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Alexander III of Macedon is better known as Alexander the Great, King of the ancient Greek Kingdom of Macedon. He succeeded his father Philip II to the throne in 336 BC at the age of 20. His ruling years were largely given to lengthy military campaigns throughout Western and Central Asia, parts of Southern Asia and Egypt. By age 30, Alexander had created one of the largest empires in history, stretching from Greece to Northwestern India.

He was undefeated in battle and is widely considered to be one of history's greatest and most successful military commanders. He was known for his unstoppable courage, bravery, undaunting and death-defying, risk-taking achievements. He also did not tolerate cowardice, fear or weakness in any of his warriors.

One day, a young soldier from his troops was brought before Alexander the Great, charged with deserting his fellow soldiers in the heat of battle. When he heard the charge, Alexander the Great rose up, his face red with rage and raising his voice, shouted at the young man, "What is your name?" "Alexander" was the stammered reply of the young coward. More outraged than ever, Alexander the Great shouted out "Young man, change your name or change your conduct"!

I believe it is necessary for us who call ourselves Christians to seriously evaluate the confession we make regarding whose name we embrace and call ourselves by. If we truly embrace the Name of Jesus Christ (Christians) and identify with Him, then we must embrace personal courage and repudiate cowardice, fear, weakness or embarrassment! These are not appropriate for the followers of Jesus! We live in an ever-increasing hostile nation and world. Christianity is on the chopping block; the devil and his cohorts are waging warfare with those who love and serve Jesus. The Persecuted Church exists all over this present world. These brothers and sisters in Christ are imprisoned, beat-up, tortured, dragged away from family, and even killed just because they follow and love Jesus. Let's not kid ourselves, serious persecution is rapidly encroaching upon us, even in America. Recent headlines reflect that this is currently beginning to take place in various cities and communities in our land. I believe followers of Jesus will face greater hostility, and will, even in the USA, be subjected to more intense persecution and punishment for naming the name of Jesus Christ. Can we imagine being forced to either deny Him or die for Him? It may become more of a reality as time goes on with the need for us to demonstrate undaunting, unstoppable and death-defying courage! It seems today that this kind of courage is on the endangered character quality list.

Joshua, a courageous commander of God, leading the Israelite Nation to the Promised Land, helps us regarding this courage dilemma. He presents assurances and promises from God, along with some pertinent challenges and warnings. The 23rd chapter of Joshua and other passages from this book includes them.

I. Assurances and Promises

a. You have seen God at work for you. Vs. 3 "It is the LORD your God who has fought for you."

b. The LORD will finish what He has started. Vs. 4 "The LORD. . .will push them back and drive them out

of your sight."

c. The Lord is a promise-making and promise-keeping God. Vs. 5 "And you shall possess their land, just

as the LORD your God promised you."

1. "For the LORD has driven out before you great and strong nations. And. . .no man has been able to

stand before you. . . ." Vs. 9

2. ". . .the LORD your God who fights for you, just as he promised you." Vs. 10

I want to encourage you! Discover God's never-failing, gracious and precious promises from God to you! You can ONLY discover them by consistently reading, studying and meditating on His Word (the Bible). Then TRUST His Word, His promises and assurances to you! The choice is our's and our's alone! We can either ignore or doubt His promises, or we can believe and trust them! Too many of us approach this privilege nonchalantly with a non-committed behavior pattern. This is truly to our detriment! If we have difficulty doing this, I encourage you to write Scriptural Affirmations on a 3" x 5" index card and keep it with you, easily accessible at all times. Personalize these affirmations! Here is a couple of examples:

"The battle is not mine, but God's" - II Chronicles 20:15

"I will be strong and courageous" - Joshua 1:9

The supply of Scripture verses for affirmations of faith and trust building is unending.

II. Challenges

a. Be Strong - Joshua 23:6 This challenge is directly linked to obedience. "Be very strong to keep and to

do ALL that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses. . . ."

b. Stay Pure/Holy - Vs. 7 ". . .that you may not mix with these (other) nations. . .or make mention of the

names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them. . . ."

c. Cling on to God - Vs. 8 "But you shall cling to the LORD your God. . . ."

d. Renew Your Love For God - Vs. 11 "Be very careful, therefore, to love the LORD your God."

III. Warnings

a. "Be strong and very courageous" - Joshua 1:9 It means to stand up straight, unapologetic!

b. Be obedient to God - Joshua 1:8 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you

shall dwell on it day and night, so that you may be careful TO DO (obey) according to ALL that is

written in it."

c. Maintain a straight course - Joshua 1:7 ". . .being careful TO DO according to ALL the law that Moses

my servant commanded you. Do Not TURN from it to the right hand or to the left. . . ." (This was God's

direct command given through Joshua.)

d. Be faithful in seeking God's direction - Joshua 1:8 ". . .you shall meditate on it day and night."

e. Reject fear - Embrace Courage - Joshua 1:9 "Do not be frightened." "Be strong and courageous"

f. Reject discouragement - Embrace Contented Trust - Joshua 1:9 "Do not be dismayed" "for the LORD

your God is with you wherever you go."

g. Go to battle - Joshua 21:43 "Thus the LORD gave to Israel ALL the land that he swore to give to their

fathers. And they took possession (not without battle) of it, and they settled there."

IV. Lessons

I see three pivotal lessons given to us here through Joshua:

1. Be radically devoted to God in all things

2. Be irrevocably committed to God's will and purpose

3. Be relentlessly dedicated to obeying and trusting God, even in apparent adversity.

If we incorporate these lessons into our life-style, we won't have to change either our

name or our conduct!

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About Me

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God has blessed me with a long and fruitful ministry! I have over 40 years in pastoral ministry, retreat speaking, Evangelism, teaching and Christian Radio broadcasting.


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