|Beautiful graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings|
Sometimes I've even made Pinterest boards for my word of the year, for I find that invariably I run across blog posts or other information that relates to the word. A Pinterest board gives me a place to put these so I don't lose them and can easily return to them. Below you see a screenshot showing part of 2018's board. Here's a link if you'd like to visit the board: Settled — My Word for 2018.
This year I have chosen the word "courage". Below you see a dictionary definition for courage.
I thought it would be a good idea to also look this up in a Bible dictionary, since I would be approaching this word from somewhat of a spiritual perspective.
Here is the definition from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary: "the strength of purpose that enables one to withstand fear or difficulty. Physical courage is based on moral courage -- a reliance on the presence and power of God and a commitment to His commandments."
I like that definition quite a bit better, don't you? The standard dictionary definition leaves out God, His presence, and His power!
The Bible dictionary references two verses: Joshua 23:6 and 2 Chronicles 19:11.
Joshua 23:6 reads, "Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right and or to the left."
And the last part of 2 Chronicles 19:11 reads, "Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good."
I will add the verse I am using to encourage myself with courage at the end of the post.
A bit about the "why" of choosing this word: I know that we all need courage from God to face the unknowns of any given new year. But to me, this year holds some "known unknowns". That is, I know there are things that are scheduled to happen in the coming year, but I have no idea at all how they are necessarily going to look.
For example: My trust and estate responsibilities will continue, but the time frame and details could be variable. My hubby plans at least a partial retirement from his current job in late fall 2019, but how that is going to play out is very much up in the air. At church, we continue to work at our pastoral search and certainly pray that 2019 will be the year God provides a pastor for us. There will be innumerable unknowns between this point and that. Dental or health needs need to be addressed for both of us, along with all of the unknowns that decisions like that can hold. There are concerns about my hubby's aging mother. We will probably spend time with our Nevada family, but whether they come here or we go there is still being thought and prayed about. I could go on and on and on; those are just the bigger things. I will need courage from God for every one of them.
Joshua 1:9 is the verse I am holding in my heart as I trust God for courage in 2019: "Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
A couple of years ago, I studied this verse using the simple SOAP method of Bible study, and thought I would just share those very simple insights here. The "S", of course, is for "Scripture", and I have written that out above, so we will just go on with the rest of the acronym and see what I found.
O= After Moses' death, God spoke to Joshua, who would be the new leader of the children of Israel. How amazing it must have been to be encouraged by God Himself! He assured Joshua that every inch of the promised land was theirs (v. 2-4); that He would be with him and not fail or forsake him; that no man would be able to stand before them (v. 5). He encouraged and commanded Joshua to keep His Word in the forefront of his thinking, to meditate on it and obey it (v. 7-8).
Here in v. 9, God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous: "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage." This is the third time God has told him this: verses 6 and 7 record the same command. He expands on it here:
* Be not afraid
* Be not dismayed
And then He tells him why: "for the LORD thy God is with thee wherever thou goest." What possible need could there be for fear?
A= This is the perfect day for me to be meditating upon this verse. Things are changing in my life. There are many things I could be fearful about, from family concerns to legal matters. Literally, things will never be the same as they were before. And yet ...
* I can be strong
* I can be courageous
* I need not be afraid
* I need not be dismayed
* The Lord my God is with me wherever I go and whatever I face.
P= Lord, how I thank and praise You for Your Word! I thank You today in particular for this powerful verse. What a great reminder! Because You, the all-powerful, all-knowing God, are with me, I can be strong and very courageous. There is no need for fear or dismay. I pray that you will help me to keep this verse firmly in my mind as I face the unknown, and thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen.
Those things are every bit as true as they were in 2017 when I studied that verse. So thankful that I can face the unknowns of this new year with strength and courage from God Himself!