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Strong And Courageous


Posted by Martha Wilson, January 3, 2024

“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


Tonight, I am preaching myself a New Year’s sermon. I invite you to listen in through this blog writing. I pray that the words I am speaking to myself will encourage you and challenge you as we have just stepped into new territory.


The words of our focal scripture were given to Joshua as he had been assigned to take new territory. It wasn’t just any territory, but that which God had promised. It would take great strength and courage to obey the command that God had given him to lead these people to conquer the promised land. There was no room for lazy, fearful, doubting leadership. Joshua had to be full of the strength and courage that God Himself had provided.


These are two powerful words to take hold of for this new year. Strong and Courageous! As I speak them, I feel my height stretching beyond my 5’5” stature. An urgency arises now to stand as tall as the Christmas soldiers standing erect beside my neighbor’s front door throughout the season. I notice yearly that they claim their positions in early December and remain until early January.


Those Nutcrackers stand day and night, rain or shine, hot or cold. They keep their positions until the Christmas season passes. I assume they are returned to the attic or garage until their service is needed the following year. It is timely that two additional soldiers were added beside the garage door this year. It was as if they were declaring that extra protection was needed. All soldiers are needed to take a stand this year!


As I returned home today, I noticed that on January 1, 2024, the soldiers were still on guard. I can almost hear them blow the trumpets held at their side, declaring two more important words, “Watch and Pray.” Do not slumber and do not sleep, but watch and pray.


Watch also at every season, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21:36


I earnestly desire to live this way in 2024. I want to take my post wherever God places me and stand strong and courageous. I want to stand watching and praying. No matter what comes, I have determined by the grace of God that I will stand and be courageous. I will stand in prayer for my family, my church, my community, and my nation.


I hear a new calling to stand as a soldier of Christ.

James 5:16-17 tells us that “the effective prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much.” Our prayers matter. Paul readies us for battle with his words in 2 Corinthians 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” We, like Joshua, have a spiritual territory to claim for ourselves and our people.


I researched how these nutcracker soldiers became a part of Christmas decorations. “In 1892, Tchaikovsky's famous ballet, The Nutcracker, debuted. Because the ballet is set on Christmas Eve (and the hero is a nutcracker come to life), the nutcrackers quickly became associated with holiday décor.”(Better Homes & Gardens, October 31, 2022) Don’t miss that one crucial phrase.


“The hero is a nutcracker come to life.”


It is time for us to come to life and move into action, not just stand as decorations beside the door. Let’s move into action.

Stand strong and courageous…

Praying for your household—Intercede for one another. Watch out for your neighbor. Get involved. Walk and pray. Serve others. Dig into His battle plan, the Bible. Ask God for your daily assignment and take your position. Give generously. Sing His Praises. Take every opportunity to speak of your faith. Be thankful. Love God and love others.


As a blog reader, you are one of my people. I will stand courageous and watch and pray on your behalf in 2024. I invite you to take your post with me. Together, we will Stand Strong and Courageous and Watch and Pray. May God’s favor be upon you in 2024!

Martha Wilson is a writer, speaker, blogger and co-host of “A Burst of Hope” weekly podcast. She is the founder and director of Touching Hearts Ministries for women. She has led women to pursue an intimate relationship with Jesus for most of her adult life. She is bold, tender, and transparent as she teaches women to embrace powerful Biblical truths. Martha and her husband, Ed, live in Fayetteville, Georgia, and enjoy their blended family of five children, eight grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. You can connect with Martha at: Facebook and Instagram @TouchingHeartsMinistries or listen to the A Burst of Hope Podcast.

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