Saturday, May 21, 2011

Good Courage...

What is courage? According to, courage is the quality of mind and spirit that allows an individual to face difficult situations, danger, or pain with little or no fear. For several years, I believed courage was the ability to run into a crowd of men, who hated me while swinging my fist or standing in front of an "enemy" with a gun daring them to shoot me; however, these types of behaviors are not courageous at all, they are actually acts of immaturity and foolishness. What then is it that makes an action courageous? Well thanks for asking, that is a very good question, and it is a question that I will help you to answer.

Unless you are a member a local police department, a member of the military, or a professional fighter, any act of violence must be considered nothing more than disorderly conduct and foolishness. Understandingly, we as individuals have the right to defend ourselves, our families and friends, and our property, but outside of these specific areas, violence is simply foolish and should be avoided whenever possible. Now that we have established what courage is not, we must now figure out what the word courage really means. The word courage is simply used to describe an act of bravery and determination and the willingness to face the unknown.

As a young man I had made several mistakes, some of which I was convinced I just couldn't overcome. The years of senseless violence and bad attitudes had taken a toll on me and the thought of ever becoming a useful member of society had just seemed so far away. For several years I had a dream of leaving the lifestyle I was living, attending school, and becoming a success; however, I had always succumbed to the fear of failure and the negative environment and people around me. I can even recall one of the members of my crew telling me that God will never Love me because I had done so many things wrong and that I was destined for hell; understanding, it was so hard to believe in myself when someone who claims to love me told me that God didn't love me, I felt just so low, as though I was the scum of the earth. Fear of the unknown had literally gripped me and held me bound; accepting such nonsense as fact, I never had the courage to push through the darkness in search of the light, and my life was in perpetual ruins.

However, one day, a good friend of mine asked me a question, he said “do you trust me with your life?" after answering yes, he invited me to church. After attending a few services, neither often nor enthusiastically, I slowly began to realize that there was more to life than just existing. Whether an individual chooses to believe in God or not, he or she has to arrive at a point in which there is a realization that life is bigger than the small box in which they reside spiritually, emotionally, and often physically. The stress of life was working against me, I wanted to believe there was something better; however, I was afraid, what if I had truly done so many bad things that I could not be forgiven? Again the fear of the unknown had gripped me, the agony of defeat ripped me to the core of my very existence, until one day, I reached an epiphany, and this was the verse that had caused me to realize that life is Bigger than I could ever imagine.

 Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Be strong and fear not, be of good courage, God is with you! These are the words that began to ring through me heart, mind, body, and soul, over and over again, I simply could not grab hold of the fact that God does not want me to fear failure; he wants me to face it knowing he is with me.

Honestly, my life didn't undergo some sort of amazingly drastic transformation; however, things did slowly begin to change for the better, and I was able to see much more clearly. Although at this point, I had not completely grasped everything that God had for me, I did begin to visualize a better future for myself and my family. The fear of the unknown had begun to slowly dissipate while the Love of God began to grow and flourish in my life. Fear not and be of good courage is an extremely large part of my life today as well; although I have been walking with God for quite a while now, there are still those times in which I become gripped with fear and I must remember God has instructed me to be courageous and bold. Fear is the enemy of your success, fear tells you that you cannot or you will not; however, courage is the exact opposite, and through the courage that I have been granted, I stand boldly claiming that you too can and will be a success.

Fear Not and be of Good Courage, Press Through the Darkness, Seek Out the Light...

This message is intended to encourage you to set goals and achieve them, to break through to the other side! If there is anything holding you back, break through it now, if you need help, there is someone available to help you. Although my goal is to ultimately encourage everyone to give God a chance, I am determined to help anyone and everyone realize their goals in life whether they are a believer or not, so please do not hesitate to contact me here, I am available anytime.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Substance.....

Have you ever felt down and out? Or maybe stuck in a rut that you just could not get motivated to get out of? Well then welcome to the human experience here on earth. Over the past four to five weeks, I myself was stuck in such a rut, the pressures of this world had begun to engulf me and although I tried to fight it, I eventually succumbed to the overwhelming pressure. As a result of the pressure, my grades began to falter; my personal life became stressed and although I physically participated in regular events at church and at home, spiritually and emotionally, I was feeling completely defeated.
Overcoming this difficult time in my life was not easy, the more I pressed forward, the more pressure was placed on my shoulders, at least this is the way that I felt at the time. Daily task such as completing homework assignments, reading my bible, or even cleaning my room had simply become unbearable and my life began to spiral terribly out of control. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Well it should if you are human, life’s daily pressures have caused even the strongest of men to slip, fall, or question the meaning of life. King David of Israel made several mistakes and Peter denied Jesus three times just as Jesus had stated. Need more examples? Charlie Sheen is a very large example of someone who has succumbed to the pressures of life; however, the subject of this post is not to discuss who buckled under the pressure or why, the point is to discuss getting back up, standing on your own two feet, and pressing forward towards the finish line.
As a Christian, I constantly lean on my faith in God to get me through rough and difficult times; however, simply stating that I have faith is not enough, I must act on that faith.  Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for with the evidence of things not seen (KJV) or in simpler words Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (TNIV) says this about faith; faith is the confidence or trust in a person or thing or a belief that may not be based on proof. No matter which view point is taken, or how we personally feel about the word faith, faith is simply the belief in something that at the time may not be substantiated in the physical form. That being stated, do you have faith? Do you really have faith in yourself? Do you feel like the sky isn’t the limit because you are shooting for the stars? Or do you just give up, give in, and succumb to the pressure.
What is faith, and what does it mean to us? Well that is an excellent question; perhaps we can discuss it in simple terms and by using examples. One example of faith is the trust we place in a common household chair; although we may not be carpenters, we are quite sure that when we sit in a chair, it will support our weight. Although we have no knowledge of how the chair was constructed or how it will react under the weight of our body, the faith we have in the chair supersedes any fear that may be present and we ultimately sit down in the chair KNOWING that it will support our weight. Faith is the substance of our hopes and dreams, and through faith, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish, we must simply have faith. Life is so much larger than the small box in which we live in, we go throughout our daily lives without stepping outside of our boxes, and whenever we do step outside of the box, we quickly jump back into the box due to fear. However, through faith, we can break out of these boxes and truly begin to live. Fear forced me back into the box, a fear of algebra forced me to perform poorly in both classes when all I actually needed to do was to stand fast and break through the wall of fear KNOWING that I will succeed because I have FAITH; you too can break through the wall of fear, or whatever has you bound, with FAITH.