“Be of Good Courage and He shall Strengthen Thine Heart”

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On a recent journey for a hospital procedure I received a gift from an elderly Uncle of mine – a little “box of promises,” which he had left for someone else to give to me. Just before embarking on the next leg of my journey, I picked a promise… “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” (Psalm 27v14)

Now, my Uncle had no idea that I was going for a procedure on that particular day or that I was driving close to his house around that time, or that I had received the “promise box” – although I called with him later and told him! How lovely were those words – and how comforting to know that the Lord was with me “and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8v28)

How He was with me on that day – and how I felt His love and compassion surround me and uplift me… and how He answers prayer! I quote from an inserted leaflet in the little promise box: “Dating back over a century to the 1860’s and each containing 140 extracts from the Authorised King James Version of the Bible, Promise Boxes were widely used by our Victorian ancestors. Seeking comfort and reassurance from God in times of trouble the ladies would draw a scroll, replacing it carefully after use. Given as keepsakes by the men going to the front, to their wives and sweethearts during the First World War, they gradually faded into oblivion and the actual date of origin is unknown. The few which have survived the passage of time have been handed down from generation to generation and become treasured family heirlooms. Used with respect and reverence these charming, unusual gifts are appropriate for any occasion, happy or sad, for their message and purpose are timeless.”

Yes, the message of God’s Word is indeed timeless. Sometimes, indeed, as we go through life we face situations which are tantamount to “going to the front” in a war situation. That battle can be a physical or a spiritual one – or sometimes both. None of us; no, not even those who faithfully serve the Lord, sail peacefully through the seas of life without some storms and testing times. Of course the ultimate testing time is death itself, for “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1Cor. 15v26)

“Have you anyone with you?” the nurse asked me, looking somewhat surprised when I said “no.” But in a sense I did have someone with me – and that ‘Someone’ is always with me and will be with me, for as long as I serve Him here below… “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28v20)

Praise God for every one of His precious promises, of which there are thousands in the Bible. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for inasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Cor. 15v55-58)

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