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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of April 22, 2019

Courage is fear prayed for.

Everyone feels afraid many times during life. However, when the Bible instructs us to "fear not," it doesn't mean not to feel afraid; rather, it means to decide to press on even in the face of fear.

Several times, the Israelites were instructed to "be strong and courageous." For example, in Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses commanded Israel: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Even in the face of fear, we too must "be strong and courageous."

Indeed, we are encouraged in 1 Corinthians 16:13 to be men of courage; be strong. So, next time you feel afraid, overcome your feelings through prayer so that you can "be strong and courageous."

God loves you not because of what you do, but because of who He is.

God is love (1 John 4:8). God doesn't have to pretend to love you; He can't not love you, because He is love.

In fact, the very actions of God exemplify what love is. The apostle John explains that this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16). Only a few verses later, he further defines love: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9).

Notice that God's love for you is independent of how you behave, who you are, or how you respond to that love.

Romans 5:6-8 reminds us that God loves us regardless of where we are: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus represents God's love for us in what we now call the Parable of the Prodigal Son (see Luke 15:11-24). In that allegory, the father openly and lovingly receives his son even though the son had run away, squandered all of his money, and insulted the father. In the same way, God loves us unconditionally.

There is nothing you can do to get God to love you -- He already does. There is nothing you can do to deserve God's love, because, by sinning, you have turned your back on God and are fundamentally no different than the prodigal son. That parable is a clear reminder that God loves you not because of what you do, but because of who He is.

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