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I’ve read this verse a thousand times. I’ve written about it. I’ve taught on it. But today as I was reading the final days of Christ’s life on earth I was hit by a new truth. Okay, new only in the sense of perspective.

Jesus promises to be with us. ALWAYS.

  • With us when we are under attack;
  • With us when we struggle with finances;
  • With us when illness attacks our bodies or the bodies of loved ones;
  • With us when we struggle with addictions;
  • With us in through divorce;
  • With us when we did that sin…again:
  • With us when we feel lonely and rejected;
  • With us in the storms of life;
  • Add your struggle here…

The thing is, this phrase is stuck at the end of what is commonly called the Great Commission but it’s truth goes far beyond evangelism. It’s a lifestyle. He doesn’t promise to remove the hard times. He does promise to walk with us along the way.

What’s your struggle today. Jesus is with you whether you feel him or not.


Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

It amazes me how many times the challenge to be patient and have courage occurs in the Bible. It’s almost like our Heavenly Father is trying to tell us something!

When you think about it, the two go hand in hand. When we are impatient we tend to react instead of act. We lash out verbally. We take action without seeing all the possibilities or ramifications of our actions. We take unnecessary actions and later need to suffer the consequences. Think about it. It was one act of impatience the forced Moses to flee into the wilderness after his outburst of anger killed an Egyptian. It was one act of anger (impatience) that led him to strike the rock rather than speak to it as God commanded him. One forced him into the wilderness, the other forced him to stay in the wilderness.

While impatience can be thought of as acting too quickly, fear keeps us from acting at all. God often seems to link patience and courage together for a reason. One (patience) allows us time to listen to him. The other (courage) requires action! We don’t serve a stagnant God. He doesn’t change in character but if you’ve ever noticed a sunset you realize he rarely does things the same and always does them with excellence.

Courage is waiting for God’s timing and moving forward as he moves us.

Patience and courage. One gives us time to seek God’s wisdom, the other moves us forward with his blessing.


While the Bible was written thousands of years ago, it continues to amaze me, especially in the stories it tells. The stories told are proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s humbling to realize that after all these years the human race is no closer to figuring out how to treat each other. The result is a sense of fear, frustration and hopelessness.

It’s easy to say ‘I believe in God. He is my hope’ but for many of us, at least for me, it’s much easier to put my hope in God when my checkbook is okay, my kids behave, and I haven’t done something stupid to cause friction in the family!

When prayers go unanswered; when there’s more month at the end of the money; when the doctors report is ominous; when the police are knocking on the door, it’s a little more difficult to follow the Apostle’s advice to ‘count it all joy when we encounter various trials.’

No where is this better illustrated than by Mark in the Gospel bearing his name. A discouraged father reaches the end of his rope. He most likely hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since his son began to have seizures that attempted to kill him with fire or drowning.

In an act of desperation he seeks out Jesus (Even back then it was incredibly hard for a guy to ask for help). The story gets worse. When he arrives at the place where Jesus was reported to be, he finds out Jesus was on a retreat with a couple of disciples. The other disciples failed miserably to be of any help whatsoever. An argument ensued. “You mean to tell me I came all this way and you can’t help?”

When Jesus finally arrived, dad told his story. He asks IF Jesus can help. Jesus says, if you believe, all things are possible. Dad blurted out “I DO believe…” but no sooner were the words out of his mouth than he realized that deep down, he struggled with doubt. He finished his sentence with the words many of us say during the honest moments of our lives, “help me in my unbelief!

It’s easy to believe when life is good. Not always so when life goes south. So, like the dad, I often catch myself admitting my desire to believe is greater than my ability to believe.

Have you been there? When we use human logic; when we put our trust in our own resources, Hope is hard to come by. When we put our hope completely in God we find comfort. But here’s the best part. He knows going into all this that you will struggle with belief. He knows that no matter how many times he shows himself capable, you’ll be attacked with the demon named worry. But that’s okay. His power is as result of who he is, not the level of you’re ability to believe.

Rest in his comfort.


The story of Joshua is one we should all learn from. As a young man he watched and learned from Moses, whose story is equally amazing. Born with a golden spoon in his mouth, he blew it all in a fit of rage. Then he ran for his life only to be called into service by God to lead a rebellious, stubborn people to a land he would never enter himself because of … a fit of rage.

Enter Joshua. He’d stood with Moses through much of the wilderness wandering In the midst of seeing Moses’ failures, he saw a God of power, strength, provision, holiness, and most of all, grace!

Chapter one of the book that bears his name is, in a sense, God’s motivational speech in the locker room before the big game.

He reminded Joshua that he should be strong and courageous. Not because of Joshua’s strength but because he was chosen by God for this task. ““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. Joshua‬ ‭1:6

He was reminded Joshua that his power would come through his obedience to God’s directives, not because of any knowledge or wisdom he had within himself. Be strong and very courageous. Success in God’s kingdoms comes from obedience. 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. Joshua‬ ‭1:7

He reminded Joshua that no matter how bad it gets on the field, God is by his side reminding him of the game plan that would never fail. No matter how hopeless the situation, Joshua was God’s man and was never alone. 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.” Joshua‬ ‭1:9

God reassured Joshua that there would be those who would rise up against him. Whenever you are doing God’s work, there will be those who oppose you. The closer you grow to God, the more his power will be evident and the more his power is evident, the more people will try to pull you down. But don’t spend your time defending yourself. God’s got your back. Just do what you do. Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”” Joshua‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭

Are you up against a struggle? Does the future hold lots of questions and possibilities? Are you being oppressed by fear?

Be Strong. Be Courageous. With God on your side, failure isn’t an option.


Jesus once said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Matthew 7:13-14

I continue to be amazed at the dichotomies in the Christian life. We are told to follow this itinerant preacher who came on the scene from virtually nowhere, spent a few years here on earth and then was brutally murdered. His 12 closest followers all met the same fate, as did 1,000’s since then.

Who, in their right mind would agree to a proposal to follow a life in which you will have no pillow for your head, you’ll be ridiculed, and live in constant danger of death.

Yet, as the Psalmist writes, His will is where I want to be. If I follow his will completely I will stare adversity in the face. If I follow his teachings I will be labeled intolerant, out of touch with reality, and a whole lot of other social labels.

Still, regardless of all the external realities, He offers a peace and joy that nothing else can measure up to. His way will not be the easiest. His way will not be the most popular. But his way offers me something the world can never give me, nor take away. Peace. So, as Job said, ‘Even though he slay me, yet will I trust him’.

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