by Tricia Schlegel

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrew 12:1). Believe. Look at all those who have gone before us and paved paths on hot, dry, dust flying in their faces witnesses…drivers…believers…conquerors…our family. People who carried hope and dreams and stepped into their calling paving the path for us today. Their blood running in our veins.

We’ve sang the songs and heard the sermons and read the Word as to what God can do but what will we do? How will we take the words we heard and give them structure- bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles so that they walk out of our lives and show up as living proof that He is God? The one true God who is alive today. Our very hearts beating with the heart of the Holy Spirit until our Words and actions become so congruent with who Jesus is that as soon as people see our face, they see the face of Jesus. A people who bind up wounds and are willing to dig our hands in the dirt to build wells, to feed our neighbors to fearlessly love all and like the One above all.

God is saying to us the same thing he said to Moses, Joshua, Mary and Abraham and Hagar and so many others ”Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9).

Be strong and courageous when you lead and follow, when you parent and when you face the giant. Be strong and courageous when you face the past or face the future. Be strong and courageous when you love and care. When your love is rejected and the pain is too much to bear. When you have to wait or finish or stop. When the answer is no and all the doors close. When God tell you to trust and begin to move or run fast. When you have to ask for help. When you have nothing left. When the calling of God beats within your heart and travels up your throat until it comes out of your mouth. When you reject the lie and speak the truth.

Be strong and courageous because GOD IS WITH YOU. Because there is no obstacle, barrier, disease, failure, difficulty, challenge, fear, pain or oppression that He can’t beat. There is no place where you go that He isn’t there. There is no power greater than the great I AM. Because we are his, do not be afraid. We are His. Do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous. Because He is WITH us, do not be afraid. Be strong and courageous!

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