Tag Archives: courage

Be Courageous

When I was a teenager, the scouting program I was a part of gave us a code to live by. Today, we would call them values statements or core values. One of the eight values was courageous: he is brave in spite of danger, criticism or threats. I didn’t realize then how important that particular one was as a teenager, and even more so as an adult. It taught me to be strong in the face of things when they weren’t going my way or even against me. Being courageous means you don’t run away in those moments. You do what’s right no matter what going on around you.

In the last several chapters of John, Jesus was talking to the disciples on the night before His crucifixion. He was telling them what was about to happen to Him, and also what would happen to them going forward. He wanted them to have peace in the chaos, and to let them know that He was going to send the Holy Spirit as a helper who would live inside of them to combat the outside pressures against them. Then, just before He prayed and went to the Garden of Gethsemane, He said, “For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” (John 16:33 TPT)

He reminded them, and us, that we are going to experience times when the world is against us. We are going to have troubles and things not go our way, but we are to be courageous. He said these things because He wanted us to look past our current problems knowing that He has already won. We can be brave because whatever we’re facing is not the end and it won’t conquer us because He is in us. We have to keep reminding ourselves of this verse when things look bad or like there’s no tomorrow. We can be courageous in spite of what we’re facing you trusting His promises.

Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

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Restoring Courage

One of the words God uses over and over in the Bible is courage. He wants us to be courageous when doing what He asks. One of my favorite passages is in Joshua 1. Verse 7 says, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do” (NLT). Success starts with being strong and courageous, but what does it mean to have courage?

The simple definition is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s the ability to keep going when things aren’t going the way you thought they should. It’s the most difficult thing to have when you need it the most. If you’ve lived life at all, you’ve been discouraged. You’ve lost battles you thought you should have won. You’ve suffered defeat after defeat and wondered where the strength comes from to keep going. How do you find courage in those times?

In those moments, I simply prayed that God would just help me to take the first step, which was survival. We often think of courage as this great thing, but I believe it’s found in facing a new day, taking one more step or breathing one more time. It says, “I’m not going down. I’m not giving up!” Where do we get that courage from in those moments? As I’ve said, I found it in prayer and through God’s help.

Psalm 3:3 says, “But you, O Lord, are always my shield from danger; you give me victory and restore my courage” (GNT). God will restore your lost courage and give you the victory when you ask. Quit worrying about trying to win the war, and focus on getting courage from God to win today’s battle. Keep God’s Word in your heart, and be careful to obey it. Then, as Joshua 1:7 says, you will have success and victory.

Photo by Josh Adamski on Unsplash

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Undefeated 


Have you ever been on an undefeated team? I have, but it was my seven year old soccer team at the YMCA. We were the Green Machines and we had one kid that was awesome at soccer. The rest of us were good, but without Jaimie Ramirez on our team, I don’t think we would have gone undefeated. It was a good feeling to have the confidence going into each match with Jaimie on our team. There were some close matches, and we were down some games, but we always found a way to win.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go undefeated in life too? It would be great to have the confidence to know that whatever we face, we could be victorious. It is possible. Psalm 125:1 says, “Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever” (GNT). When we have the Lord on our side and learn to trust Him, we can go undefeated in life’s battles. 

That doesn’t mean we won’t face battles or that we won’t be down at times. It means that we have Jesus Christ on our team and He’s awesome at helping us win the victory. We can have confidence going into whatever battle we face knowing that He’s on our side. I Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (GNT).

Just like my team had to trust Jaimie to do his thing, you and I have to trust Jesus to do His. We still have to show up to the battle. We still have to do our part. Life is not going to be a cake walk just because you’ve put your trust in Jesus and you’re playing on His team. In this world you will have trouble He said. But He also told us to take heart because He has overcome the world. Yes, you and I can go undefeated in life if we trust in the Lord and fight our battles with Him.

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Fear and Faith

Gideon has always been one of my favorite people in the Bible. He was able to do so many great things, but he was a lot like you and me. He dealt with fear and doubt constantly. He never wanted to act on something unless he was sure it was from God. He didn’t think of himself as a person who could do great things, but because he was willing to be used, God was able to do mighty acts through him. I see a lot of parallels between who he was and who many of us are.

When the angel of God first visited him, he was hiding in a wine press threshing grain. He was afraid the Midianites would see him, so he did his work out of sight. Even though he was out of sight of his enemies, he wasn’t out of God’s sight. He knew right where to find him and met him there. God does the same for us. He knows we deal with fear and try to run and hide from the things that overwhelm us. He sees us where we are and will come meet us in that place.

The next thing that happen shows just who God is. The angel seeing him hiding calls out to him in Judges 6:12, “The Lord is with you, mighty man of fearless courage (AMP).” Ha! Here’s a guy hiding from his problems and God doesn’t call him out on it. Instead He calls out what is inside. In other versions, the angel calls him “mighty hero” (NLT), “mighty warrior” (NCV) and “mighty man of valor” (KJV). God calls out what is on the inside, not what can be seen on the outside.

God knows that you and I are weak in our own strength. We are timid and afraid when circumstances roar like a lion and try to devour us. We hide from our problems, drown our problems and keep quiet about them. I’ve tried all three to get rid of them, but none of them worked. It took God calling out who He created me to be to come out, face them and to fight them. He did the same with Gideon.

After the angel visited Gideon, the Midianites moved closer to him and threatened him. In verse 34, it says, “The Spirit of The Lord clothed Gideon with Himself. (AMP)” God took off the clothing of fear and wrapped him in Himself. Suddenly Gideon was no longer afraid because he now knew who he was in God. He had boldness to go out and fight. He blew a trumpet and gathered an army together. Even then, he had doubt. God came and assured him that He was with him. He won an impossible battle because he trusted God.

Don’t be defined by your fear today. Be defined by who God sees in you. Let Him wrap you up in Himself and give you the courage to be the hero and mighty warrior that you need to be in order to face whatever your enemy is. God isn’t asking you to face it or fight it in your own strength. He’s asking if you’re willing to step on the battlefield and to allow Him to fight for you. Don’t be held captive by fear and allow it to keep you in hiding. Trust who God says you are, stand up and face that enemy. God will do the rest.

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Cliff Diving in Faith

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One of my favorite things I used to do was to go float the Frio river. There’s something about lazily floating down the river in an inner tube with no worries. Eventually, as you’d float along, you’d come to a bend in the river that had created a cliff. At that cliff, there would be people who would climb up and jump off into the water. It looked like a blast. I paddled over to the shore, climbed up the side of the cliff and walked to the edge. That’s when it hit me: that’s a long way down.

Immediately fear crept in. I know knew why so many in front of me walked up to the edge and turned around. As I stood there contemplating whether or not to jump, my mind begin to think of every negative outcome. What if I hit a rock and was paralyzed the rest of my life? What if I messed up and belly flopped in front of everyone? What if I turned around and got back in my inner tube and kept floating? What if everyone behind me laughs? I could feel my heart beating in my throat as I stood there looking over.

Since that time, I’ve been to Acapulco and watched the famous cliff divers there. They were amazing. They had no fear. They climbed even higher than I had at the Frio. Their cliff was more treacherous. They stood up as crowds watch and video and took the leap. Some were doing inverted flips and then spreading their arms like wings to gracefully fly towards the water. I wish I could say that’s what my jump looked like. Mine looked more like a pencil being dropped into a glass of water vertically.

I’ve found that in my life right now I’ve been called out of a life of floating along. I’ve been called to take that leap off faith. I’m standing on the cliff right now looking down. Those thoughts of doubt creep in and make me fearful of taking that leap. There is uncertainty of what the future will look like after I leave the ledge. I have a choice. I can turn around and get back in my inner tube and float along or I can jump. My heart beats with anticipation. There’s excitement and fear at the same time.

Where are you today? Are you floating along safely in your inner tube? Are you looking at others who are jumping off their cliff and wishing you had the guts to do that? Maybe your climbing up the rocky cliff now and wondering how much longer you have to climb. You could be standing in line watching other turn away in fear and starting to doubt getting out of the inner tube. Are you standing on the edge of that cliff, looking over and thinking, “What if I fail?” Wherever you are, I pray today that you have the courage to keep going until you jump off that ledge.

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The Problem with Fear

I rarely watch the news, but this week, the hotel I was staying at had it on during breakfast. As I watched each day, I remembered why I don’t watch the news. It seemed like all they were doing was making people afraid. Every story created new fear. Fear over election fallout. Fear over a fiscal cliff. Fear over a divided government and country. In the age of 24 hour news channels, it’s easy to get addicted to the news. It’s also easy to let it control your emotions.

Fear is the author of inactivity. It paralyzes. It causes your imagination to run wild and can create hysteria. I think maybe that’s why throughout the Bible, God’s message to us is “fear not”. God spoke to him in Genesis 15:1 and said, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you.” Fear had caused Abraham to start doubting. That doubt lead to questioning God. When we question God’s promise, we fail to act on them and rob ourselves of the blessings He has for us.

For many of us, we know what God has called us to, but the vision is so large that we are afraid of it. That fear will keep you from acting on what God has called you to do. He has a plan for each one of us. To some He reveals far in advance where they are going. To others He gives them one step at a time. For both, the course of action is the same: take that first step of faith. Do not let fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of insecurity or fear of unworthiness keep you from your calling.

What God has called you to is for you alone. Everything in your life is preparation for your future. Your past victories, failures, storms, hurts, loss and gains are all there as preparation to equip you to take that next step. If you need the courage to take that next step of faith, turn around and look back. See how far you have come by faith. You are further along than you ever thought. You didn’t arrive to where you are without His help. If He has brought you this far, trust Him to carry you the rest of the way.

God puts you in position to help others too. Where you are now is not just for you. He aligns us with others along the way to be a helper, a challenger or an encourager. You cannot let fear keep you from doing what God asks of you. It doesn’t just affect you. Be the person God has called you to be when He’s called you to be it. In John 14:1, Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.” The choice is yours to either let your heart fear or to overcome it. You can listen to fear or you can listen to the voice of God and take that step. Don’t listen to fear. Take it.

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Removing Your Training Wheels

I remember when I was five years old. My grandmother bought me a bike. I absolutely loved it. I rode it up and down the driveway, across the street and to the neighbor’s house. I can still hear the training wheels scuff the ground and make popping sounds as they crushed sand and went over rocks. There came a day though when my dad had to remove the training wheels. They started to become something that slowed me down rather than to speed up.

Dad held onto the back of my banana seat and ran with the bike as I pedaled. I felt just as safe with him there as I did with the training wheels. I realized that I was going faster than I ever had with training wheels on. You could see my smile clear across Texas as I pedaled. Then, I looked back to see if my dad was enjoying it as much as I did. When I saw him way behind me, not holding on anymore, I got scared, panicked and wrecked. We tried again and again until I realized I could do it.

I think God does that with us. When we are new in our faith, we have training wheels. We take it slowly, but we have movement and freedom like never before once we believe. But there comes a time when we have to exercise our faith. The training wheels have to come off and we have to trust God fully. It can be scary when you are being grown. We might even fall a couple of times. The disciple Peter did.

Jesus removed the training wheels from the disciples after thy had been with him for some time. He put them in a boat and told them to sail across the Sea. He would meet them on the other side. He let go of the boat and let them sail on their own. It should have been no big deal since many were fisherman. When a storm came, they began to panic because they were all alone.

Jesus came walking to them on the water and said, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.” Just like a parent after their kid’s initial wreck on the bike, Jesus came to them to calm them down and to help them. After the encouragement, Peter decides he’s ready to try again. He steps out of the boat and begins to exercise his faith. I’m sure you could see his smile all across Galilee as he realized he was doing it. About that time, he panicked and started to sink. Jesus helped him up and they continued to walk on water.

Our faith never really grows until we exercise it. God allows opportunities in life to trust Him and to build our faith. Just because it feels like He has let go and is allowing you to pedal, doesn’t mean He isn’t watching you or is right there to help you if you crash. We all crash. We all fall. It’s what we do after that that matters. Are you willing to get back on the bike? Are you willing to step out of the boat even in a storm to trust God and to exercise your faith?

He’s watching you, cheering you on and calling out to you, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.” He hasn’t left you or forsaken you and He never will. Like a good parent, He helps you grow and do more than you ever thought you could. There are times when He is running behind you, holding onto the banana seat of your life helping you along. Then there are times when He lets go and cheers you on. Wherever you are in life, know that He is with you and growing you because He knows what is best for you.

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