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Archive for the ‘courage’ Category

We’ve all faced skeptics who told us we were crazy for considering a bold plan to go for a certain job or a certain team or a certain relationship or a certain address or, yes, a certain act of Christian ministry.

“Get serious!” they told us, adding that we’d be out of our league in pursuing the plan.

Who likes hearing “You’re not smart enough” or “You’re not attractive enough” or “You’re not tall enough” or “You’re not cool enough” or “You’re not spiritual enough” or some other verbal bucket of ice water down the back?

I certainly don’t and I’ve heard all of these and many other variants during my years.

Just as you have.

Sadly, sometimes I listened too closely to small-minded voices and scrapped my plans.

I was wrong to do so and I regret it.

This is not about ignoring godly, Bible-based wisdom from Kingdom-minded people. Such counsel should always be welcomed and given deep consideration.

But much of what we hear from others is rooted in the flesh, not in faith.

And so, when some skeptic says to us “Get serious!” and we pause to reflect, let’s make sure that the voice that carries the most weight is the Lord’s.

I’m so glad that young David didn’t listen to King Skeptic when the teen said he was fed up with Goliath’s foul, blasphemous boasting and was going to do something about it.

Here’s a snippet from I Samuel 17:32-33 —

“Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”

Aren’t you glad that David didn’t listen when King Saul pulled the “Get serious!” thing?

I sure am.

When we’re considering a plan that we know advances God’s will because it helps other people to receive blessings from God and displays our confidence in God’s ability to use us for good, the Devil is not going to like it.

He’ll prompt others to discourage us so that we’ll give up.

That’s when others telling us to “Get serious!” actually creates a testimony opportunity as we explain that we ARE quite serious about serving God and helping people and walking in His power to do what the world thinks we can’t.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Let’s do what Joseph of Arimathea did on Good Friday.

Let’s leave our comfort zone for God’s sake.

Let’s take a glorified risk.

Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” (Mark 15:43)

Joseph understood what was at stake socially, financially and spiritually when he decided to place godly faith ahead of earthly status.

His heart was convicted to do the right thing, the worshipful thing, without regard to how his peers might squawk.

I’m so glad he did.

I need to have the same determination to do the right thing to honor Christ.

In whatever circumstance I find myself.

It’s all about honoring the One who died for me.

Take a risk today.

Do something that shows everybody that Jesus is first in your life no matter what hassles you might face.

Say “yes” to godliness when the world says “no.”

Say “no” to ungodliness the world answers “yes.”

Forgive when the world would vindictively punish.

Love when the world would hate.

Living like Jesus — and for Jesus — is risky.

But, man, the rewards are sky high….

As always, I love you
Martin

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The D-Day invasion seventy years ago — the greatest invasion the world had ever seen — wouldn’t have happened if those involved had not been convinced that their actions were needed for setting free a nation gripped by darkness and evil.

It was a history-defining moment involving a horrible battle within which thousands of “good guys” died.

But the victory then led to victory that still reigns today.

Thank you, men, for the conviction of doing the right thing, despite the threats.

I was reminded of the above while reading this morning from Acts 4.
Another brave stand was taken then, although with significantly different details.

Yet it, too, was a history-defining moment.

Christianity had just launched as a post-ascension movement and the enemies of the Gospel wanted to squash it before it secured a permanent beachhead in the spiritual mindset of the Jewish community.

Peter and John were told by religious rulers to stop talking about Christ and His power, but Peter said Christians had to choose between obeying God or obeying the Jewish bigshots.

You know which choice Peter and John chose. Why did Peter have such conviction?

Because of undeniable experience and proof that God was real, that His power was real and that inner peace available to believers was real.

Let these words move you as they moved me this morning:

“Let me (Peter) clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he (a man lame for 40 years) was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’

“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

“The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say.”

Let’s pray for wisdom and boldness so that we’ll more clearly display both to others that we’ve been with Jesus.

Let’s pray that an undeniable transformation in our lives is evident to those who disregard or even dispute the Gospel.

When people hear that we’ve stopped cussing or that we’ve stopped gossiping or that we’ve stopped backstabbing or that we’ve started forgiving or that we’ve started volunteering to help the needy or that we’ve started working harder to please our employer despite no pay raise, it will get their attention.

That’s when we can testify that we’re different because we’ve “been with Jesus.”

As always, I love you
Martin

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As Christians, we are called to be humble. We are called to be patient. And we are called to be forgiving.

But we are never called to be wimps.

Sometimes, the battle against darkness involves calling out others for the wrongs they’ve done – or are doing – to us.

The Apostle Paul’s and his helper Silas’ experience in Acts 16 is instructive in this way.

Paul and Silas were falsely accused by pagans who didn’t like losing the income from a fortune teller that had been exorcised of a demon by Paul.

The accusations, embraced by leaders of the city named Philippi, led to Paul and Silas being stripped and beaten severely and thrown into prison.

Paul and Silas were Roman citizens and such things were never to happen for citizens without a trial before Roman authorities.

That was a huge mistake by the city officials, one that – under the law – should have resulted in their being stripped and beaten and thrown into prison.

You’ll want to read the amazing story of Acts 16:11-40. It will strengthen your faith.

What you’ll also read in that story is the demand of Paul and Silas that the city officials come to them and make a public apology for their grievous error.

But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.” (vv. 37-39)

Was Paul failing to show Christian humility by making this request? Was Paul not being forgiving?

Of course not.

He was simply exercising his rights under the law.

And he was protecting the rights of other believers who were citizens who might have faced harrassing efforts by these same leaders in the future.

I’m sure that this episode left an impression of the impulsive city leaders who punished first and investigated later.

Listen, it is not wrong to demand your rights.

You might, for the sake of the Gospel, choose to lay your rights aside at times in order to demonstrate spiritual strength and a spirit of forgiveness.

But if you’re being harrassed at the job via illegal actions of the boss or other workers or if a business person makes an unjust decision that effectively steals money from you, stand your ground.

Seek wise advice. Protect your legal interests. Doing so is not a sin but actually might make it easier for your future service and for other believers who might face less hassle because you spoke up.

Bullies that face no push-back by people of integrity will just keep harrassing people, including believers.

As you’ve heard before, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Be bold today.

Intercede today for that discouraged co-worker by praising him or her for something, even when other workers spout criticism.

Forgive that friend’s random, calloused words, even when Satan is whispering that you should get even.

Reclaim that moral high ground within your personal life even when loneliness or insults of others push you toward the poisonous placebo of porn or unsanctified flirting.

Tell others that you’re not going to join their gossip or their pilfering from work or their lewdness or their whatever. You’re a believer trying to imitate Christ and He would never do such things.

Perhaps most difficult for you, invite your unsaved friends to church or to a home Bible study group or to a lunch where the two of you talk about faith and life.

Be bold today.

“And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.” (Hebrews 3:6)

As you and I live with boldness, we’ll be reminded of the blessing that awaits. And perhaps one more soul will step off of the broad, conformist path that leads to destruction and onto the narrow, bold path that leads to eternal life.

As always, I love you
Martin

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