Tag Archives: courage

“There he went into a cave and spent the night.  And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”  (I Kings 19:9, NIV)

When our daily agenda is full of commitments — including urgent matters that appear in the line-up uninvited — we need to consider the question that came from God to the prophet Elijah when Elijah was hiding in a cave in fear of Queen Jezebel, who had sworn to kill him within 24 hours: “What are you doing here?”

The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  Yet, it is very difficult for most people to look critically at where they are in life; and the paths they’ve taken to arrive at that point.

I believe that if had Elijah closely examined his personal history and, more importantly, the presence of God in his personal history; and the deliverance of Elijah by the hand of God against impossible odds; Elijah may still have been in the cave, but he would not have been there in mortal fear of Jezebel, and thinking that God had abandoned him.

Take the time — and the courage — to spend five minutes in self-examination.  Answer the question: “What are you doing here?”  It is the only sure way to keep in step with the cadence of God for your life.  – Luther

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“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1, NIV)

At the wake for my 92-year old paternal grandmother, her pastor noted that she would often quote today’s psalm; pause for effect; then answer confidently: “Nobody!”

If we live in the light of the Lord, we need not fear those who lurk in the darkness. Though the agents of evil may snare us, the length of our captivity is limited, and our liberation is assured.

Whom shall we fear? “Nobody!”  – Luther

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“Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.” (Acts 14:19-20, NIV)

Stoned, and left for dead.

As amazing as it is that Paul survived such abuse, what is even more amazing is what he did afterward: “He got up and went back into the city.”

We can only guess at Paul’s reasons for returning to the scene of his humiliation, pain, and near-death experience. Perhaps, Paul chose to re-enter the city for the benefit of the disciples who had refused to abandon him.

How do you and I serve those who have walked the extra mile with us through difficulties, trials, disappointments, and sorrows? Do we remember that, for such people, the distance to home is one mile longer because of us?

If Paul and Barnabas had departed for Derbe from where Paul had been dragged by the mob, it would have been a shorter journey — and a lot less stressful. (And they did, indeed, leave for Derbe the following day!)  However, in the moment, Paul chose to re-enter the city.

We do well — after we’ve “gotten up” — to return with those who have stood-by us with the blessings of our literal presence and our gratitude.

If God has saved you through one fire, remember that God also has the power to save you through a hundred fires more. Be courageous in the confidence of His abiding presence and power to save.

Do not shirk an opportunity — whether because of fear or personal inconvenience — to be a living, personal, present encouragement to others of God’s faithfulness.  – Luther

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