As we progress through this first month of the New Year it is so easy to quickly get discouraged with all the things that we want to accomplish. We have goals and dreams for our family, our future, our relationships; and yet we know that we need to continually rely on God to lead and direct us. The problem is so often that we want a nice road map to follow, a well defined strategy that will get us to our destination. But I was reminded this week that even though goals, planning and strategies are good and very effective, life does have a way of throwing us curve balls from time to time and can make our progress seem meaningless. This is where we need to gain courage. We need to take a step back from what might try and overwhelm us or hinder our progress forward and draw strength from God and others. This is what Joshua was facing when he was about to take the place of Moses. Moses was getting old, and was told by God that he wasn’t the one to lead the Israelites into the promise land, but it would be Joshua instead. Now Joshua had a big task before Him but was reminded by Moses in Deuteronomy and by God in the book of Joshua to “be strong and courageous” and not to fear because God will go with him and be his constant help. Later on in chapter 23 of Joshua we see Joshua now encouraging his leaders who are about to carry the torch with the same words, reminding them of God’s constant present and faithfulness in victory. The bottom line is that we are all called to do great things, we are called to not only live for God but make his power, might and goodness known by being a testimony of His faithfulness in our lives. This is what Moses spoke to Joshua from his own experiences. Then Joshua spoke it to his future leaders who would take his place because he had seen the faithfulness of God for himself also. As Christians our greatest gift that we can give is to strengthen one another by speaking encouraging words that build up and launch another forward in what God would have them do. You may think that there is no one to encourage you, but there are voices all around us; some in books, some on social media. We are surrounded by constant noise, so find what brings you up higher, strengthens you and then find a way to strengthen others. It’s why I write. To encourage others in their walk with Jesus and one another. It’s rather simple, but effective. And I think that is the way it is suppose to be. Jesus said his yolk is easy and his burden is light. He was never stressed out trying to do what heard from the father, he just did it. So be strong and courageous in whatever the Lord is calling you to do. If you don’t know what he might be asking, a great book by one of my favorite authors might help. It’s called “The Art of Work” by Jeff Goins, and it talks all about our calling and how to have courage to live it out. We are all on a journey, and we all have choices everyday to live our life’s purpose. I guess Joshua could have said no, but he was strengthened and encouraged that when God goes with him, things will always work out. So I charge you and myself today “Be strong and Courageous, do not be terrified of them, for the Lord your God goes with you” He will protect you and keep you safe, but you must choose to believe that you have something worthy of giving away. God has given us all gifts, talents and abilities, but it’s up to us and our free will to decide to use them. We need God at our side at all times, and he promises to never leave us our forsake us. So take his hand and live the adventure that he has called you to live. It won’t always be easy, and it will be the difficulties that will build ones resolve, but he will always see us through. He has begun a good work in each of us, and he is faithful to complete it. Be blessed and encouraged today as you seek and follow His voice in your life. It’s going to be a great year as we move forward into all that God has called to do and become for His glory.