I have been preparing my sermons for this coming Sunday and it dawned on me that I have way too much to use and keep everyone awake. So, I am sharing a little of it with, my readers. I am thankful for the courage to do this. I assure you this is not warmed up leftovers. Too close the past holidays for that.
Ernest Hemingway, not known for caving in to peer pressure, gave his though on it succinctly with this: “Courage is grace under pressure.” I doubt that he would like my take on his thought, but I do know it takes a lot of God’s grace and courage to stand up against the pressure of peers, regardless of your age. It doesn’t matter your career or occupation, the pressure of peers will always be a reality. My calling reveals the sometimes gruesome nature of such pressure. I have never had a lot of trouble since my conversion to Christ standing against the pressure of the world to conform. I can tell you one thing, standing against the pressure of other saints to conform to their ideas can sometimes be more like standing against Mafia tactics than the persuasion of accurate biblical truth.
Due to my pre-conversion I know what I am talking about. On more than one occasion I have had to let some bully preacher know that his ideas and twisted theology cannot swing me over to his way and his bully tactics have less than a prayer of accomplishing this. There are two things in life I fear, the frown of God and the glare of the Great Blonde.
One channel of the ministry to which Christ has called me involves helping Christians, often Christians in service who make a mess of their testimony. This really rankles some, some who forget that they also have found refuge in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Not necessarily for the sin for which they are so upset that a fellow Saint used this verse for. Still, we all flee, if wise to this verse and others that deal with the frailty of humanness and the immeasurable grace of God. Thankfully God has given many likeminded people who help. Anyone who does any sort of lasting ministry with much of an impact must bow the knee to the Lord for putting this help on the heart of His people. PTL.
I have no idea just why you need courage right now. Some on the list have received news of cancer and this news came out of the blue. Others, several others actually, are in the closing cloudy days of repossession of the house, bought when dreams were precious and hopes were high. Still others had the pink slip at work or are anxious that theirs will be delivered this week. A life lived without the courage to face it is a life lived in either a gnawing or terrified fear.
Emerson wrote about the need for courage in this bit:
“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs.”
The Lord deals with His people with the oft repeated phrase “fear not.” My Bible search feature has it that this phrase or close variation is used 148 times. God made us and therefore knows that we tend to have fear instead of faith. Usually with His words banishing fear for the moment He assures that He is with us, for us, paves the way for us and on. This is done to encourage us, which means He puts His courage into us.
For many years I have faced fearful events and times of fear clinging to the instructions God gave to Joshua. Read a few here: Joshua 1:7, “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.”
Joshua 1:9, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Revelation 1:17, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
You get the idea, you need courage and Christ is the great one to infuse His courage into you. Although your knees may shake, your heart is on fire to accomplish God’s will in your life.
Copyright © 2014 Larry Lilly
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