Take Courage

In concluding His final address to the apostles before His arrest, Jesus told them to be courageous in the face of the hardships that would be coming against them.

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Courage is the confidence and conviction to do what one knows to be right, regardless of the consequences. The apostles needed courage to carry out the Lord’s instructions without being deterred by the persecution that awaited them.

As Christians, we also need to have courage today. The Lord has left instructions for us to follow. We are to “observe all that [Christ] commanded” (Matthew 28:20). Furthermore, we are warned that we will become a target by following the Lord’s instructions. Paul said, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

How can we “take courage” (John 16:33) so that we will be able to endure the sufferings that will come for the cause of Christ?
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You Too Have Done Evil and Have Not Listened (8/11)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Jeremiah 14-17.

Now when you tell this people all these words, they will say to you, ‘For what reason has the Lord declared all this great calamity against us? And what is our iniquity, or what is our sin which we have committed against the Lord our God?’ Then you are to say to them, ‘It is because your forefathers have forsaken Me,‘ declares the Lord, ‘and have followed other gods and served them and bowed down to them; but Me they have forsaken and have not kept My law. You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me. So I will hurl you out of this land into the land which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers; and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will grant you no favor” (Jeremiah 16:10-13).

The people could not understand why God would be punishing them. They had been deceived by the false prophets into thinking they were secure, yet Jeremiah spoke of calamity. They were blind to their own sin, so they challenged Jeremiah’s message. But Jeremiah gave them three reasons why God was sending a great calamity against them.
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Pots of Meat and Plenty of Bread (2/4)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Exodus 16-18.

It did not take long for the Israelites who had seen the destruction of Pharaoh and his army to begin murmuring and complaining.

The whole congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The sons of Israel said to them, ‘Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into the wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger’” (Exodus 16:2-3).

How quickly they forgot the conditions they had endured in Egypt – forced labor, cruel beatings, and lacking the freedom to worship God according to His instructions. By this point, all they wanted to remember was the fact that they had food to eat and, though the circumstances may not have been ideal, they had sufficient security and stability to expect that those “pots of meat” would continue to be available.
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When Did the Lord Restore Job’s Fortunes? (1/15)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Job 40-42.

When we read the book of Job, we have an advantage that this man of old did not have – we know that he is greatly blessed in the end. Job began as a wealthy man with a large family, but all of that was quickly taken away. He then suffered – unjustly, as he contended – unsure of what would happen in the future.

God certainly did bless Job in the end. But it is interesting to see when He did so:

The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had two-fold” (Job 42:10).

Job’s friends had unjustly accused him of wrongdoing, arguing that this was the cause of his suffering. They had also misrepresented God, affirming that He was acting against Job, rather than Satan who had been allowed to afflict him. It would have been easy for Job to hold a grudge against his friends. But he did not. Instead he prayed for them. And he did not forgive them after his suffering was over and he was able to put it behind him. He forgave his friends, then God restored his fortunes.

We need to have the attitude of forgiveness of which Jesus spoke:

Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven’” (Matthew 18:21-22).

If we have been wronged, we need to be willing to forgive, even before our unfortunate circumstances improve.

Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 12-15

[I’m using the Chronological reading plan on the Bible Gateway website if you’d like to follow along, too.]

Daily Notes & Observations contains all 365 articles from this series and is available in paperback from Gospel Armory.

The Wicked Prosper (1/9)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Job 21-23.

Why do the wicked still live, continue on, also become very powerful? Their descendants are established with them in their sight, and their offspring before their eyes, their houses are safe from fear, and the rod of God is not on them. His ox mates without fail; his cow calves and does not abort. They send forth their little ones like the flock, and their children skip about. They sing to the timbrel and harp and rejoice at the sound of the flute. They spend their days in prosperity, and suddenly they go down to Sheol. They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what would we gain if we entreat Him?’” (Job 21:7-15).

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Man is Short-Lived and Full of Turmoil (1/7)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Job 14-16.

Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil” (Job 14:1).

Job, while enduring the degree of hardships that most of us will never face, well understood two facts that are easy to forget when everything is going well.
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Hope in God (1/6)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Job 10-13.

Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him” (Job 13:15).

Job was in a miserable state, unsure why he was suffering as he was. His friends had been telling him this was God’s doing, a divine punishment for some sin Job refused to acknowledge. With nowhere else to turn, Job wanted a chance to appeal directly to God.

But even with the suffering that God was allowing, though Job may not have understood it, he was determined to put his full faith and trust in God. He knew this was the only place of security. Any hope he had for the future rested in the Lord.
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