Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Courageous Living

The last chapter. The last week. But not the last lesson. Our lessons are never ending in this walk of faith. Come with me, as we explore chapter twelve, "Living with Courage".

Micca opens with reminiscence of the Wizard of Oz friends traveling the yellow brick road in search of things which, unbeknownst to them, they already possess: brain, heart, courage.
It's only through the journey, seeking what we desire to possess, that we learn we have that which we desire. The scarecrow had a brilliant mind. The tin man had a loving heart. The lion had a courageous soul.

"Do we see ourselves as we really are--equipped and able to face life with wisdom, love, and courage?" My immediate thought to the first eight words is, no. I don't see myself as I am. It goes back to the low self-esteem I believe. All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

"We have what we need to succeed." And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

When I hear the word wisdom, I always think of the book of wisdom in the Bible: Proverbs. One of my daily devotions is going through the Seven Pillars of wisdom. The author says that any church/pastor who doesn't urge believers to read through Proverbs is doing a disservice to their/his sheep.

How do we gain wisdom? Through experience and making decisions based on experience. James tells us also how to gain it. If we lack wisdom, we can ask God, who generously provides. James 1:5 More than wisdom, I desire discernment. I don't want to simply make wise decisions, but rather desire to determine God's will, God's best, God's plan in my life. Therefore give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people that I may discern between good and evil. 1 Kings 3:9

Sometimes, wisdom only comes through waiting. Waiting can sometimes be wrongly associated with passivity and inactivity. Instead, waiting should always be accompanied with seeking...seeking after God's direction with obedience in each step. "Until we have peace, we shouldn't move in any direction." That's great advice and not foreign to me. I've heard it many times previously. I wait for you, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15

"You and I don't have to be listed in Who's Who to know what's what. All we have to do is ask God. Our first step toward bravery is to meditate on the knowledge of God."

Have a heart. Do it with heart. Play with heart. So much of what we do involves our heart. To be passionate and passionately involved. Sacrifice of self. Loving others, loving others above ourselves. Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 19:19 That's a tall order. A tough call to answer. None the less, we are not asked but commanded to do so. It can be overwhelming when we consider "who" is our neighbor. Everyone. Anyone in need. This task can cause insufficiencies to shine in the spotlight. Yet, "we can turn inadequacy into victory by using our heart. Through this process courage proves we can 'do all things through Him who give me strength.' " Philippians 4:13.

"Heart gives us the courage to do extraordinary things with our ordinary lives, things that we never dreamed possible." I love this prayer of Micca's: "Lord, break my heart with the things that break Yours." As with the lion in Oz, Micca believed "I could do anything if I only had the nerve." These thoughts that we all have are somewhat contradictory because in the most scary situations, nerves (in the good sense) don't exist.

How do we face our fears with courage? How do we have courage when stiffened by fear? "Courage is not the absence of fear as you might think. Rather, it withstands fear. Courage means being brave in spite of fear or hard circumstances. In other words, you and I have to experience fear in order to be courageous." [my emphasis] Have you ever pondered that? I never thought it about it like that. We can relate it also to the idea that we can't acquire the character of patience without being in some trying times of having to wait. Some joke and say don't ever ask God for patience because He'll give you trials and make you wait. Maybe. But if we're going to have to endure, we might has well do it with the peace of patience.

When we realize God can do so much with so little, we'll be freed from our fears, nervousness, and inadequacies. If we give Him our heart and commit to be courageous, the world of opportunities will be vast. I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17

"We find our faith by doing it afraid." Read that again. Let it soak. "When one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear. Knowing what must be done does away with fear." Wow. That is so true yet I never verbalized it that way. When we are determined to be obedient and to follow God's call specifically for us, the fear fades because we know we are safe on His path and will be equipped with what we need.

"It's funny how fear always brings us back to faith." How very true. As a believer and follower of Christ, it is Him to whom we run (hopefully) when we are scared and consumed with fear. I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

Micca described her fear and terror of speaking at her first large church. She shared with her audience that night about becoming guardians to her teen nephew. She spoke of us all being orphans until we are adopted into God's family. Six girls from a girls home were there. Several people that night gave their lives to Christ, including three girls from the home. "I was humbled as I watched what God had done not just through me but in me."

I love to hear what others hear from God. This whisper in Micca's ear is no exception. It absolutely warms me to the depth of my heart. Listen. "My sweet child, I didn't need a big-name speaker to speak to this audience tonight, because I-Am-Big-Enough."

He doesn't need a big name anything....artist, writer, cook, teacher, speaker. He doesn't need a perfect-over-the-top mother, friend, cook, servant, housekeeper, daughter, wife. He only needs a willing and obedient servant. Got it girlfriend...He doesn't need you to be over-the-top in what you do or who you are. Just be obedient and serve Him, my friend.

Willing...At All Costs for Him,

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.


andi said...

I love how you phrased the "last chapter, last week, but not the last lesson!" We are always learning and in my case, often resistant to the teaching! :) Thanks for sharing your heart!

Pam said...

i've been feeling pretty beat up by fear lately and this was so good for me to read. thank you for sharing it with us.

Joyfulsister said...

Hi Paula,
It looks like you really went through a wonderful study!!!. When you have a chance please come over and enter my giveaway, and at the end of the giveaway post is a special award for all my sistahs.

Hugz Lorie

Robin's New Song said...

Isn't it freeing to have the revelation that God delights in showing Himself mighty among the weak? It gives me such hope! It's not about me, praise His Name...
I'll look forward to our blogging friendship (=

Tonja said...

Such wise words! And so true about bravery. I've always heard...IF GOD LEADS YOU TO IT...HE'LL LEAD YOU THROUGH IT! If he wants us to do something, or be involved in something, to teach, or speak,whatever...if it is from HIM...He will equip us with the strength, and peace of mind to do it! Great post!

Abba's Girl said...

Wonderful post..

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Oh, wow. I love this. Your are very eloquent and shared such a good word today!

June said...

Hi, I have just sent you the ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD.

Go to my blog leave a comment and get the instructions on the next step. Go to Raye Ann's blog for
the picture. I did not know how to post it.


Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit....I have been keeping up with you, but have behind on my comments since we returned from vacation. ...always love reading your blog......we have a new grandson arriving in less than 2 weeks...so we are so exciteed...

CathM said...

Thanks for sharing this... very apt... as I need divine courage for the week ahead :)

Laura said...

"Doing it afraid..."

Yes, that's where I've been in the past. Even this recent robbery sent me skidding back there momentarily. Fear is a terrible place to live.

Jeff is right though...we are so blessed. Trusting HIm is the only way to live.

I have enjoyed reading this book through your posts, Paula. I haven't been online much lately...just miss all my friends on here!

Know that I pray for you regularly!

Jeanies Heavenly Treasures said...

Sweet Pea,

Wasn't this such an incredible book? Gosh, I just didn't want it to end! I pray Micca writes another book! Come by sometime.
I love the way you designed you blog! So pretty!

God bless!