Crossing Ahead

I mentioned earlier that the theme of our time in Israel has been courage.  The subject continues to dominate the landscape of our experience. Yet it just dawned on me a moment ago. Call it an epiphany, or may be just a firm grasp of the obvious.

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous…” Joshua 1:6,7

It’s a huge hint as to what life will be like for the people of the promise. Yes, it will require courage to cross over the Jordan. But it will take an equal, if not greater, amount of courage to remain in the Land. Receiving the promise of God is one thing. Laying hold of it is another.

Perhaps this is just another metaphor of our lives as Christians. We spend an inordinate amount of time considering the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. Once we step by faith into the promise of new life, we may mistakenly believe that this is both the beginning and the end of the Christian experience.

We forget that though it requires courage to enter the Land, and  we will need more courage to live in it. We must be very courageous.

Jesus said that He came that we may have life, and have it abundantly. “Life” may be the equivalent of entering the Land. “Life abundantly” may describe how we are to live in it. To take life courageously and take hold of the life that is truly life. I suggest that this was designed to be one and the same.

Jesus didn’t come to be only a Savior, but Savior and  Lord.

So here’s to courage to enter the life that Jesus came to bring to the World. And here’s to the sustained courage required to live the life!

 

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Courage

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is remaining committed to a course of action in spite of fear.

This has become the dominant theme on our trip to Israel this year. From the stories we have explored, to the sites we have visited and the people we have met. The catalyst has been courage.

Today we visited a kibbutz called Nir-am. It is located approximately three miles directly east of the Gaza Strip. This small farming community, founded in 1946, was home to be 500 men, women and children when I visited in the early Spring of 2009. Currently there are only 350 occupants. The reason? Nir-Am has been struck by over 150 missiles, known as Qassams, launched by their neighbors to the west. The air raid alarm sounds approximately 10-20 times a day, giving the residents a 15 second warning to reach safety in the event that the missile is heading toward them.

I saw this clip on YouTube two years ago and watched it again today. This young woman tells her heart-breaking story more powerfully than I could attempt to summarize. Please take the time to watch, and remember a small community of peaceable families who live with the threat of random violence on a daily basis. By choice.

This is what courage looks like.