10 January, 2018

This year's phrase to ponder

On New Year's Day I pondered here about selecting a Scripture passage to ponder for this year (and especially committed to writing about it here monthly), like I did the last time we went back to Australia (2014). Last time I pondered the first three verses of Hebrews 12. Really, those are verses that I never don't want to ponder, like a life "verse", except it is longer than one verse.

So I wondered if there was a different verse/verses that would be good for this year of transition, thinking perhaps there wouldn't be. But on Monday I went to our monthly regional OMF prayer and fellowship day and the short devotional was on Joshua 1. These words especially impacted me:

"Have I not commanded you? 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 NIV).

Great words that struck me as very appropriate. God said these to Joshua after Moses died and before he led Israel into the Promised Land (after they'd left slavery in Egypt and wandered in the dessert for 40 years). Imagine how much impact that would have had!

It turns out that these phrases are often repeated in various forms in Scripture and thus aren't just good for meditating on, but allow scope for studying a bit more over the year (or at least some of the year) in blog posts.

This isn't a new year's resolution, just a theme that I want to keep coming back to as we go through a big year of transition.

I find it easy to be fearful in the face of transition, as I encounter big changes and challenges. And that's obviously where Joshua stood when he heard these words. What we're doing isn't nearly so big (leading a nation of more than one million people into an occupied land to live!) So these words were obviously well chosen by God.

Yesterday I was riding home with a bike-full of groceries and feeling tight around the chest with all the things on my mental to-do list as well as some relationship issues that I'd been reminded of during the previous couple of days. Maybe you could sense that anxiety in my blog post yesterday. As I sat at a set of traffic lights I repeated to myself: "Be strong and courageous. Don't be afraid or discouraged. God is with you." I could feel the tension releasing, even as I rode off.

It was excellent self-talk and timely.

I'll be circling back to these phrases in the coming months around the start of each month. Stick around and see where it leads me!

1 comment:

Judy Bolin said...

Thanks Wendy. I've been reading the Book of Joshua and been encouraged by those words too. So simple but so powerful.