Tag Archives: Courage

Lessons of Faith (Two): Patience


As we are instructed through faith, so we ought to live. After all, there is no lesson in our lives that that can’t be taught to us if we take the time to understand the deeper meaning that the gift of grace that has been given to us through the power of the Spirit and the hold that it has on each of us.

It begins with trust, a trust that comes through letting go and letting God lead us. In a sense, it is both simple and yet hard for us to do. After all, when we are called to the new life that comes through the redemption of Christ, we come to put our hope in our Heavenly Father through the precious blood of the Lamb. Yet, for as much as we may rest on that blessed eternity, it’s the hardest thing for us to let go of our daily lives as we find ourselves faced with challenges: toiling, worrying, struggling as we reach towards who we want to be, who we need to be, knowing we have the capacity to do it but finding that it is just out of our reach.

Only when we remember that our God is the Lord of the great and the small, and put it all in His hand — that’s when we realize the fullness of our potential. But then, for as much as we need to trust, it is nothing if we do not heed the second great lesson of faith that comes to bear in our lives and our plans. This is patience.

Patience is perhaps the biggest stumbling block to trust, isn’t it? A fruit of faith, (Galatians 5:22-23) we know, we understand that it’s important, yet it is the difference between the head and the heart. But then life is short, something we are often times so painfully aware of. (Psalm 89:47) We want what we want right now, because we don’t want to waste the preciousness of that wondrous gift God has given us when He breathed life into us.

What we often times forget is that we aren’t always ready, we aren’t always prepared for everything. Like the Prodigal (Luke 11:15-32) we are so eager to go out and see everything, to feel everything. Perhaps our ambitions and our view of the wider world isn’t as selfish or as self centered as his was. It could be that we want it because we know all the good we can do, all the good that is possible for us and from us if we are just given the chance to be more. Yet when we allow for our impatience to take over, we go out unprepared for what the world has to offer and the resistance it may possibly put up against us.

Remember that God not only tells us, but He warns us as well that there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) if we are wise enough to be patient in it. God gives to us, He is gracious on to us, and the promise of His love is the same promise He makes over and over to you: He will not fail you or forsake you (Joshua 1:5) as He shows that His time is perfect if we rest it in His hands. (Psalm 31:15) Just because we want it right now doesn’t mean an unchanging God, a God who, in that nature, protects us from all we are not ready or prepared for, (Malachi 3:6) is suddenly going to change.

Faith involves patience just as assuredly as it involves trust. After all, the saints who rested in blessed faith did so patiently waiting for the hour of the Savior’s arrival that the blemishes of their sins might be washed away. They were saved because they looked, and they waited to the appointed hour of God’s anointed one. Even now, in faith, we wait for the second coming of that same Savior that will usher in the final hours of the Lord. If we can wait patiently, if we can look towards these things, trusting in God as we do, knowing the greater importance that they have in our lives, for our spirits and our souls, then why can’t we let go and be patient with Him, trusting in the promises that He has made to us?

Your time and your hour is coming if you just realize it is going to happen when God is ready for it to happen, Then the fullness of His design, the wonders of His plan will be revealed to you in the most significant of ways. He isn’t going to leave you without enough time to do what He intends for you to do even if time is short and our days our numbered. It’s just a matter of having faith in that, learning what it is that He is trying to teach you so you can be who you need to be. When that does happen you will see your faith is rewarded in the most significant of blessings and the most wondrous of miracles.

Be strong, dear disciples; be strong and be courageous, but most importantly be patient. Your hour is near. Just let God show it to you.

Miracles Great and Small

How often, in our times of trouble, do we pray for a miracle? In our faith and our hope we often just find ourselves kneeling down, laying it all out and wishing for something, for anything that will come, wanting it so badly and for it to be enough to encompass our lives, making it just that much easier.

Why not? After all, even in his sin, even in his fallen state of anger and hate, Saul of Taurus gave witness to a miracle. The ground rumbled, and shook and any questions, any doubt he had was chased away by the booming voice of God as the heavens split and His presence and will was made known to him. He didn’t even pray, he wasn’t working in faith, the persecutor of the early Church he didn’t even realize he was in need of that divine guidance, yet there it was. So why can’t we be blinded by the glory of God to be shown the path? Why can’t His voice come like thunder from the skies to tell us the road we need to go down?

It’s one of those questions, one of those struggles we battle with. We know the verses, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) or “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”, (Philippians 4:13) but sometimes it seems as if the God who tells us to be strong and courageous, reminding us that He will never fail us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6) just doesn’t hear. It almost feels as if He is waiting for us to figure it out for ourselves, removed from the situation as we plead with Him, in our faith, for a little more, for a little something, the weight of it all just bearing down on us.

God’s miracles are never far from us though. It’s just a matter of looking for them and seeing them right in front of us. Though He can, He doesn’t necessarily send angels with blazing swords to appear in front of us, nor does He split the skies to appear in His wondrous glory in front of us. Even as we want a dramatic example or an encompassing miracle that shows us the path of His divine design for our lives, it’s not the way it works.

The promise of God isn’t the promise that He will give us what we want. It’s the promise that, in His goodness and His mercy, in His love for us He will give us what we need. (2 Peter 1:3) With that, through the power of His Holy Spirit, His miracles are everywhere around us to behold, made manifest in His hope for us. (Hebrews 2:4) It’s just a matter of understanding what those miracles truly are, letting your heart and your soul, your spirit and your mind open to the fruits of His Spirit, (Galatians 5:22-23) the truest blessings of God’s wondrous plan and love for us.

Coming to our Heavenly Father, laying our burdens at the feet of Christ, means not only trust Him, it means not only having faith in Him, it means opening our eyes to the great and to the small, knowing that they happen all around us if we are truly receptive to the way that they come to us. With that it’s not about the lessons He can teach us or the hope He can give us when He makes things so easy for us that we can’t ignore it, it’s about the way He guides us to a better understanding, a greater understanding that only comes when we open our eyes to a world of greater possibilities through Him. It’s the reminder that, as our blessed Savior reminds us, it takes but a mustard seed of faith to move a mountain, (Matthew 17:20) and the greatest came come from the smallest.

Though He promises us His goodness, His hope and His mercy, telling us that He has plans for us and for our lives, (Jeremiah 29:11) God comes to us on His terms, not on ours. He does so because, better than we know ourselves, He knows us and what is best for us. With that He guides us and leads us according to who we are and who we need to be, we just need to keep our eyes and our hearts open to the signs and the wonders that He has all around us. Perhaps they’re not always easy to see, but they are there. What we need to remember is that coming to God in faith, coming to Christ in hope, trusting in their blessings, and their guarantees, means we are trusting in the power and the terms of the Divine, and not just our own want or desire for what that should mean.

Let your hearts behold the miracles of the living God, let your lives be encompassed by those blessings great and small. Let go of your own preconceived notions of what they should be or need to be. Once you do, you open yourself up to a whole new world of possibilities where the miracles you once considered small now become greater than anything you ever imagined as they give you the power to do more and be more according to the wonders of God through the grace of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Finding, Being Who We Need to Be

For as hard and as frightening as it may be at times for us to remember, there are times when we have to look at life and consider not just who we are but who we are meant to be, who we want to be and need to be, so we can be more and do more. For as challenging and as difficult as it might end up being, there are times when we have to remember that just because something didn’t work out the way that we had wanted it to, it doesn’t mean that’s the end of the story or the end of a dream, it’s the start of a new chapter and a new beginning for us. Sometimes, it’s a matter of considering where we are and where we need to be, finding the path we need to be on so we can be more and do more with ourselves.

There’s a lesson from our blessed Savior hat I often think of when I think about this. Having told the Parable of the Faithful and Wise Servant (Luke 12:35-40) Jesus would end the story by saying, “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” As Peter would press Him a little further He’d dig a little deeper before finally saying “But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48)

You see, none of us know when the end is coming, none of us know when our time will come. When Christ speaks here He is talking about the end of days that will be ushered in by His inevitable and triumphant return, a time that will come like a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2) Yet, the truth is even without looking and waiting for the end, our time our short and precious, measured in minutes and days, weeks and months, years and decades that can be over in the blink of an eye, that can be over before we have even had the chance to really live. Just as none know the day and time of those final moments except God, (Matthew 24:35) so the same can be said of our lives and our time.

This is what makes the gift of life that much more precious, and why our use of our talents and our abilities, given as a gift from God, are that much more important. It’s why Christ Himself uses the language that He uses in telling us that much is demanded from us, that much will be asked from us. It’s so that we can understand that in our lives, we need to make the best use of our time, we need to make the best use of our gifts to be who God intends for us to be, understanding that there are going to be challenges and difficulties, that there are going to be moments when things don’t work out the way we want them to be, but that in all of these things we are meant to be honed and strengthened to do more and be more.

God, in His promises, and Christ, in lesson, do not guarantee that everything is going to work out the way that you hope. Sometimes it works out the exact opposite, giving you something that you hadn’t been expecting. Maybe when it does, it hurts or it creates a sense of hardship within you as you struggle to find the purpose and the meaning of it all. Perhaps it might even leave you wondering why you even bothered trying in the first place, looking around and thinking to yourself it wasn’t supposed to be this way. What God does offer, and what He does tell us is that, with time, He will let it make sense if we have faith, abiding in hope and trust. (James 1:5-6) What He does promise is that He has a plan for us, even when we can’t necessarily see it, so long as we use our gifts and our abilities accordingly to become the people we are intended to be and need to be.

With that He wants us to know that, in life, we are to use our gifts, our talents and our abilities to take chances, and to take risks, to push ourselves past our comfort zone to become more than we are, and show all that we are capable of. Remember the Parable of the Talents, (Matthew 25:14-30) and how the two servants took what the Master gave them, and invested it. Any time we invest, there is a risk that we are going to perhaps lose, there is a risk that what we have put in may not offer a return or, even worse, give nothing back, not even our original investment. Yet it is better than burying our gifts away, hiding them from the world in a sense of fear and doubt, never willing to do anything with them, because we are too scared. Even if everything is ventured and it seems as nothing is gained we are taught something more about who we are and what we are capable of for the future.

Be strong, and challenge yourself to do more and to be more, to seek out who you want to be and need to be, putting fear and doubt behind you. Know that God has given you what you need to become who you should be. Though the road may be long and wrought with challenges you will get there if you put yourself out there, and you give of yourself, showing that you are willing to make the most of the time that our Heavenly Father has given you.

Let your life be that perpetual challenge to use all that you have been given and everything that you are to show that you will face the world head on. When you do, you will see clearer and your fear and inhibition will melt away, leaving nothing but the strength and the hope, the love and the courage of the Lord giving you the ability to move forward in ways you never thought possible before.

It’s Not What I Expected


Don’t you hate it when, let’s face it, it seems like you’ve done everything right, everything that should have been expected of you, yet nothing seems to be the way it should be, or it just seems to make things harder than it should be? It’s hard when you find yourself in those times when you think to yourself “It should be like this” or “how did this happen?” when you know it should be something different. After all, you put yourself out there, you took the steps and you did everything you could, you did the most your potential allowed you to do, doing the best you could do and still, it wasn’t enough.

You expect something different, you wanted something different, that there would be at least something given for that faith and that hope that you had. All you end up finding though is that you’re tired and restless, wishing it could have somehow found a way to be what you wanted it to be, knowing that it’s anything but. It just makes you so weary that a part of you is reluctant to try again, to just give it your all again. Why would you? After all, if you did everything that could have been done, why do you just feel like you’ve failed? Why didn’t it work out the way it should have?

The truth is you’re not the first person to feel this way, watching it seem to all be different than the way it should have been. Atop Mount Carmel Elijah did as was expected of him. He stood in the shadow of the prophets of Baal and Judah’s King, Ahab, and he gave testimony to the power and the glory of the living God of Israel. (1 Kings 18:20-39) Yet, as the word reached Jezebel her answer was fierce and merciless, the prophets of her god laid slain, and she demanded blood, sending her messenger to the Elijah that he might know that his life was now held cheap and without value. (1 Kings 19:1 and 2) It would send him into hiding, fleeing into the hills, even as he cried out to the Lord, “Take my life, I am no better than my ancestors”, (1 Kings 19:3-5) a deep sense of failure overtaking him even when he did everything that was asked of him, that was expected of him, knowing it wasn’t as it should have been.

More than likely our own stories, they aren’t as dramatic as the story of Elijah, but they have the same sort of effect on us. We wonder to ourselves what’s the point of trying when trying mean these feelings, when it means these troubles, when it just causes a whole different set of struggles. We ask ourselves what’s the point of putting it all out there if putting it all out there means that we have to face challenges like this, finding that the peace we wanted, it just hasn’t come and our hope is fleeting.

The truth is not everything in life is going to work out the way that we want it to. We can do everything the way it’s supposed to be done and, honestly, the results may surprise us and not in the best ways. It could be that, for as much as we put into it, the only thing that comes out of it is hardship and even some pain. Still, that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the story. God still has a plan for your life. In His glorious hope He still has a grand and a great design for it, (Jeremiah 29:11) even as He makes us more than conquerors in the wondrous grace of our blessed Savior, Christ Jesus, letting nothing separate us from His love. (Romans 8:35-37)

Sometimes it’s just a matter of putting our preconceived notions behind us, and giving ourselves up to the idea that life isn’t going to be the way that we planned it to be and yet it can be more than we planned. It’s a matter of letting what has happened be just that and looking towards a new day as a new chance to run the race in front of us. (Philippians 3:13-14) Not everything has to be the way we expected it to be, even when we did everything we could to make it that way, for it to teach us something of value, and something of worth. According to God’s timing, the deeper lessons that it has to offer will be revealed to us even if we can’t see what they are at the time. It’s a matter of living your life knowing that there is more to it than any one set of circumstances or any one situation that you may face, and that, though it may not be all you wanted it to be, there is a chance for tomorrow to be different if you never stop believing in the wonders God’s hope and love for you and your life.

Be strong and live in faith, today is but one day in your life and it could just be that it is a lesson there to teach you what you are capable of, and the way you are able to put your own inhibitions and fears aside so you can do more and be more. Find peace in that and peace will come to you even as tomorrow brings the hope of a new opportunity for you in the wonders of God’s design and plan for your life. Let not your heart be troubled, for God is there to lead you, through Christ, in grace, love and mercy, healing the wounds of your past, and giving you the strength to meet your future in all He has equipped you and is equipping you to do.

A Question of Beauty


Looking in the mirror it’s hard sometimes not to see our flaws and imperfections as they stare back at us. Maybe it’s a little bit of the world around us with its ever changing standards, not so subtly pushing us towards its own perceptions of beauty. It imposes itself on us, flooding us with images and ideas of what it means to be pretty or handsome. It tries to take and mold those who do not fit those standards, trying to make and re-make them in its own image until finally, in a sense of deeper conformity, it pushes people to meet with that image.

Yet the truth is, for as much as that may be the case, it has more to do with us than it does anything else. After all, we are the ones looking and seeing, wanting to somehow be different than we are, using whatever these standards are as a measure of ourselves to try and change, to want to change, somehow thinking there’s something wrong with us.

You see, what we need to remember is that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) in the image of our Heavenly Father. (Genesis 1:26) Still, even amidst that, each of us are as unique and as special as the love that God has for us, formed by the wonders of His touch and with the gifts that He intended for us. That’s what makes us truly special, it’s what makes the truest beauty, and the most wondrous of elegance.

It is the image that we see when we look in our hearts, when we look at our deeds, not necessarily the one that we see when we look in the mirror. After all, that can be deceiving and can be trapped in vanity. It can be fleeting, soon to disappear as it washes away with the tides of time. (Proverbs 30:21) It can hide a heart that is cold and hurtful.

That isn’t to say that all who are by the standards around us considered beautiful, are that way. There is no question that they can, and do have a radiance that shines from within their hearts. That though is their most real and sincere beauty and they realize it too, knowing that when everything else in the world starts to fade that’s what they have to count on.

It’s that it’s important to remember that the truest standard of beauty that we can have, the most stunning of grace that can take hold of us is judged by the love in our hearts, the hope in our spirits, and the wonders we make use of in our souls. It lies in how we look at the world, at those who are in need around us and strive to help them, how we edify and uplift our fellow man making their lives just a little bit better. It’s the sense of charity and faith that guides us to imitate our Blessed Savior in the healing power of His touch, seeking to be more to those around us.

Sometimes this is hard for us to remember when we are bombarded with images of the perfect smile, the perfect body, the perfect hair, or whatever else it may be. We think life will just be that much easier, we will be able to get whatever it is that we want or feel that we need if we are a little thinner or a little better looking, if we have a little more hair on our head or whatever else it may be. Yet, in the end, when these things fade, we either end up struggling with the fact that they are slipping away from us, or we have the love and the hope in our hearts that guided us to be better people, to be stronger and more courageous of people.

Rather than trying to obtain beauty, be beautiful with a light that shines forth from your heart. Rather than seeing flaws or imperfections, see a person who has a chance to do more and be more with themselves today, knowing the gifts your Heavenly Father gave you, and using them to change the world around you rather than trying to change yourself for the world. You’re only as beautiful as you let yourself be, the question becomes how beautiful do you want to be?

God judges not by the physical appearance but by the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) What will He see when He looks in yours? Will it be the beauty of your love blooming? Or will it be a preoccupation with being exactly as you perceive you need to look?

Find your beauty within, and bring it out through love, hope, faith and charity. When you do, everything else will make sense in the wonders that it hold.