reader comments: courage

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Category : God, bible, faith, fear, reader comments

     

Sometimes readers say it better than I do:

I think that for starters, anytime a Christian acknowledges that they’re deficient in an area of their walk with Christ; that acknowledgment is sort of like the precursor to that deficiency becoming “fixed” by the Lord. A spin on how the Law makes us aware of sin, I suppose.I used to never speak out openly about God because of fear of ridicule. Nowadays, that’s not a problem, and I would say it’s because over time (as your relationship grows), Jesus does transform the committed believer.

My point? Yesterday was a day that you walked behind Christ, today you might be walking a little closer to Him; and tomorrow is the day that you walk side by side, step for step with Him.

Maturation by nature takes time, some folks perhaps do go through a radical and quick process of transformation, while others don’t. Scripture an my own personal experiences tell me that it all starts with the condition of the heart, sometimes we have deeper issues that the Lord must work on before we get to that spot where we become the “Super Christian” we aspire to be.

That was a comment left by Christopher from Got-Fruit.net on the prayer thursday: courage post.  I wanted to highlight it because it touches upon one of the deepest truths I know: the scariest prayer we can make is the one where we ask God to change us.  There’s nothing more terrifying, because those are exactly the type of prayers God answers on a regular basis!

 

take courage!

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Category : Acts, Jesus, Paul, live for the eternal, mission

      

Take courage!  As you have testified about me in Jerusalem,
so you must also testify in Rome.
(Acts 23: 11)

Let me get this straight; Paul has been arrested, beaten, put in chains, nearly flogged, held in prison (twice), and was just nearly torn apart by a mob (for the second time in as many days).  And Jesus’ message to him is, “Take courage!”  Not because he’s going to be set free.  Not because he’s going to be given an easier job.  But because he’s being sent to Rome to do the whole thing over again!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t find that to be very encouraging.

But that’s because I’m looking at this from an earth-bound perspective.  If my goal is to live to old age, have nice things, and take an easy path, then what Jesus is telling Paul sounds horrible.  It sounds as if Paul did something wrong and is being punished.

But if I look at it from an eternal perspective, everything changes.  Suddenly Paul is being rewarded for his faith by being given a harder task.  Now he’s to take God’s message to the center of the world.  Only because Paul was faithful in the little things (Jerusalem) is he able to go and do the big things (Rome).

It’s funny how a little perspective changes things.

fear & purpose

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Category : Jesus, faith, fear, taking action

      

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Apparently he didn’t live with a 24 hour news cycle.

Because then he’d know that the economy is crashing.  All our politicians are adulterers.  Or, maybe we’re all adulterersKid’s toys curse.  Our lifestyles are bad for the environment.  And we’re all going to die from a giant “death star” 1,000 light years away.  Or as one scientist put it, “I used to appreciate this spiral just for its beautiful form, but now I can’t help a twinge of feeling that it is uncannily like looking down a rifle barrel.”

To be honest, it’s overwhelming.  How do you get enough courage to get out of bed, let alone make a difference?  I think Homer Simpson sums it up well: “Quiet honey, you don’t know how big this government is. It goes all the way to the President.”

There is a sense that we live in a world totally out of control.  That we’re just pinballs in a galactic game of chance.  That there’s nothing to hold on to.  Nothing to stabilize us.  And everything is a threat.

But is that true?

The answer, I think, is “it depends.”

It depends on how you choose to live your life.  One of the most striking aspects of Jesus is that he lived with a purpose.  He knew what he was supposed to accomplish, and because of that, he didn’t let fear stop him.  How many of us would keep doing our jobs if we knew it would lead to death?  But Jesus did.  He knew that his death was the only way to save us.  He knew that he was living for something more than just the things we can get in this world.

If we don’t have a purpose, we really are out of control.  Because without something to ground us, we get tossed around.  But once we have a purpose everything changes. 

What’s a gas shortage compared to spending eternity with God?  What’s an election compared to helping someone understand who God is?  What’s a killer sun going to take from us, when we stock our treasures in heaven?

We get one shot at this life.  And in that time we have a choice to make.  Do we make a difference or just look for a safe spot to watch life?  This, in no way, is easy.  It’s hard to step out into areas that are uncomfortable.  It’s hard to do the things we’re afraid of.  It doesn’t feel natural.  But compared to eternity, being laughed at doesn’t seem so bad.