Courage = Fighting Fear with Faith

Resurrected Christ by J. Kirk Richards

Resurrected Christ  by J. Kirk Richards

 

 

Couldn’t we all use more courage?

I mean, it seems like fear is slowly becoming an epidemic in the world. Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, fear of no God, fear of terrorists, fear of the environment, fear of which presidential candidate will win—the list could go on.

Fear is mammoth, it’s debilitating, and it creates paranoid, cowardly, hopeless, joyless people.

I think that is why Jesus addresses our fears head-on.  The one statement He made more than any other was:
Fear not!
Take Courage!
Be not Afraid!

Check it out: Continue reading

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Alexander Hamilton: Well, That Came From Nowhere

A. Ham

“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known when I was young and dreamed of glory: you have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.”
Hamilton, An American Musical

Sometimes vindication and fame come a little late.

Alexander Hamilton would appreciate this fact. Despite featuring on the $10 bill (a privilege he may soon be losing), the youngest of the Founding Fathers has been (until recently) supremely undervalued for all that he accomplished on behalf of our country.

To read off a little of his resume, he was Washington’s aide-de-camp during the Revolution, and an active participant in writing the Constitution. He penned 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers that rallied support to the Constitution and the new form of government it embodied (they are still used today in court as a source of Constitutional interpretation). He was America’s first Secretary of Treasury, rendering us stable economically, establishing America’s good credit, and making us an international contender in the financial sector. He founded New York’s first bank, the first National Bank, and America’s first political party. He personally saw to Thomas Jefferson’s election as president. He also founded the Coast Guard.

He accomplished all of this as a bastard immigrant from impoverished circumstances before dying at the age of 49.

I never cease to be amazed by Alexander Hamilton – he was the ultimate wildcard. No other founding father came from such a complete disadvantage, and absolutely no one saw him coming…kind of like a certain spectacle that debuted recently in New York.

But I will get to that in a minute. In the meantime, let me give you the skinny on Hamilton’s unexpected rise to prominence.

Continue reading

My Grace is Sufficient for Thee

Healing

 

“We all struggle with struggles. But did you ever think that perhaps God may be using your struggles to change you?
To shape you?
Even to heal you?”
Max Lucado

 

I think Max may be right. For over a decade I have been asking God to remove the pain in my head. I have chronic headaches. Even as I write these words, my thoughts pass through the fog of pain and try to come out coherent and uplifting. Doctors discovered at least part of the problem: deteriorated discs in my neck that shoot pain across my shoulders, up the back of my head, and to my temples. The lupus only muddies the issue, which makes my soldiering through the day sometimes, well, a battle.

Oh, put the tissues away, this isn’t a sob story. We all deal with struggles. This just happens to be mine.

So, what do I do with it?  I do my part. Stay active. Exercise. Stretch. Eat right. Think positively (after all, I don’t want to become anyone else’s headache). But mostly I pray. Continue reading

Under Construction

carpenter_hands

Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

We are his workmanship.
Ephesians 2:10

 

I have officially reached the halfway mark of my mission. Gosh, where has the time gone? Feels like I just got here.

Regardless of how many people have or have not listened to our message, the reality of my service is that a huge transformation is taking place – and that change is within me.

Caution: Under Construction
At some point in service, every missionary hits the hard hat zone. In the last few weeks, I’ve hit mine. This is when you find the Lord beginning demolition so he can rebuild you. Funny, before his ministry, Jesus was a carpenter, and he seems to be continuing his trade (this time on my heart). Continue reading

Rise Up

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“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in Rising up every time we fail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Sometimes in life, soul is called to Rise even if it’s alone, leave all behind and Rise anyway!”
Coletha Albert

“Your life is yours alone. Rise up and live it.”
Terry Goodkind

Listen, I’m all for decompressing and relaxing, and mental health days.  I believe Italy has it right with taking 2-hour Pranzos in the middle of every day for food and family.  And, for heaven’s sake, a 4-day work week would do wonders for the collective human spirit, and therefore healthcare.

But this humble pep-post isn’t about kicking back or taking it easy.  No. This is about another form of well being:  Giving it your all. Continue reading

Success Inspires, But Failure Connects

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“You are human and mortal; we are the sum of our weak moments and our strong.”
Mercedes Lackey

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
Criss Jami

“Failure makes your story worth telling.”
Jer Monson

How we portray our success as well as our failures has a great deal to do with how we relate to others.

It took me years to get this. I grew up with the “never let them see you sweat” mentality. And, because people only saw the polished success, they only got half the story.

“Success and failure are two halves of the same coin.  If we want our lives to be as impactful as possible, it’s important to share both!  By presenting a full picture, we can use our experiences to help other people acknowledge their individual potential, mitigate their fear of failure, and capitalize on their opportunities.”
Jer Monson

Success inspires, but failure connects.

So, what do you stink at?  Tell you what – I’ll go first. Continue reading