When I was in high school, our teachers held a pep rally before every big American-style football game. Cheerleaders in short skirts and bulky sweaters led us in cheers designed to increase the courage of the team, especially if the opposing team had never lost a game. Then on the day of the game in the locker room, the coach gave the guys a pep talk to increase their bravery as they faced the other team. Out in the huddle at the fifty-yard line, the players gathered around the quarterback, who called the plays but also urged his teammates to play their best game.
Likewise, when challenges face us, a pep talk is always in order. Those who know me might be surprised to discover that I often need a courage boost as I face a congregation or an audience, or write something for publication. Often, this pep talk comes from the words of Scripture, such as those I read this morning:
Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (NIV 2011)
The first chapter of the book of Joshua contains Joshua's pep talk to the people of Israel at their camp on the edge of the Promised Land. In this speech, Joshua exhorted the people four times to "be strong and courageous". He told them that they could forge ahead as they obeyed God and trusted the Lord to lead the way. With many other words of encouragement, he told the people that they could do this because the Lord would go with them to fight for them if only they would obey and rely on God.
These are words for us today, too. When we face the trials that life throws our way, we can draw strength from God's Word that He will be with us. Our part is to trust and obey Him. When we pray for His presence, He will infuse us with strength and courage to face our future.
Prayer: God, grant us strength and courage to follow where You lead us for Jesus' sake. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Praise My Soul The King Of Heaven" (Lyrics)