It Takes Courage to Go Down the Path of Challenge

The Question is, Can You Find Your Hidden Courage?

Life is full of challenges. Nobody ever said that life would be easy. If they did…they were lying.

Life’s challenges are the things that build character. They are the things that help us to become who we were meant to be.

Anything worth doing is a challenge.

As Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to be crucified, He knew what was waiting for Him there. Even so, He kept pushing forward. You want to talk about courage when facing a challenge.

On the way He encountered several people more focused on their worldly situations, rather than focusing on Him and His eternal message.

Luke 9:51-62

We need to have our focus in the right place.

If we’re honest, just like Jesus we’re all on a path to our death. Accepting this is a challenge and it takes courage.

“If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll be right.” (Steve Jobs

One of the best ways to summon our courage is to put others ahead of ourselves.

Think about how courageous a mother is when her children are in danger. Or how a husband will put himself at risk to save the love of his life. This kind of love gives us courage we didn’t even know we had.

Jesus showed this kind of courage when He went to the cross to be killed in our place.

Courage is out there. It’s up to us to incorporate it into our daily lives.

Whatever the challenges are that you’re facing, large or small, you have what it takes to confront them. You have the courage you need…now find it and use it.

Take on life’s challenges with courage and confidence.

Compassion Takes More Than Just Words…It Takes Action

It’s Up to You to Determine What Those Actions Will Be

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. Motherhood involves both compassion and action.

One mother shared her recipe for iced coffee.

  1. Have kids
  2. Make coffee
  3. Forget you made the coffee
  4. Warm the coffee in the microwave
  5. Forget you warmed the coffee
  6. Drink it cold

This humorous story is a good example of how busy life can get. We need to remember to enjoy the coffee…iced or hot.

A lady slipped on the ice as she walked across a parking lot. A driver stopped and asked if she was hurt. The lady responded that she was alright. The driver then asked, “Can I have your parking space?

Compassion is something that requires more than just saying, it takes doing.

Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” It is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.

Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help.

In Acts 9:36-43 we find out about Tabitha, she was compassionate. Many widows of the time struggled. Tabitha helped them by making clothes for them. She showed her compassion by doing.

In the same way when Tabitha died the widows sent for Peter. Peter went to Tabitha and told her to get up…and she did. Peter was also a doer.

Dr. Martha Myers is a good example of compassion with action.

Called as a little girl to missions, she served in Yemen for 25 years as a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology. As such, she delivered hundreds of babies, but she was even better known for her love for the Yemeni people, her late-night village visits, her unending pursuit to love and care for the people. This endeared her to many, but also made her a target of Al-Qaeda extremists.

One woman went home and told her husband that she had never been treated with such love and compassion. This man was so angered that he burst into the Jibla hospital and gunned down Martha and two colleagues in hopes of keeping Christianity out of his country. Instead, her grave stands today as a testimony to the love of Christ for the Yemeni people.

Former IMB President Jerry Rankin said, “Martha’s colleagues said the gunmen did not take her life.

She lost her life to Jesus Christ years ago when she trusted Him. Martha was not living for herself, but to serve others.”

Too much of the time we’re scared so we don’t do. We tell ourselves; I don’t have the skills for that. Someone else will do it. We’re too busy, we don’t have time. And the excuses go on.

This doesn’t mean that we all have to be a missionary doctor in Yemen. It means we need to minister with our God given talent and gifts to those around us wherever we are.

Compassion is often dismissed as a touchy-feely or irrational emotion. Not so…

It takes courage to care.

The world will be better if we lose our lives to Christ and show compassion through action.

Faith is Not for the Weak of Heart

You Have to be Intentional and Use It

Once again, this past Sunday technology wasn’t playing nice. The internet at the church did not want to cooperate. Life is full of things not going as we plan.

This morning my truck decided to be unagreeable and was not accelerating properly. My mechanic is only a few miles away, so I turned around and went to see him. When I got there, I found that he was closed. With a little checking I found that his family was headed to a wedding in Wyoming and won’t be back until Monday.

I have things to do, places to go, people to see.

This changed everything. At this point I had some decisions to make and I made them. First was to give this situation to God and believe that He would take care of this. Then, I went back home, made the necessary changes to my schedule, got some other transportation and continued moving forward. Then, as I was driving to town, I looked at the fuel gauge and it was on E. It was another faith moment…God this is in Your hands. I made it to the gas station before running out.

No this isn’t what I had planned for today, but most days don’t turn out like we plan. Life is full of unseen situations. Like the woman in Matthew 15:21-28, she was dealing with a daughter who was suffering. She was faced with choices just like us. She could live with it or she could be brave and take it to Jesus. This was not an easy thing for her because she was a Canaanite not a Jew.  

Her courage and faith made the difference.

Her daughter was made well. We can choose to put our trust in tools, equipment, technology, other people, etc. These things will let us down. We need to trust in God and believe that He will do what He says.

Have a brave heart and put your faith in God!

A Cheerful Heart is Good Medicine

It’s Up to Us to Decide to be Cheerful or Not

We have limited control over what happens around us. We have complete control of how we respond. We can choose, it’s up to us to decide if we’re going to take control or not.

We all go through things in life that, at the time, seem unbearable. Whatever it is, someone else ‘has gone’, ‘is going’ or ‘will go’ through it. At the time we are, it sure feels like no one has ever suffered this much.

Peace of mind is what we’re looking for.

In John 20:19-31, the disciples were lost, scared and hiding behind locked doors. Their best friend and leader had been killed a few days before. They were anything but cheerful. Then Jesus showed up and said, “Peace be with you.” He showed them His hands and His side and again said, “Peace be with you”.

He had the power to heal His scars, but He left them to show others the proof of His commitment to us. We all have scars of varying forms and degrees. The Christian band, I Am They, shares this in the song, Scars.

Now I’m standing in confidence

With the strength of Your faithfulness

And I’m not who I was before

No, I don’t have to fear anymore

So I’m thankful for the scars

‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart

And I know they’ll always tell of who You are

So forever I am thankful for the scars

Scars are a part of our story and a reminder of who we are.

Next, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” In the span of a few minutes the disciple’s attitudes had changed from sad to happy. With Holy Spirt we can change our attitudes as well. The power of Holy Spirt in our lives prevents us from ever having to be alone. This peace makes being cheerful much easier.

Having God’s peace gives me the courage to move forward in times of doubt and fear.

Nabeel Qureshi was born in San Diego to Pakistani Muslim parents who had immigrated to the US. While attending college he engaged in religious discussions with Christian, David Wood. They became friends and through this relationship Qureshi converted to Christianity. Converting to Christianity from being a Muslim requires real commitment. A conversion of this kind can be a death sentence.

In his book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel provides an intimate window into the struggle of being raised in a loving Muslim home and the inner turmoil of becoming a Christian. The clash between Islam and Christianity and the peace he finds in Jesus.

Peace is the defining mark of those who follow Jesus.

We get to decide if we want the cheerfulness and peace that come with being Christians. When struggling through all the difficulties that life dishes out, it’s hard to find a better medicine than a cheerful heart.