Why is Courage So Uncommon?
by Rick Warren
“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.” Acts 18:9b (NIV)
If ever there was a message you need in today’s culture, it’s this: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent” (Acts 18:9b NIV). In a world full of ideas and beliefs that go against God’s Word, God wants you to have an uncommon courage and stand up for what you know is true and right. Everyone else is speaking up and telling you their worldview every day. Why shouldn’t you stand up for what you believe?
To stand courageously, you have to know what God says is the truth and what the world believes. This is called a worldview — what you base your beliefs on. Every person uses a different filter through which they see and understand the world. We may all be looking at the same event, but we will see it differently because of our conflicting worldviews.
Your worldview includes how you see God, yourself, others, the past, present, and future, money, time, good and evil. It influences everything in your life. Every time you make a decision, you access the worldview database in your mind and decide that, because you believe this, this is what you’re going to do. Your worldview influences every choice you make.
Here’s the problem: You are profoundly influenced by the worldviews of others. Every time you have a conversation, a worldview is being communicated. You are influenced by the worldviews of your parents, friends, an advertisement, or a newspaper article. Nothing is fair and balanced, because everyone has a worldview.
It is absolutely crucial, then, that you base your worldview on God’s Word, which is the only truth.
In a national survey, 62 percent of Americans claimed they are “deeply spiritual.” When asked how that spirituality affects their decision making, 31 percent said they make moral choices based on “what feels right and comfortable,” 18 percent on “whatever is best for me,” 14 percent on “whatever causes the least conflict with others,” and only 16 percent on “what God’s Word says.”
What does that mean? It means most Christians have a non-Christian worldview. You may be a Christian and headed for Heaven, but you can also have a non-Christian worldview because you’ve based it on what you’ve learned from the world and not from the Word.
Why is it important to stand up and speak the truth? Matthew 10:32 says, “Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you?” (MSG)
God is telling you to make a stand for his truth. Taking that kind of stand requires an uncommon courage that is only available through the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
Talk It Over
What worldview do you think people would say that you have? How do your everyday words and actions reflect that response?
In what ways did your worldview affect decisions you made today?
How well are you growing in biblical knowledge so that you can take a stand for God’s truth?
In Ephesians 5, Paul writes about God’s plan for husbands and wives when it comes to their roles in marriage. To wives, Paul writes, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). To husbands, Paul writes, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25).
God has designed the perfect marriage to include a sacrificial husband and a submissive wife. Sometimes we joke about these things, but this really is God’s plan for marriage. And I want you to know it’s a perfect plan.
Why? One reason is because conforming to these roles helps release the potential in our spouse. Neither person is taken advantage of, and both sides win. God has designed marriage to be the perfect win-win situation.
When you do marriage God’s way, everyone reaches his or her own potential. The Bible says in Ephesians 5:29 that men are to nourish and cherish our wives as we would our own bodies. Men know how to take care of ourselves. What if a husband began meeting his wife’s needs with the same attention and care he gives to meeting his own needs? This is what would happen: she would flourish.
A good husband is like a greenhouse. He creates an environment for his wife to be fed and protected, so regardless of what is happening in the outside world, she is secure at home. She is praised and encouraged there. She is loved. Her needs are being met there. She blooms.
A good wife is like her husband’s cheerleader. In submitting to him, she provides him the honor and respect that he needs. Our culture views a submissive woman as having turned into a doormat—someone who gets stepped on. But I think of it more along the lines of honor. A submissive wife honors her husband through praise.
Psalm 100:4 says we enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and praise. God doesn’t let negative people into his presence. God is attracted to praise, and that’s something a wife can provide her husband.
Is it blind praise, though? Not necessarily. Cheerleaders know how to convict failing athletes in a positive way. How many times, when a football team is getting clobbered, do you hear the cheerleaders yelling, perkily, about defense? DEFENSE! DEFENSE! HOLD THAT LINE!
They are saying something negative—you’d better shape up, guys —but in a positive way. And the guys will do anything for them. They love the attention, even if it’s telling them to improve something. The praise of a woman puts oxygen in the room for men.
Women, when your husband does things you don’t like, find a way to let him know…but in a positive way. Be his cheerleader.
Men, be her greenhouse. Protect her and nourish her. When husbands and wives learn to enact these roles, the result is a godly marriage. Both become what God wants them to be, and no one is the victim.
Blessings, Jimmy Evans
Friday, February 28, 2014
The Person God Uses
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 1
In God’s order there is work for everyone to do. He doesn’t call many to be a “Billy Graham or a Mother Teresa,” but he does call all of us to be faithful in using the gifts and abilities he has given to us. In case we don’t feel worthy to be of much use to God, it can help to look at the frailties of many of God’s servants in the Bible.
Somebody has pointed out that: “Moses stuttered. David’s armor didn’t fit. John Mark was rejected by Paul. Hosea’s wife was a prostitute. Amos’s only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning. Jacob was a liar. David had an affair. Solomon was too rich. Abraham was too old. David was too young. Timothy had ulcers. Peter was afraid of death.
“Lazarus was dead. John was self-righteous. Jesus was too poor. Naomi was a widow. Paul was a murderer. So was Moses. Jonah ran from God. Miriam was a gossip. Gideon and Thomas both doubted. Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal. Elijah was burned out. John the Baptist was a loudmouth. Martha was a worry-wart. Samson had long hair. Noah got drunk. Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse? So did Peter as did Paul.”
True, we all have areas of weakness and have experienced failure at some level, but God will still use every one who makes him or herself available to God. So let’s be sure we are serving God by faithfully using the gifts and talents he has given to each of us. It’s a great privilege and a great opportunity—plus it has eternal rewards.
Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please give me the want-to-be what You want me to be and the want-to-do what You want me to do using the gifts and abilities You have given to me—and help me to love and serve You faithfully all the days of my life. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen.”
1. 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
Today while taking care of a daily need, I heard something I could have lowered my standard of living to answer them, but I chose not to do that. I chose to clean out some things, fix a more nutritious meal and a make ahead dish too. I supposedly missed the Bible study, but I was deep into my own Bible study instead, so in truth I missed nothing of the sort.
“Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” Matthew 12:34b (NLT)
A problem with anger isn’t going to be solved by a trip to the doctor or an episode of “Dr. Phil” or a self-help book. The real secret to managing anger is God’s power to change you on the inside. Romans 15:5 says, “May the patience and encouragement that come from God allow you to live in harmony with each other the way Christ Jesus wants” (NCV).
How does God help you with your bad habit of anger? He goes straight to the heart of the problem, which is a problem in the heart. Anger doesn’t start in your behavior, your background, or your feelings. It starts in the heart.
The Bible says, “Whatever is in your heart determines what you say” (Matthew 12:34b NLT). Our mouths just betray what we’re really like inside. Sometimes I hear people say something really mean or unkind and then they say, “Oh, I don’t know what got into me. That’s not like me.”
Oh, yes it is! Your mouth just reveals what’s in your heart. Someone’s harsh tongue reveals an angry heart. When you meet somebody with a negative tongue, you know he’s got a fearful heart. When someone has a boasting tongue, it reveals an insecure heart. Someone’s judgmental tongue just exposes a guilty heart. Somebody with a filthy tongue has an impure heart.
On the other hand, if you find somebody who’s always encouraging others, he has a happy heart. If he’s always speaking in a gentle way, you know he’s got a loving heart. If he’s able to control his words, you know he’s got a peaceful heart.
Are you satisfied with the words that naturally come out of your mouth? If not, then you need a heart transplant. You need a new heart! David says in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (NIV).
If your heart is crying out inside, it’s because you haven’t ever fully received the warmth and security of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus can replace a hurting heart with his love. He cares about your pain, and he will help you heal so that your words give life and reveal the hope you have in Christ.
Talk It Over
What kind of speech comes most easily for you? How do you want your words to affect other people? What do you need to change for that to happen? Think about the people in your life who are natural encouragers. What can you learn from them?
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Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.
Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.
Don’t judge folks by their relatives.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest trouble maker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.
If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.
Most times, it just gets down to common sense.
~ Michael Traveler, author of Michael Traveler, author of Postcards from the Backroads.
God’s plan for marriage is found in Ephesians 5. This is the most revelatory text in the Bible about marriage and the roles of husbands and wives. But I’ve found that, while most people like what it has to say about their spouses, they don’t necessarily like what it says about them.
Here’s the text. To wives, Paul writes this: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). To husbands, Paul writes “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25).
Every woman loves the idea of having a sacrificial, sensitive husband who nourishes and cherishes her. And men? If a man knows one scripture in the Bible, he knows the one about submission. We might joke about sensitive men and submissive wives, but I want you to know that this is God’s plan for marriage. It’s perfect.
Why? One reason is because it makes us more attractive to our spouse.
Submission, for a woman, is about respect and honor. It’s not about domination. It’s not about being mousy or being a doormat. But it is about showing gentleness and a godly spirit instead of aggression or negativity. The Bible says a gentle and quiet spirit is precious and attractive in the sight of God.
It’s also attractive to men. The number-one need that a man has is the need to be honored. Submission by respecting and honoring your husband gives a woman the key to a man’s heart.
Likewise, the number-one need for women is security. For husbands, loving their wives with a Christlike love means being committed to meeting her needs and making her feel secure.
One way to do this—and this is what Paul mentions in Eph. 5:25—is to love her sacrificially. A man who sacrifices for his wife and serves her becomes much more attractive to her. God wired women to respond that way. Not based on exterior appearance, but based on how we help around the house or spend time with the kids.
When we do these things, we are not just fulfilling the marital roles God has for us, but we are making ourselves more attractive to our spouse. Any man will not be attracted to a dishonoring woman. Any woman will not be attracted to a self-interested man.
That attraction isn’t just physical or sexual, either. When we fulfill the roles in Ephesians 5, we become more willing to open our hearts to each other. We experience deeper intimacy. We move forward along the path to a strong, godly, indestructible marriage.
Blessings, Jimmy Evans
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”
The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment f or
She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truely recycled.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.
But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.
We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn’t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.
But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?
Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person.