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Living as godly people and doing God's work in this world are not always easy. Sometimes there are risks involved, and the risks are quite real. This is true simply because the devil, our adversary, tries in every possible way to obstruct us. And the fact is, he may be able to bring about circumstances in which we can be harmed in one way or another (at least in the short term) if we choose to obey God. The Lord urged that we count the cost of following Him -- and not become His disciples if we consider the cost too great!
Since obeying God can cost us dearly, it takes courage to do the right thing consistently. But courage is a quality we all can have. Whatever the opposition, whatever the dangers that must be faced, we can steel our wills to act obediently unto our Heavenly Father -- and when we do, we can be assured that He is willing and able to give us all the help and protection we need. There is no reason for God's people to be afraid of anything the devil can do.
Fear may be a feeling that creeps into our hearts in certain circumstances, but we always have the resources, in God, to go ahead and do the right thing despite our fear. In the Old Testament, God said to Joshua, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Josh. 1:9). And Jesus said to the brethren in Smyrna, "Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).
To His apostles, Jesus said, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (Jn. 16:33).
In the Lord, then, we can be strong. We can teach our children to be strong. We can influence one another, as brethren in the Lord, to be strong. This week, let's give our thought to the matter of increasing our courage. Let's bolster our defenses and stiffen our backbones. Paul said, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil" (Eph. 6:10,11). We are children of the King, and as such we ought to be the bravest folks in the world.
Monday: Psalm 23:1-6
Key Idea: If we love and obey God, He will help us and protect us.
Questions for Family Growth: How is God like a shepherd to us? What are some kinds of evil that we do not have to fear because God is with us? How would you define courage. How can we learn to have more courage?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:10.
Tuesday: 1 Samuel 17:41-54
Key Idea: If God is with us, we can do more than we think we can.
Questions for Family Growth: Why did David do what all the soldiers of Israel were afraid to do? In doing our work for God, why are we sometimes afraid to try big things? What "Goliaths" do you need to slay with the Lord's help?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:11.
Wednesday: Daniel 3:1-30
Key Idea: Sometimes people will try to stop us from doing what is right.
Questions for Family Growth: If our nation ever made a law requiring us to do something that is wrong, how should we respond to that? What did Peter and the other apostles say in Ac. 5:29. Do we ever have to disobey God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:12.
Thursday: Daniel 6:1-24
Key Idea: Obeying God is more important than saving our lives.
Questions for Family Growth: Might Daniel have been afraid to be thrown into the lions' den? How long had it been Daniel's practice to pray every day? Do good habits that we have formed help us at times when we need courage?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:13.
Friday: Philippians 4:10-13
Key Idea: When we meet difficulties trying to obey God, He will strengthen us.
Questions for Family Growth: Does this passage say God will help us accomplish any worldly objective we might want to achieve? What are the "all things" God has promised to help us with? What are some ways God gives us help and strength?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 21:14.