Courage

Courageous Faith

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Courage, Extraordinary Everyday People, Faith | 24 comments

 

#41 courageous faith

 

Courageous faith stands taller than, wider than, and deeper than any faith I’ve experienced. Although I don’t fully understand it, I recognize it when I see it. Courageous faith seems to emerge out of the darkest places. It rises up above wild angry seas. it surfaces from tumultuous rapids and within the flames of fire.

People who demonstrate courageous faith rarely realize they have it. It seems to come with a soft garment of humility. It grows in adversity and it cannot be tamed.

No one wants the circumstances that accompany courageous faith. No one relishes storms, rapids or consuming fires. For courageous faith lives within adverse circumstance. It doesn’t tell the circumstance what to do or try to predict its outcome. Like outcome, it’s beauty and power cannot be captured.

When circumstances squeeze in around the strong shoulders of such faith, arms reach down to lift observers up top. I’ve seen the broad shoulders grow big enough to carry whole communities, families and the faithless.

Storms and fires want to overpower courageous faith – but they can’t. Our powerlessness and dependence are its energy boosters, growth-generating enhancers. The higher the waves, the greater its resistance. The deeper the waters, the more buoyant it is. The hotter the furnace, the more brilliant it becomes.

Courageous faith is not of this world. We can’t learn it, earn it or reproduce it. We can’t even properly describe it, but when we see it, we know it.

Whether from the top of someone’s shoulders or within a storm ourselves, if we look long enough, we will see the face of God. He is the lifeblood of courageous faith – he is the anchor, the author. He is the breath, the depth and the width.

Strength, valor, grit, and perseverance can be found in the middle of any circumstance.

Today is the day to fill our own cup of trust. We do it by consuming the Word of God and spending time with him. Our cup is filled one spoonful at a time by dependence and brokenness.

Believe. Trust. Grab hold – so when the waters rise, when the seas try to overtake us or fires rage – we will be ready for the miracle of courageous faith. He promises to be there. With us. Our overcomer. Our strong defender. Our God. Our courage and our strength.

 

 

 

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For Our Good

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Courage, Freedom, Trust | 12 comments

#26 cross 3

 

The belief that things will eventually work out for good can certainly provide a level of peace to our life. It allows the difficult moments to roll off our back in the hope things will eventually get better – or be good. But when circumstances begin to pile up and our comfort is challenged, belief alone often comes up short.

Throughout his lifetime Jesus showed us how to believe and live in the truth of God’s goodness. It was especially evident on the cross. His life was shaped by the full embrace of the greater good found in his Father’s eternal story.

It’s the same for us. Where can disappointment live when our own prerequisite expectations are nailed to a cross? When we relinquish our need to control.

Meditate today-  Good  Friday –  on what Jesus has done for you. Ask him to help you embrace your own cross today. And then claim the package of good things he’s personalized for you in his eternal plan.

Have a glorious Easter.

 

 

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Live Like Sion

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Courage, His Love | 12 comments

mavericks 3

 

The ocean has claimed its share of ambitious surfers. Some victims learned tough and lasting lessons simply by underestimating its strength. Others spend a lifetime respecting and conquering waves – then one day, by no fault of their own, they paddle out for the last time – forever remembered as one who loved the sea.

Author, Christopher Paolini describes the ocean this way, “The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.”

I agree. It’s a consistent force that cannot be tamed – just like the one who created it.

The surfing community is a tight-knit group with connections that span the globe. Anytime a fellow surfer dies the community mourns. Often memorial plaques mark the spot where a life was ended.

One surfer is remembered on the island of Kauai with multiple handmade signs located up and down the small island’s coastline. The sign simply says, LIVE LIKE SION. It obviously does more than memorialize the place where the surfer died – it’s a statement, the summary of a life.

Local Kauai ‘an, Sion Milosky was 35 when he died in CA at the Mavericks big wave content. He was a husband and dad of two small children. Sion’s legacy lives on, through his signage.

I wonder if Sion would think his life was worth following. Would he suggest we live like him in light of his untimely and tragic death?

The handmade signs made by his friends suggest we follow Sion’s example of bravery, fortitude and give-it-your-all lifestyle. I’m challenged to ask myself who I want to live like.

I can’t say I have the kind of courage it takes to crest a fifty foot wall of water on a thin piece of foam to scale down its face at 30-40MPH – all the while hoping it doesn’t come crashing down on you. It’s no wonder there’s only a handful of brave souls who actually do that.

However, I do strive to follow one who did even greater heroic acts. His father left signs encouraging us to do as he did. His signs are written in the indelible ink of his son’s blood. He also lived a shorter than average life – however he willingly took his last wave, giving his life up in order to write the sign, LIVE LIKE ME.

The sea is just one of the many portraits he left of his indescribable, incredible self. No matter how simple our life might seem, how ordinary – just following his signage has reward – and points to a place of adventure on the untamable sea of his calling.

 

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above – deeper than the depths below. They measure longer than the earth and wider than the sea.” Job 11:7-9

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Courage at Sunset

Posted by on Aug 25, 2013 in Courage, Extraordinary Everyday People, His Love | 4 comments

sunset 1

 

“Courage is grace under pressure” Ernest Hemingway

 

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for God is with you; he will never leave you” Deut. 31:6

 

Sometimes courage seems to appear in sporadic doses while at other times a daily dose of courage is the only way to face the day. Until recently I thought courageous people were born courageous and that courage flowed from them anytime a situation called for it. But recently I’ve witnessed the loveliest demonstrations of courage in unlikely people and in unlikely places. Courage is always noteworthy. Courage inspires.

My friend Lilly lives in a skilled nursing facility, where in my opinion, she doesn’t really belong. Our paths crossed a couple years ago when I was visiting a family member. She stands out from the others who live there. Most residents are either bedridden or in wheelchairs but Lilly can be found upright scurrying about connecting with people most every day. Her passion is people, whether they’re residents or visitors. She prays for the sick and encourages the downtrodden. Her faith is the driving force of her life. She lives to know her faith has influenced others and craves affirmation of that fact.

Lilly doesn’t see herself the way others see her. Externally she appears to be confident, gregarious and lighthearted. Internally she questions herself. She pushes back resentment for being placed in an environment where she doesn’t belong. She’s saddened to reside in the waiting room of death alongside roommates who don’t have the ability to communicate with her. She’s lonely for family and purpose. Her circumstances suggest her influence is over and she’s been forgotten. It takes tremendous strength and courage to face each day with the smile she wears.

Courage is often an internal force we choose to draw from when circumstances demand it. It’s kept alive by a deep sense of hope – by desperation really. Other times, courage claims a circumstance spontaneously like a firefighter who runs into a burning building. Afterward we look back and marvel at its behavior.

Courage isn’t always obvious or cloaked in a uniform. The daily courage Lilly taps into is rooted in the awareness of her own need. Isolation can weaken the ability to recognize courage and threatens its demise. However, courage can be cheered on by friends who understand and love authentically. Care and nurture fan the flames of courage, especially in the sunset hours of life.

Celebrate courage in someone elses life today. Be courageous yourself by claiming your own hope and sharing it with another.

Lord, grant me grace to ground what I do in acceptance of being yours. Place my actions in the stillness of your courage.

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Boston

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Courage, Fear, Our Hope | Comments Off on Boston

 

Darkness Cannot Extinguish His Light

 

 

Shortly after publishing my blog this morning I turned on the news. Like the rest of the nation I sat frozen in front of my TV digesting gruesome images from the Boston Marathon bombing. Once again our nation grieves. We drape our hearts with mourning cloth and pray this never happens to us. Our emotions bounce from shock to sorrow, from grief to anger.

As we look on, two other terrorists begin to knock at our heart’s door, cynicism and fear – dwellers of darkness. Although barely visible they somehow seem familiar to us because they always accompany catastrophe. They wait to join terror, challenging hope and trust. They collaborate to extinguish light.

Cynicism and fear are darkness dwellers. Their job is to overpower our perception of truth – truth promised to us. Without hope our hearts fail. Light fades. Without hope, trust weakens. We harden.

We have a choice to be in the light and of the light. Let us choose to let our tears run freely and glisten in his light. May we trust him by letting our hearts stay soft even at the expense of, and during pain. Our path will brightly light up with hope as our face points to the One we can fully trust.

Father, be near to the brokenhearted. Let your light shine brightly through our bottled tears, use them as beacons pointing toward you. Place your Holy Spirit at the door of the discouraged, turning away the intruders of despair and hopelessness. Amen.

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear. The Lord is the stronghold of my life” Psalms 27:1

“For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness made light shine in our hearts to give us understanding of his glory in the face of Christ” 2 Corinthians 4:6

 

 

 

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