“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

Little John and Joshua

Several years ago, I volunteered with an organization called the Good News Club—an after-school program for public school children in grades 1 through 6. Songs were shared and a new Scripture memory verse was taught each week. The children learned how to pray and were taught a Bible story which was always connected to an invitation to ask Jesus to come into their heart.

One day, a little boy in fourth grade named John came up to me and shyly said he wanted to have Jesus in his heart. We talked about what that meant, and we prayed for that to happen. Joshua 1:9 was the verse that I shared with John. With the many temptations, disappointments, trials, and spiritual battles that he would face in his life I wanted him to know the truth of this verse and to have the reassurance it offers.

These words still give us hope today as we confront the chaos and challenges that surround us. Our time is not that different from the circumstances Joshua was facing when the Lord spoke these words to him. Joshua was facing a battle; he was called to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, something Moses had failed to do. Do you think that was daunting? But Joshua had God’s words, a promise that if he trusted and obeyed the Lord would hold him strong.

We too continually face battles; we fight loneliness and despair, we struggle with guilt and anger, we combat doubt and procrastination. As we do, let’s think of Joshua and remember to:

Be strong… be firm, resolute, not swayed, and know that “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
And courageous… not deterred by danger or pain, for “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1).
Do not be afraid… worried that something bad will happen, unwilling or reluctant to take action for fear of the consequences; “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31).
Do not be discouraged… having lost confidence or enthusiasm; “In this world you will have troubles, but take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
For the Lord your God… the great I Am is personally with you and “will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).
Will be with you wherever you go. With faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwells inside us and truly is with us wherever we go (1 Corinthians 3:16).

So, like little John, I pray that as we meditate and memorize this verse and tuck it into our hearts, we will remember these words as God’s promise. Then, as we trust like Joshua did, the Lord will do wonderful things through us as we seek His will and walk in His ways.

by Elder Debbie Bailey