The 20 Verses You Love Most: #13 Strong and Brave

The 20 Verses You Love Most | Liz Curtis Higgs

When I feel weak, uncertain, vulnerable, the last thing I want is someone telling me, “Be strong!” That’s like saying to spaghetti, “Stand up!”

Even fresh out of the box, those dry, slender strands can’t perch on end.


Go ahead, shout out all the affirming words you can think of. “Get up!” “You can do it!” “I believe in you!”

Not happening. Pasta down.

But let a Master Chef step into the picture, and everything changes. The spaghetti is easily held upright, secure in his grip.

Spaghetti in Hand

That’s the essence of this week’s favorite verse: not, you can be strong and brave if you try. Rather, you are strong and brave for one reason: God is with you.

“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

Tanya was one of many who chose this verse: “It is like he knows how I am feeling and letting me know he is right there with me, giving me strength and courage, calming my fears and giving me encouragement.” Yes, he is.

Another sister, Gay, admitted “I have a tendency to fear. The realization that God is with me, and will never leave me, brings great comfort.” Yes, it does.

Joshua 1:9 is a quotable quote from God, who speaks these words to Joshua, Moses’ right-hand man. Now that Moses has died, God tells Joshua to lead his people across the Jordan River into Israel.

The words God used to empower his servant, Joshua, are meant to strengthen our hearts today. We’re listening, Lord.

Bible Open to Joshua 1

“Have I not commanded you?” Joshua 1:9

No doubt who’s in charge, right? Joshua may be leading the people, but God is leading Joshua. “Haven’t I ordered you” (CJB), the Lord asks. “Did I not command you?” (LEB)

If our strength comes from his strength—and it does—then this reminder of his authority is the right place to begin. Yes, God is our comforter, but he is also our Commander in Chief. He has every right to say, “that is what I ask of thee” (KNOX).

God has made this request of Joshua twice before, in verses 6 and 7, which is why this phrase is sometimes translated, “remember” (ERV) or “I repeat” (NET).

So, what is this message God wants to make sure Joshua hears—and we hear—loud and clear?

Woman Lifting Weights

“Be strong and courageous.” Joshua 1:9

Two powerful words. “Strength! Courage!” (MSG) We could look at them separately, but the truth is, they’re meant to go together. God calls us to be “determined and confident!” (GNT), to be “strong and brave! (NET), to “have strength of heart!” (NLV)

Lots of exclamation points here. God means this. He also makes this possible.

God is the one doing the heavy lifting. He is the muscle, the tendons, the sinew. The power and strength are his alone.

He can command us to be, as the Hebrew says, “stout, strong, bold, alert” because he is all those things and more.

However physically strong this female body builder may be, eventually she’ll have to lower those weights to the floor. But God never lets go. God never gives up.

When we come to the end of ourselves, God is just getting started.

“Do not be afraid;…” Joshua 1:9

God’s people don’t know what they’ll find on the other side of the Jordan River. Naturally, they’re afraid. But supernaturally, they don’t need to be.

God is already in Israel, waiting to welcome them home.

What was true for his people thousands of years ago is true for us now.

God not only knows our future, he not only holds our future, he is our future. That’s why he tells us, “Don’t be alarmed” (CEB) and “don’t be timid” (MSG). That’s why he commands us not to “tremble” (NASB) or “be terrified” (NIRV).

When I first began speaking publicly, I was a nervous wreck. Cold hands, dry mouth, shaky knees, the whole bit. After about five hundred speeches, I realized I wasn’t scared any more. God truly was with me, and always has been with me. Every minute, every word.

Letting go of fear is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it does happen.

Discouraged Woman

“…do not be discouraged,…” Joshua 1:9

For some of us, fear isn’t our greatest challenge; it’s discouragement.

“I’ve already tried that.”
“Nothing seems to work.”
“What difference does it make?”

We know those words. We’ve said them, thought them, repeated them.

But God says, “Do not lose hope” (NIRV) or “lose faith” (NLV). He doesn’t want us to be “dismayed” (DRA) or “downhearted” (CJB).

This is why.

“…for…” Joshua 1:9

We’ve parked on this word before. It’s the turning point in the verse, the hinge everything swings on. “Because” (NCV) gives the word more heft. “When” (KNOX) gives us greater assurance.

Strength and courage are possible because…
Fear and discouragement are no longer a stumbling block when…. 

“…the Lord your God… Joshua 1:9

Not just any God, but your God. The One we call “Jehovah” (ASV), the One we know as “Adonai ” (CJB).

“…will be with you…” Joshua 1:9

It’s a God promise, meaning it’s a finished work. He “is with thee” (ASV), he “is at thy side” (KNOX), and he “will remain with you ” (VOICE). Look before, behind, and around you, and there is God.

No one can snatch you out of his hand (John 10:28), nor will he let your foot slip (Psalm 121:3). God is with you. Right here, right now, whether you are sitting or standing, working or resting, having breakfast, lunch or dinner, alone or with company, he is there.

Have God, Will Travel

“…wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

He’s not only where you are now, he will travel with you “every step you take” (MSG), “anywhere you go” (NLV), and “in all you do” (NET).

You probably know how much I love the book of Ruth, and her pledge to Naomi, “whither thou goest, I will go” (GNV). The same Hebrew words are used here in Joshua: “whithersoever thou goest.” (GNV) Literally, it means “all manner you go, come, walk.”

The bad news? You can’t go anywhere without God.

Those of us who’ve tried to run away from God know how pointless it is. His love is too strong, his patience unfathomable.

The good news? God won’t go anywhere without you.

You are his, and he is yours. Forever.

“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

Now it’s your turn

In what area of your life do you need God’s strength and courage right now? Is there something that strikes fear in your heart, or weighs heavily on your shoulders? How might knowing God is with you make a difference in how you go about your day?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Just add your response under Post a Comment below. Bless you for taking a moment to add your voice to the conversation.

Next Wednesday, we’ll hop over to the New Testament and unpack #12 of the verses you love. It’s actually three very short verses in one powerful sentence. Ever wondered, “What’s God’s will for my life?” Right. Next week.

Your sister, Liz

Your Sister in Christ, Liz Curtis Higgs

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48 Responses to The 20 Verses You Love Most: #13 Strong and Brave

  1. Cheryl May 29, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Sitting here with tears in my eyes. I so needed this today.

  2. Beverly May 29, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Perfect reminder for me today. I’m dealing with a difficult relationship today and this verse has encouraged me. Thank you!

  3. Kim May 29, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    You know, sometimes God shouts, doesn’t He? EVERY SINGLE verse He has brought before my eyes this morning states boldly that HE IS WITH ME! He’s close to me, in Him I move and have my being….WOW!! What a love note from God this morning! How I praise Him for His presence today! Life is pretty stressful right now. Lot’s of unexpected challenges and changes…yet I DO NOT face them alone!! God – Creator – Redeemer – Friend is near! WOW!! Just WOW!! Sometimes – well, all of the time – I am thankful that God shouts His presence into my life. Oh How He Loves you and me!!!

  4. Royce Ann Bauerlein May 29, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Thank you, Liz, for that wonderful devotion. This was the Scripture verse I had chosen, but didn’t realize how much I needed to hear it back to me today. Thank you for reminding me that God is with me, each and every moment of my day. Tissues, tissues, where are my tissues?

  5. Teresa Warren May 29, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Thank you Liz for this today. It is totally a God moment for me, I have two things this week that I am doing. One is I am talking at Chrysalis and I am using this verse to talk to the young ladies about their faith and trusting God. Secondly in my own life I have been unemployed for about 1 1/2 years and I have held to these verses in my life. God keeps putting these verse in front of me speaking to me Sunday my Pastor, a couple of weeks ago a visiting speaker, now today you. So today I am going on an interview that I am not sure about but this reminds me that God is with me, he may take me to new territories but if he does he is with me there also. He tells me to me strong and courageous but through him. Again thank you I need to be remind again.

    • Sue wilson May 29, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      So easy to be discouraged for me at this time in my life. After suffering a stroke , my concentration is all over the spectrum. I so much needed this verse at this time. Thank you so much , and I Will not be defeated. God is with me in all my trials and will bring me through them. God bless.

      • Cathy May 29, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

        Sue, I too faced great physical changes this last year and there were days I thought I could not take one more day of pain. But with His grace and strength I did. His command to be courageous and strong were given only because he supplies the courage and strength. You are going to overcome and shine!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 3, 2013 at 9:02 am #

      How did the interview go, Teresa? Been thinking about you since I read your comment last week. Whatever the outcome, it’s a comfort to know that God has a PLAN!

  6. Jeanne May 29, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    I needed this today, as well, as God has put me in a new area of ministry. It’s a bit scary and I’ve felt some timidity.

  7. Karen May 29, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    Liz… thank you, thank you! I’m not dealing with fear issues at the moment but I have been discouraged. My husband and I took steps we believed God was leading us in and now we are waiting… waiting…. waiting for our home to sell. I even resigned my job to facilitate it and be ready for it to happen (my husband works at home). We realize God will make it happen when he’s ready. It was a great reminder that he’s waiting for us on the other side of the Jordan but he’s also still with us on this side and we need to trust him for the details. Bless you!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 3, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      No question God was leading you, Karen. And yes, he is on both sides of the Jordan! Be blessed this day.

  8. Mary May 29, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Thank you for me it is discouragement. I just cant seem to get pass that. I long for God to give me rest in his arms and my strenght be renewed.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 3, 2013 at 9:01 am #

      Praying for you today, Mary. You can be sure his arms are around you. Breathe, trust, rest, my sister.

  9. cherrie:) May 29, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Thank you for reminding us that we go in God’s power. I needed hear it this. God bless you both.

  10. Kay May 29, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Once again God’s perfect timing in reading His Word, posted through you Liz. This morning I will be walking into the lion’s den (of people). Thank you for speaking Truth to me and making me steadfast in His presence as I go.

  11. Heidi May 29, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    This is so promising and full of hope. In my new season, we have finally sold our house and are moving on to be debt and mortgage free… in just two months. A new job is waiting for my dearest and we seem to be “starting over”. And we still don’t know where we will land. I am excited and know that He has great plans for our future. I am full of hope and dreams and can’t wait to see how it all unfurls. Thanks Liz, I am so encouraged and look forward to my Wednesday mornings studying with you.

  12. Marge May 29, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Another great truth driven into our heart and soul. It is amazing when we meditate on a verse long enough it becomes part of us. Thank you liz for giving of yourself to encourage-others.

  13. Iva @ This Side of Perfect May 29, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    I do not believe in coincidence. I believe I was led to this blog post in order to read these passages and reflect on what they mean to me in my life – right now! Thank you for sharing the Word of God.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 3, 2013 at 9:12 am #

      Bless you for joining us, Ida! Just this morning I tweeted about this: The word “coincidence” may be in the dictionary, but it’s not in the Bible. “For in him all things were created.” Colossians 1:16

  14. Sue B May 29, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Thank you so much for doing these devotions. I’ve not commented before but feel the need to thank you, and thank the Lord for you. Even though I talk to Him all day, I still take back the worry and the pain. I really needed to read about His Presence and Strength today.

  15. Patty May 29, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    Liz, Thank you for your devotions for Wednesday mornings. I really look forward to them. You always express your thoughts with a gentleness that soothes the soul.
    I have been brought to Chapter 1 of Joshua threetimes this week. God always knows what we need. He is all we need!

  16. diane May 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    I know , or I’m pretty sure i know what God wants me to do , in this situation, but i can’t do it, I’m stuck. I don’t feel i can move forward, if i don’t. Im going to have to trust that God will do it for me, I’m sorry i just can’t

    • Cathy May 29, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      Diane, I have no idea what you are feeling called to do. I pray that you do it in His time. In this moment, I pray for the Lord to give you peace, strength and courage. Pour it all out to our Lord who loves you so and let Him lead. Blessings to dear sister.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 3, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      Praying for you right now, Diane. We’ve all felt stuck at one time or another. Not fun. Know that God is with you in it, and he will get you out of it.

  17. Tracy May 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    God has been giving me this exact verse for about 5 months now, ever since the beginning of this year. Honestly, the fear in believing that I will make a good Godly wife resounds in my life. The failures of my past keep me from stepping out and feeling rejection makes me fearful. I have a fear of stepping out and truly believing for a God-given love from a man who is truly surrendered to God and holds God as his true source of life. I have to be strong and courageous and know that God is there with me wherever I go.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 3, 2013 at 9:16 am #

      Tracy, I complete GET about the failures of the past. So, so been there. I couldn’t imagine that the Lord would bring a good and godly man into my life…but he did! We’ve just celebrate 27 years of marriage. You can trust him. God’s got this!

  18. Tricia May 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Discouragement was yesterday’s attack when I prayed for Satan to stand behind me. Thanks for reminding me of the strength of God before me. I see a pattern to my slips into despair…. When I slip in disciplining myself in the DAILY reading of His Word, the enemy slips in to remind me of very cruel words from my daughter in law several years ago. Now I recognize the Liar when he starts. Today’s word was just what I needed! God alone is strong enough.

  19. Becca May 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Liz, I also needed to hear this today. While we finally sold our condo- yay!, the deal fell through on the house we were going to buy. We are living, very blessed, with family, but far out from where we want to be. It’s hard to continue the house search with a baby and miles away. We are discouraged. We’re still so blessed and its a drop in the bucket by comparison (tornado total destruction for instance) but we are hurting from it all the same. Thank you for your caring words and reminder that we never leave God’s able hands wherever we roam.

  20. Jennifer May 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Love! Needed that reminder

  21. Christina Anderson May 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    My mother was a very disturbed, very unhappy person who instilled fear in me as a child. I have lived for many years with fear of EVERYTHING! But I know God is in control of my life, and it occurred to me that to fear is to doubt God. I just finished reading a book Liz sent me by Ann Voskamp, called One Thousand Gifts. Ann has opened my eyes to new trust in God through the vehicle of praise. Of giving thanks for everything, even the hard things. Even the ugly things. Even the scary things. God uses people like Liz and Ann to speak to the rest of us. I read my Bible, but God also sends me other things to read that strengthen me greatly in my walk. Bless you, Liz.

  22. Joan May 29, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    I just started this job and today I felt defeated and frightened….I needed to remember that I am not alone ever I know who is there with me today and everyday.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 3, 2013 at 9:18 am #

      He’s with you every day, Joan, and every moment. Just prayed for you as you begin another week on your new job.

  23. Cathy May 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

    The cool thing about getting older is hindsight. Since I turned fifty and am nearing sixty, I have realized that when I have been unable to see nor feel His presence, He was still there, busily organizing all I needed to sustain me and even more, to prosper me. So now, in the midst of trials and yes, suffering, I go on knowing He has it all worked out already. Does this ever give me strength and courage! I believe that He will never leave nor forsake me, He said so. He was there in my past, He is here today and He will be there tomorrow and for eternity. I feel like a Warrior Princess able to do battle in His strength! WhooHoo!

  24. Donna Johnson May 29, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    I will smile, when I make spaghetti from now on!

  25. Cherrie Shaw May 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Thank you for this today I really needed to hear God is with me! My adult son has cirrhosis of the liver and is not able to work. So I am supporting us both on my disability check that is less than 1000 a month. My saving is down to $800. I don’t know how I will be paying our bills but to know God is with us feels me with calm that in God’s way it will all work out! Thank you!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 3, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      You definitely have a lot on your shoulders, Cherrie. You are so wise to put that burden on God’s able shoulders and trust him to provide. Please, Lord, hear our prayer!

  26. Linda Ortiz May 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    I just read this today….and so glad that I did! I moved out of my house a year ago, my family and I felt the call to go help our Pastor start a new church in Ohio. When we moved out, we went to live with my parents at their house. I was waiting for my company to have a position in the Ohio office so that I could transfer. Well, it will be a year in July and we are still waiting for that transfer. I have seen others go to Ohio with nothing holding them back. That has left me a bit discouraged. I am not fearful, but discouraged and disillusioned. That is why, I am so grateful that I read this. I know God’s plans for our lives are in His hands. But, the human part of me feels forgotten. I have been feeling alittle anxious because I don’t know what direction to go or where to lead. But, Joshua 1:9 has given me the courage to let go and let God do what he plans to do for my family and I. Thank you so much!!!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 3, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      Thrilled to hear the strength in your words, Linda. YES, God has plans for you. Different than your plans, perhaps, but the BEST ones for sure!

  27. Mary May 30, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Woke up in the battle field today. Thank you Liz for this beautiful reminder.

  28. colleen May 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    HUGE tears rolling down my cheeks. God is sooooo with me. I have been exceedingly discouraged and fearful. My heart is broken, but somehow today is the day He has chosen to speak to me. Thank-you, Liz for being a part of that. Could you please pray for me? And my daughter? Thank-you.

  29. andrea heitzman May 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Thank you Liz for sharing….to be strong. ..I have dealt with the devil and his followers for some time now. It is hard to understand why is this evil person is allowed to do the terrible things to good people; why has this lasted so long? I have prayed for years for God’s intervention. I will read my bible to keep me going and continue to pray and thsnk God for His protection

  30. Linda H May 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    This verse has been my comfort so many times. Today Liz your study revealed a part of it I had not noticed before, “Have I not commanded you”. Wow! I don’t get a choice at who is in charge. God is always there and in command. I can trust Him. His love never fails, never gives up, and never runs out on me! A true comfort in the life changes I have been discouraged about.

  31. Esnath ndlovu June 1, 2013 at 4:06 am #

    Thank you woman of God for this verse.i received a call that my unpaid acct will be handed over to lawyers if not paid by the 7th of june,my salary is not coming regulary.since I received the call fear is all over me am so discouraged ,impatient with other people ,i thank God for this assuarance that he is and will be thru all this.there is a verse which says were our wisdom ends is were God ‘s wisdom begins help me to find it i dnt know if its psalms,proverbs or ecclesiates

    • Liz Curtis Higgs June 1, 2013 at 8:55 am #

      Beloved, I went all through Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, looking for uses of the word “wisdom,” and didn’t find the verse you have in mind. But I hoped this might encourage you:
      This is what the Lord says:
      “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
      or the strong boast of their strength
      or the rich boast of their riches,
      but let the one who boasts boast about this:
      that they have the understanding to know me,
      that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
      justice and righteousness on earth,
      for in these I delight,”
      declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24

  32. Megan Walden June 1, 2013 at 5:09 am #

    I really like this weeks verse. I know the choosing of the top 20 verses are done but I just wanted to share one that I feel goes along with this weeks. I have this picture hanging up in my house that has this verse on it and I see it every day all day long and it always makes me smile and feel good about life. “James: 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” He is our lord, our savior our everything, and with him there is nothing we need be afraid of.

  33. Valerie Hohenberger June 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    I love this verse too! I have to remind myself all the time that God is in control, NOT ME!!!

  34. Carol Tonseth June 3, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Liz: I loved this verse because I just got back from a train trip to see my sisters in Oregon. I was able to put that verse to good use many times as a woman traveling alone overnite. I think its one thing to read a verse but to put it to the test is a different matter.To actually find out that God is there to protect you and give you the courage you need in difficult situations is a faith builder!! I’m so thankful for my safe trip and feeling God’s presence during that time. At one pt my sister wanted to put me on a plane on the return trip because she was worried about me but I said “What happen to trust the Lord in all things we just prayed?” It seemed to calm both of us and reassured me hat everything was going to be alright. AND it was! God gave me another woman to travel with right after that… Liz I’m your biggest fan and have been reading your books for years. Love Love your writing! Than k you so much. Carol

  35. Janine June 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    I love this verse. I’m sitting here in a coffee shop and while reading “wherever you go” at the end of the verse, I had a picture in mind of Jesus sitting with me, smiling and enjoying just hanging out with me, looking over my shoulder as I took notes from the reading, nodding with approval at His words’ truths. My heart is greatly and warmly comforted. Thank you Liz.