Joshua is a book in the Bible where it was a time of transition. Moses had just died and Joshua was about to lead the people of Israel into the promised land. There were many fortified cities, strong armies, and a rugged terrain. To the tribal people of Israel, who had spent the previous 40 years wondering around in a desert region, the call to possess the land must have seemed overwhelming. Yet, it was to these people and this time that God sent this word:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
For many of us, the season of fall is also a transition time. The summer time schedule ends and the fall/school season begins. Parents of children can look at the school year with concern over how it will go for their kids. Will they make good friends? Will the other children be kind to them? Will my children be kind to the other kids? Will my children learn their school work well? And on it goes. Our family is dealing with those same things now too. All four of our children are in new schools this year and Rachel and I are experiencing transitions as well. We can easily be caught up in worry and doubt. God, however, is the same today as he was in the days of Joshua. Has God not commanded us to go into the world and shine the light of Christ there? Is that not a privilege? Of course! Then we should have the confidence to be strong and courageous; not terrified or discouraged. The last sentence in this verse gives the reason for our confidence. God has promised to be with us wherever we go. No matter where we go, the one who made us, called us, sustains us, and loves us goes with us. Let that promise encourage your hearts today.
This fall St. Paul’s will be transitioning to our fall schedule as well. We will be moving back to two services on September 11th. Sunday school will start up again and offer multiple classes for adults. We will be kicking off small group Bible studies on the Gospel of Matthew. One other Wednesday night bible study options will be a class we call Bible 101. This class gives a chronological walk through the Bible for people who want a general overview of the whole Bible in one year. It has been a lot of fun for me to teach that class in past years and am looking forward to it again this fall.
Just like in school, it can be uncomfortable to try something new in a church. Will I get to know people? Will I understand the lessons? Will people be kind to me? I would encourage you to try something new this year. Join a small group Bible study. The Lord has gifted all of his people with spiritual gifts that bless the rest of the congregation. Use those gifts! He means for them to be used. And the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
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