Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Discipline of Courage

THERE have been constant conflicts in the history of ancient Israel. Whether against brother as Cain and Abel, nation against nation: the Jews versus Egypt, or Adam and Eve of Eden. There have been continual conflicts between God’s Kingdom and the evils of Satan’s empire.

Today, a tremendous struggle rages on the rightful functioning of God’s power for universal prosperity in Nigeria and Satan’s warring against it more than ever before.

The success at Jericho demonstrated that Joshua had taken position as the commander of Israel, with a unique sense of leadership.

There was no question that Joshua was following Jehovah’s command.

One of the ingredients of his sweeping victory was his courage to carry out even the most peculiar strategies. Courage enabled Joshua to see from God’s perspective and know how to receive what Jehovah had promised Moses. God had said to him, “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee,” Joshua 1:7.

The only way you can accurately determine the direction God is leading you is to encourageously see a situation in Jehovah’s perspective. Perceiving God’s direction through your own weakness will always leave you frustrated. It is God given courage in conflict that brings conquest.

Courage is firmness in the face of danger. The dictionary shows that the English word “courage” is derived from the French word cuer – meaning “heart.” It means having the heart as the seat of intelligence. To be courageous is to be led by your heart, not your reasoning – putting your thoughts and imagination under the control of intuition.

It truly takes courage to follow God rather than the path of least resistance. It means making a decision or taking a stand that is unpopular and may generate criticism. However, loyalty to God even when it costs you the adulation of the people is the most important.

Both Joshua and Caleb took a lonely stand when they returned from the land of promise – with a report of victory. They were rejected and ignored. Yet, they courageously stood on the promise God had made to them. They would not be distracted, rather they remained loyal to what they knew to be true. Their minds remained steadfast and established, they would not be swayed.

Years later, this same courage stirred through Joshua as he approached the city of Jericho. It took leadership above the limits of accepted strategies to entertain the concept of God’s plan that brought the city of Jericho down.

Joshua had to follow his heart, not his mind. The plan God made alive within him was to be followed even though it was not reasonable. Every conquest was not as dramatic as Jericho, but the assurance of victory was always there. When God said go and conquer, they knew the result would be victory. It is the same courage that will enable you to win over the weaknesses and challenges that face you.

Courage can always be understood as having a buoyant spirit – the kind of attitude that just will not be put down or made bitter because of the bumps of life or the attacks of the enemy. A buoyant spirit always comes back up. Hard times and difficulties will attempt to discourage you, drain you of courage, but a buoyant spirit will always take you to the top. All great men and women that inspire us have this buoyancy about them. They will not be distracted from the road God is leading them through.

Cast off the spirit of being forsaken that Satan amplified in your mind. Instead, encourage yourself with the words, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,” Hebrew 13:5. God cannot forsake you. Stir up the forces of God’s treasure within you and face the challenge with the power of God’s inspiration. God will honour your courage in ways He did for Joshua in Jericho, Elijah’s prayer and David at Ziklag.

To encourage yourself is to activate courage. A resilience from within gives you the ability to emerge from and evade discouragement. But courage alone isn’t the total answer. There must be the clear direction from your intuition.

Courage is expressed in many ways. When Elijah was faced with a  situation what was less spectacular than dealing with the prophets of Baal, he found himself lacking because he lacked temperance to regulate and direct his courage. Jesus for example, was the most courageous, yet his entire life was marked by temperance. He didn’t hack down for any demon, nor from the religious hypocrites of his day. But he courageously restrained himself in the court of his accusers. Many have cultivated the habit of “speaking their minds,” “telling it as it is,” and in doing so hurt or damage other people. They confuse their careless words for courage and thoughtlessness for honesty. Much of the time, it takes greater courage to give a soft answer or simply to say nothing at all. What we need are men and women who have developed a balanced blend of courage and temperance, who draw their strength from the indwelling of the holy spirit. The sagacity within a person should demonstrate a courage that is actively blended with temperance and that will mix compassion with truth. Armed with that type of stability, you will be able to approach the demands of life with the perspective of courage and strength, seasoned with temperance. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord,” Ps. 27:14.

A Nigerian leader in the mold of Joshua has been Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, a retired general and former Minister of Defence. Danjuma was a professional soldier who rose to the rank of lieutenant-general and chief of army staff, Nigerian Army (1975-79). A Jukun from Taraba State, Danjuma is now chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO) based in Lagos, Nigeria. Born in Takum, to Kuru Danjuma and Rufkatu Asabi on December 9, 1937.

Danjuma attended St. Bartholomew’s Primary School, Wusasa, Kaduna State and Provincial Secondary School, Katsina Ala, Benue State. With Higher School Certificate, Danjuma enrolled at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria in 1959. He abandoned his course mid way in 1960 to enlist in the Nigerian Army. He was commissioned second lieutenant in 1962. A year later, he joined the UN Peace keeping force in the Congo. He was promoted captain there three years later. In 1966, Danjuma led the counter coup as the commander of 4th Battalion in Mokola, Ibadan. In 1967, he was promoted lieutenant colonel at the start of the campaign toward Enugu, which he captured in the course of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-71).

In 1970, Danjuma was appointed head of an International Court-Martial in Trinidad and Tobago. Following his promotion to colonel he spent the next two years court-martialing Army Officers proven guilty of corruption and indiscipline. In 1975, he was promoted Brigadier and divisional commander in the Nigerian Army. He became chief of army staff under the then Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo. He retired from the Army in 1979 becoming a businessman.

In 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him minister of defence. In 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him to chair the Presidential Advisory Council.

n December 2008, Danjuma established the T.Y. Danjuma Foundation with the aim of providing succour to the underprivileged of the country. The foundation operates as a philanthropic organization and as a charity. In 2010, the foundation doled out $500 million as grants to non-governmental organizations working to relieve the poor in Danjuma’s home state of Taraba. In December 2009, Danjuma donated a new state of the art medical centre to the Nasarawa State University, Keffi. Danjuma carved a niche for himself in the annals of Nigerian history as a man of courage who stood against the excesses of President Obasanjo and his third term agenda. For his courage and integrity, Danjuma was the best President Nigeria never had.

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