Courage & Strength

It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubts.

It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to share a friend’s pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.

It takes strength to hide your own pain,
It takes courage to show it and deal with it.

It takes strength to stand guard,
It takes courage to let down your guard.

It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.

It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.

It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on a friend.

It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to beloved.

It takes strength to live,
It takes courage to survive.

Ps 27:14 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

Ps 31:24 “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”

What’s Holding You Back?

Have you ever met someone who (even for a moment) gave you a different perspective on life?

On a Sunday morning, I saw something very interesting as I went to do my grocery shopping. To get to my green grocer, I have to cross a bridge that goes over railway tracks. The bridge is pretty high. A steep set of steps has to be climbed, then the bridge plateaus, followed by coming down another set of steps. On my way back from the green grocer, I saw an elderly gentleman running up the steps. He was wearing white runners, black shorts, and a dark blue polo shirt with horizontal white stripes. After watching him run up the steps so fast, I thought that he must be in a rush.

Before I knew it, he had crossed the bridge, and then he ran back to where he started. To my surprise, he did not stop. All he did was turn around, and then go up and down the bridge again. He was not struggling, and seemed to enjoy going up and down the bridge. Being a fitness fanatic myself, I admired his ability to cross the bridge so quickly. My curiosity got the better of me, and I approached him for a quick chat.

“Excuse me sir. Are you training for an event?” I inquired.

He stopped and smiled. “No, not training for an event. Well, I am training for life” he said with a broad smile on his face as sweat covered his brow.

I told him that I admired his level of fitness, and that I hoped to be as fit as he is when I get to his age.

He said that everyone has a choice about what they do with their life. “I am no different” he added.

Further intrigued, I asked “What drives you to maintain your fitness?”

That is when he opened up to me.

“I used to be a cyclist” he replied. “Competing in cycling events is what I loved and enjoyed.”

Then he told me about why he stopped cycling. While cycling one day, he was hit by a car. Initially, it was thought that he may never walk again. He refused to believe that.

“Oh by the way, my name is Arthur. What is your name young man?” he asked.

I put my right hand forward to shake his hand, and told him my name. Arthur continued his story, and said that he wanted to regain his fitness. So, he was determined not to let the accident be a setback. His determination paid off, and he was back on his feet again. His passion for life and for fitness is what makes him cross that bridge multiple times. It is all part of his exercise regime, which he said he would never take for granted.

He further added “Yes, you will have obstacles in life.” Followed by something which really empowered me, “Why let that hold you back?”

Totally blown away by his story, I told him that it was an honor to meet a role model like him. I thanked him for the chat, shook his hand, and let him continue with his exercise. He thanked me for taking interest in his story and for having a chat with him. As I walked away, my admiration for him grew even more. I kept thinking about what a warrior he is, and how people like him empower others to make the most out of life.

There are many Arthur’s out there in the world. You just have to meet them.

After reading this story, my questions to you are:

* Which bridge will you cross in order to live with passion and purpose? It does not have to be a physical bridge. It may be an obstacle or hurdle in life which you must overcome.

* Will you allow setbacks to hold you back? Or will you have a mental resolve like Arthur has, and let your determination drive you forward no matter what lies ahead?

* What types of decisions will you make that will allow you to get through/around anything in front of you which may have the capacity to hold you back?

* What will it mean to you if you formed an attitude like Arthur’s and you became an unstoppable force in your life?

Arthur is a prime example of a human being whose determination outweighed any setbacks or obstacles that life threw at him. Sometimes we take our abilities for granted. We may feel that we are just the average person, and there is nothing special about us. The next time you feel that you are “ordinary”, please look deep inside and search for that unstoppable character which is waiting to make an impact on the world.

Quote: “There is an entire world out there waiting for you to bring out your best. Don’t keep them waiting.” – Eric Thomas

I hope I have given you a simple insight into overcoming obstacles and living with passion and purpose.

1 Tim 6:12Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

2 Tim 4:7I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: …

Heb 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  …”

Message Light

Seeing one of her neighbor’s children playing alone, a woman asked him where his brother was. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘he’s in the house playing a duet. I finished first.’

Too many people find themselves playing a duet alone. Too many people are lonely. They rise alone in the morning, they eat meals alone, they watch television alone and retire alone in the evening. They have too few friends and family to share their lives with. It feels as if they should be playing a duet or an ensemble and everyone else finished first. They are more than alone; they are lonely.

‘I don’t have an answering machine,’ one man said.

‘I live alone, and I’m sometimes told that I’ve missed calls when I’ve been out. You should really get an answering machine,’ my friends tell me, but I won’t. I don’t want to come home to find the message light not blinking. I don’t want to know with such certainty that no one tried to get in touch. It’s worth missing a message or two to avoid that.’

A folktale tells of a monarch long ago who had twin sons. There was some confusion about which one was born first. As they grew to young manhood, the king sought a fair way to designate one of them as crown prince.

Calling them to his council chamber one day, he said, ‘My sons, the day will come when one of you must succeed me as king. The burdens of sovereignty are very heavy. To find out which of you is better able to bear them cheerfully, I am sending you together to a far corner of the kingdom. One of my advisors there will place equal burdens on your shoulders. My crown will one day go to the one who first returns bearing his burden like a king should.’

In a spirit of friendly competition, the brothers set out together. Soon they overtook a frail and aged woman struggling under a heavy weight. One of the boys suggested that they stop to help her. The other protested: ‘We have a burden of our own to worry about. Let us be on our way.’

So the second son hurried on while the other stayed behind to help the woman with her load. On his journey to the kingdom’s edge, the same young man found others who needed help. A sightless man who needed assistance home; a lost child whom he carried back to her worried parents; a farmer whose wagon needed a strong shoulder to push it out of the mud.

Eventually he did reach his father’s advisor, where he secured his own burden and started home with it safely on his shoulders. When he arrived back at the palace, his brother met him at the gate and greeted him with dismay. ‘I don’t understand,’ the brother said, ‘I told Father the burden was too heavy to carry. How did you manage it alone?’

The future king replied thoughtfully, ‘I suppose when I helped others carry their burdens, I found the strength to carry my own.’

Isn’t that the secret of living with loneliness? When we find others who need help with their burdens, we also find the strength to carry our own!

Get busy helping others, even if it is nothing more than making a phone call or writing an encouraging note, and you’ll find that your burden of loneliness will become easier and easier to manage. And soon you’ll be too happy and busy to even notice if the message light is blinking.

In Closing:

These are uncertain times. Many are having their own little war within. Others are trying to live free in an over-taxed country with new and sometimes unfair rules. The playing field is not equal for some. This is where you come in. If we don’t stand with each other against a common (domestic threat) then wherein is our freedom? The message light is in fact blinking….the message is for you; and someone needs your help. Get busy. Be there- if you’re not part of the solution, you are probably causing the problem. If you can’t shoot, carry bullets (figuratively)- but do something for someone today; do something for the Lord.

 

Like the Sunflower

*Shared and modified by Moraldiplomat

‘I find it humorous sometimes that even the most mundane occurrences can have an impact on our awareness.

My wife, daughter, and I moved into our home nine years ago and we spent a lot of time and energy in the yard to get it looking like it does today. We live on a corner, higher than street level, and the entire side of the yard is encased by a professionally built rock wall. The front of the house though is another story because instead of a wall along the sidewalk the rocks appear to be just thrown up onto the dirt as if someone were in a hurry to finish.

We did the best we could with what we had to work with and called this area our ‘rock garden’. Whenever we had left over flowers or plants, Denise or I would stick them out front, just to bring some color to the area.

I still do all of my own yard work, even the dreaded weed-pulling. After putting on my knee pads I assume the position to clear the yard of weeds, even in the rock garden.

Last summer I had reached the end of the rock garden and found a tiny little plant that I could not immediately identify. I knew I didn’t plant it and Denise claimed that she didn’t either. We decided to let it continue growing until we could figure out what it was.

Weeks passed and as I made my way back to the mystery plant, it appeared to be a Sunflower. It was spindly looking with a tall skinny stalk and only one head on it. I decided to baby it along and weed around it. As I pulled rocks from the area to get to the weeds, I noticed something unusual. The Sunflower had not started where I saw the stalk begin. It actually had begun under a big rock and grown under and around it to reach the sun.

That’s when I realized that if a tiny little Sunflower didn’t let a big rock stand in its way of developing, we too have the capability of doing the same thing. Once our environment begins to see that we believe in ourselves like that little Sunflower, we can attain the same nourishment and nurturing as well.

First, we need to believe in God knowing we have the capabilities in us to walk in His blessings regardless of the conditions of the world around us. Like the Sunflower, it knew it had the capability to overcome its obstacle because it is aware of its Creator and had faith it would succeed.

Stand tall like the Sunflower and be proud of who and what you are and the environment will begin to support you. You will find a way to go under or around your big obstacle in order to reach an expected end (or beginning rather; or for some, a continuance).’

Matthew 6 :28-30 “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

In Spite of the Odds

*Shared Story

**’Dedicated to all the courageous Dad’s and families in the world.’

Early in 2003 Fred Evans fell and broke his hip. Not unusual for a man of 88. However, it was the events over the next few weeks that showed the world what this man was made of.

The next day he had an operation which turned out to be a total hip replacement.

Within a few days he was sent to a Rehabilitation Hospital, with all the usual hopes for a complete recovery for a man of his age and situation: ‘absolutely none,’ said the medical experts and nursing staff!

Funny about that, absolutely no hope at all.

My first conversation with Dad was a few days after his admittance to the Rehab Hospital in Sydney.

‘A bit of pain Son,’ he tells me … ‘but I’ll be okay.’

‘See all of these other old blokes in here, most of them have been in here for between 3 and 6 months, with no hope of ever going home.’

‘”No way will I end up like them!’

‘I will go home to your Mom within the next few weeks!’

Because of the distance between Newcastle and his Rehab Hospital, I didn’t get to see him every day, but phoned regularly. I got to see him each weekend.

On my next visit I stopped at reception on the way to his ward. The duty nurse gave me a ‘rave review’ of his progress, saying that they didn’t believe what they were seeing. ‘Your Father is a walking miracle,’ I was told.

As I approached Dad’s bed I saw him getting something from the other side of his bed as he was swinging himself into a position to get up and spend some time with me. Walking sticks.

‘Thanks for coming in to see me Son, it’s good to see you, come for a slow walk with me,’ he said.

He proudly assured me that he was okay to do it on his own, but it would be nice if I were right there next to him as we ‘walked.’ Sure enough, he had been so determined to get home to his wife of 62 years, he had been training hard every day!

So we went for a stroll around the corridors of his prison, and was he proud of his ability to conquer the odds? You bet he was!

Only 3 weeks after being admitted to that ‘depressing place,’ he walked out without any assistance from anyone. Just as I had been told – a walking miracle.

He only had one motive, but a very powerful one. To get home to his beautiful wife of 62 years, my Mom Margaret … he missed her. His determination, courage, and incredible love and devotion towards my Mother (after all that time together) was an inspiration to me that can’t be overstated. I thank him for that!

Fred Evans was a gentle caring man, with the courage and inner strength of a lion, and the heart of a Saint.

I had only recently grown to appreciate that I was so lucky to have such a mentor, and to realize that I was absolutely blessed to have had that experience. It wasn’t too late though. I got to tell him how much he meant to me, and to thank him for being who he was, and to share some amazing moments with him towards the end of his humble, quietly-lived life.

Over the next few months his fate occurred- common medical complications took him from us, but he left us all with memories of what it’s like to spend some time with someone special. Thanks Dad.

May this inspire you to overcome some form of adversity in your own life by showing some courage – despite the odds.

Credit: Philip E.
This is a true story. Thanks Philip for sharing.

Rev 3:2 “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

 

Nothing You Cannot Do

Philippians 4:13

 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

King James Version (KJV)

There’s nothing to fear, you’re as good as the best.
As strong as the mightiest, too.
You can win in every battle or test.
For there’s no one just like you.

There’s only one you in the world today.
So nobody else, you see.
Can do your work in as fine a way.
You’re the only you there’ll be.

So face the world, and all life is yours.
To conquer and love and live.
And you’ll find the happiness that endures.
In just the measure you give.

There’s nothing too good for you to possess.
Nor heights where you cannot go.
Your power is more than belief or guess.
It is something you have to know.

There is nothing to fear, you can and you will.
For you are the invincible you.
Set your foot on the highest hill.
There’s nothing you cannot do.

As a Man Thinks

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The following are somethings I had to relearn; or remember again. Hope it helps you too.” –Moraldiplomat

 

‘If you want to get somewhere, you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up.

The secret of life isn’t what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you.

Help other people to cope with their problems and your own will be easier to cope with (Luke 6:35,38).

Never use the word impossible seriously again. Toss it into the verbal wastebasket.

Trusting in God is the first secret of success. So believe in and trust the Lord (Mark 11:22).

Stand up to your obstacles speaking against them; and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have (Matt 21:21).

Joy increases as you give it, and diminishes as you try to keep it for yourself. In giving it, you will accumulate a deposit of joy greater than you ever believed possible (Phil 2:4 ).

How you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself – so always think positively.

Go at life with abandon; give it all you’ve got. And life will give all it has to you. God will supply the need. Faith without works is dead; so do something to put with your faith and it will come to pass (Mt 6:33).

Rom 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”