Posts Tagged courage

Fear Not – Week 3 – FBC – Say Something Nice Sunday

Scripture Focus: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. — 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” is one of the most memorable statements in American history. President Franklin Roosevelt endured daunting hardships after being stricken with polio. Little was known about the disease when he contracted it. The mere mention of it spread panic among parents. His great courage in the face of such a burden inspired a nation ravaged by the Great Depression. As memorable and as important as those words are, Roosevelt was not the first to utter them. The Bible makes that same statement in a variety of ways more than one hundred times beginning in the Old Testament and continuing in the New. Fear is one of our most inhibiting emotions. We fear change. We fear the unknown. We fear strangers. It is a controlling factor in many lives, but it cannot survive in a life of faith. That does not mean that our faith gives us license to be reckless or fool-hearted. It does mean that we are to live with the assurance of where our strength comes from. When Carol was involved in a serious automobile accident, she said one Bible verse kept playing in her mind. “Perfect love cast out fear.” Even though the Jaws of Life were required to get her out of our mangled car, she emerged relatively unscathed.

Prayer Focus: Thank you God that your love does cast out fear. Regardless of the circumstances your love upholds us. Amen

Tags: , , ,

Encourage One Another – Week Two – FBC – Say Something Nice Day

Scripture Focus: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

My friend has been unable to have full use of his right arm since having open heart surgery a few months ago. On the way back from lunch he said to me, “I can complain about all the things I can’t do with my right arm or I can be grateful for all the things I can do with my left arm. I choose to be thankful.” Wow! These words came from a man who has just lost his only daughter to a rare lung disease. His faith and courage under such circumstances gave me courage to walk back into my own house where my wonderful wife is plagued with Alzheimer’s disease. Carol taught in the public schools for twenty-eight years. She holds a Master’s degree plus thirty more graduate hours. She is the only person I have known who received more money on a grant request than she asked for. Five years ago she helped me edit my book, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. She loved singing in the Sanctuary Choir. When our faith grows weak we can lean into the faith of someone’s whose faith is stronger. Peter Gomes said it best in his sermon for Christmas Day, “The House of Bread,” “The miracle of Christmas is that God cared enough to send the very best and that he continues to do so in the gifts now given to us in one another.” God has blessed me with friends whose faith helps me strengthen my own.

Prayer Focus: Dear God, thank you for all the wonderful people you have sent into my life. You have blessed me beyond measure. Amen

Tags: , , ,

52 Keys for Living, Loving and Working

            What are the keys that unlock the door to a fuller, richer, happier, more fulfilling life? What are those ingredients that foster mental, physical and spiritual well being? These questions are as old as time. No one has all of the answers, but centuries of human struggles and triumphs have revealed the ones that seem to be most effective when cultivated and exercised over a long period of time. There may be others that work well for you.  Add them to the ones presented here. All of humanity constantly strives to uncover the secrets that lead to a sense of well being and fulfillment. Although we all strive for happiness, the wisdom of the ages argues that happiness seems to be a byproduct of how we live our lives rather than a strategy to be mastered. The direction of all life is toward growth. Each experience, each encounter, each revelation prepares us for the next.  Each new insight opens even more vistas to us. Life continues to unfold before us if we are open to receive the lessons and if we are willing to push our boundaries beyond what we already know and what feels safe. The abundant life we crave does not reside in safety. Unless we are willing to step out in unknown territory and make ourselves vulnerable to pain and uncertainty our lives will remain unfulfilled and dim shadows of what could be. Life is meant to be an adventure into discovering who we are and our relationship to one another. Life is made up of a series of ever changing, ever evolving relationships that touch and create other relationships.

The Centrality of Faith

Faith is the foundation of all relationships, with God, with our self, and with others. We establish and develop relationships through faith. We decide whether or not we want to establish or maintain a relationship based on a mutual understanding that states, I believe that this will be good for each of us. We also decide whether or not to enter into a faith relationship with God and at what level. According to the Holy Bible only a minute measure of faith is required – our faith only needs to be as great as a mustard seed which is the smallest seed known. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We must also have some measure of faith toward ourselves. This requires that we know who we are and what we are about – not an easy task. Establishing relationships demonstrates a basic faith that there is a tomorrow – a reason to live, love and hope.

The Keys

Be present                  

            Be present is by far the most important key. Be in the moment with your whole being not thinking of what will come next or what has happened in the past. Be in this moment fully committed to it. We need to glean from each moment what it has to reveal to us. This is the now. What is happening this very instant? We cannot detain the moment, or recall it, but we can easily miss it.

            When we are at work, we spend much of our time thinking about what we would like to be doing at home. Sometimes we are planning our vacation, thinking about our daughter’s impending wedding, thinking about our grandchildren or perhaps retirement. Our mind has temporarily taken flight. We are not present with the current project or with the other people in the room. We miss what is taking place in the moment.

            When we are at home, we think about what awaits at work again missing the now. We miss the smiles, sparkling eyes, sighs, stiffened body language and the lilt in the voice. We are focused on another place and time.

            Liza Minnelli, the fabulous Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy winner, has it right when she says, “If you’ve got one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you’re missing today.”[1]


[1] Liz Smith. Parade Magazine. March 01, 2009

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,