of their disobedience. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego of Daniel 3 faced the consequence of their disobedience. Isaiah 7:9 says “unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.” They had resolved to trust God and do His will no matter the cost. God always gives us strength to do what He has commanded, but the strength may not be evident until we step out. Joshua 1:9 says to be strong and courageous because God is with us wherever we go. God knows that we need courage. Surfer Bethany Hamilton is quoted as saying, “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.” I pray that the Lord will give me a courageous heart, a heart that will follow Him even when I am afraid, and that I will live the life of courage He planned for me. Billy Graham once said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Lord, You know the problems and situations I face daily. Help me to face it all bravely and to be someone who helps others be brave as well.

Mary, the Mom

Luke 1:38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (NKJV)

With all of the different nativity scenes, the pageants, and the reenactments this time of year, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is brought to our attention. I look at her and can’t help but think of Mary, the mom to Jesus. Luke 1:26-28 tells us that an angel appeared to Mary. As the angel talked to her, Mary became aware of three things – 1. She would get pregnant. 2. Joseph would be well aware it was not his baby. 3. She and Joseph both would be ridiculed, humiliated, and shunned by the people they loved. Mary knew the social climate. She knew all that awaited her when her baby bump began to show. I would think that Mary would plant her feet, and with hands on hips, loudly proclaim, “Have you lost your mind? I’m not doing that!” Quite honestly, that probably would have been my reaction, but Luke 1:38 tells us that Mary said, “Okay. If that is what God wants me to do, I’ll do it.” We have heard the story of how she went into labor while traveling and delivered her baby in a stable — no midwife, no one who had experienced labor to sooth and comfort her when the pains were hard and seemed never ending, no mother or sister or friend to assure and encourage her. I really can’t imagine that Joseph was very much help – first time dads are usually too nervous themselves to be a calming influence on anyone else – and this was a time when men did not participate in the birthing process. I don’t think I can even begin to envision how terrified they must have been! Then it comes time to leave, and they have this baby. I think back to when my son was born and the nurse handed me a baby and told me that I had to take him home with me. I was wondering, “What kind of medical personnel would give a newborn to two such unprepared people? What are these nurses thinking?” I just picture Joseph and Mary looking at the baby and at each other, and wondering, “What is God thinking?” But, they take that little boy and they make a home. Joseph probably made Him work in the carpenter shop. Mary probably made Him watch His younger siblings while she ran errands. I look at Mary and she always looks so serene, and I wonder ………

Mary, when you were coaching your little boy to walk, did you ever think that one day He would coach Peter to walk on water?

Mary, when you were teaching your little boy to speak real words, did you ever think that one day He would speak to thousands?

Mary, when you were teaching your little boy to feed Himself, did you ever think that one day He would feed multitudes with a lunch another mom packed for her little boy?

Mary, when you healed your little boy’s boo-boos with a kiss, did you ever think that one day He would heal people with a touch or a word?

Mary, when your little boy was showing His siblings the best way to get around the village, did you ever think that one day He would show people the only way to get to heaven?

Mary, when you grabbed your little boy and kissed His face, did you ever think that one day soldiers would grab Him and beat Him until that face was unrecognizable?

Mary was a chosen woman, a woman of God, mother to the Christ, but Mary was mom to a little boy that she loved as only a mother can. Mary was an ordinary woman called to do extraordinary things, and God blessed her because she followed the plan that He had for her. Just as God had a plan for Mary, He has a plan for me. Just like Mary, I need to follow the plan He has for me. It may not always make sense to me and it may not be the way I would have chosen, but like Mary I need to say, “Okay. If that’s what God wants me to do, I’ll do it.”

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the promise of Isaiah 41:10. I know that You are always with me (Deuteronomy 31:6), and I know that You have a specific plan meant only for me (Jeremiah 29:11). Forgive my uncertainty, my doubts, and my fears. Forgive me for giving the thoughts and opinions of others the power to blind me to the sight of what You have in store for me. I may not understand and may even be confused by Your plan, but like Mary, I want to boldly say, “Okay. If that’s what God wants me to do, I’ll do it.