Category Archives: Courage

Courage

“Be strong and courageous,  do not be afraid or tremble at them, for  the LORD your God is the one who goes with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.”
~ Deuteronomy 31:6

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Christianity, Courage, Faith, God, Religion and Spirituality, Trusting God

The Grubby Book

This is a reblog of a post done by a fellow-writer residing in Australia. You can check his blog out here. Thanks Pieter!
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Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” ~ Psalm 91:1-2

In a previous vocation I had the privilege of officiating at the funerals of many older saints. Quite a few of these had gone through wartime experiences in Europe or Indonesia. They had been through the worst that humanity can inflict upon their brothers and sisters.

A Psalm that was often requested at their funerals was Psalm 91. It encapsulates both the horror of war and the beauty of God’s grace. These people were able to declare in life and in death, “The Lord is my refuge.” They had the confidence, in a bombing raid or in a Japanese prisoner  of war camp, that nothing could remove them from their place in the eternal family of God. Incidentally, it was this solid expression of  faith that was lived by the Moravians in the face of danger that impressed and impacted John Wesley so deeply a few centuries earlier.

One story I remember clearly: on a visit to an elderly white-haired saint, I noticed a small grubby book, in an otherwise immaculate bookcase. I commented on its incongruity. This elderly man, while holding his wife’s hand, told me its story. This was the Bible he kept in a tropical  Japanese prison camp. His wife and children were in a separate camp. He kept it closely wherever he went.It was his constant companion. He would have been severely punished, even killed, if he had been found with it. The worst moments were snap inspections. So when an inspection was called he quickly scratched a hole in the dirt and stood on the book. It was a precious memento that had pride of place in his bookcase. It was a reminder of God’s centrality in his and his family’s life. And he added with a wink, “I could always say I stood firmly on the Word of God.”

May we also dwell in the Most High by “standing” firmly on the Word of God.

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Filed under Bible, Courage, Faith, intimacy with the Lord, Trusting God

85-year-old Woman Beats Back a Moose

Yesterday I read about an 85-year-old Alaska woman who beat back a moose that had been stomping on her 82-year-0ld husband.

George Murphy and his wife Dorothea Taylor were taking their dogs, Fellar and Tut, out for some exercise near the Willow Airport where George is a well-known bush pilot. Dorothea was waiting in the truck to escape the sub-zero temperatures while George walked the dogs.

As the three were headed back to the truck George spotted the moose who took off after him. Unable to make it back to the truck George dove into the deep snow but it did little to deter the moose or keep George from suffering seven broken ribs!

Taylor, 5 feet tall and 97 pounds, heard the dogs barking and jumped out to investigate. Not seeing George in the snow, she thought the moose was attacking the dogs. When she ran toward the animals, the moose turned and came at her.

Taylor hurried back to the truck, grabbed a grain shovel, and then made a bee line for the moose. Swinging mostly at the animal’s rump, she whacked it at least once on the head.

“When it turned and started to go off slowly, I hit it with everything I had,” she said.

The younger dog, Tut, then chased the moose away.

Chances are slim that you or I will have to fend off a moose any time soon, but we have plenty of opportunity every day to be courageous in living out our faith.

Whether it’s speaking up to share the gospel or forgiving someone who has done us wrong, God’s Spirit can empower us to live beyond our own abilities.

Whatever it is you face today, remember the words of Joshua:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Courage, Trusting God

Legacy

Memorial Day is set aside as a special time to recognize and honor those who have given their very life in defense of our freedom. A freedom we should never take for granted.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Navy SEAL Adam Brown and his story as told in Fearless. If you missed that post you can read it here, but I want to share with you the impact it had on the man who wrote about Adam.

Despite the impact and magnitude of the bin Laden mission, Adam’s story stands on its own. Throughout his life he inspired scores of people, and his story has continued to change the lives of many—including mine.

He’s reminded me to appreciate every moment with my family, to be goofy rather than grumpy, to get back up no matter how hard I might get slapped down, to sometimes buy my children a cupcake when I pick up coffee in the morning but to call it a muffin “because,” as Adam would tell Savannah, “as long as you call them muffins, they’re okay to eat for breakfast.” And though I hadn’t opened a Bible in more than twenty-five years, his faith encouraged me to question my own questioning about religion.
~ Excerpted from Fearless by Eric Blehm

Adam Brown’s life and legacy could be summed up with one word: Fearless

What one word do you want people to use when describing your life and your legacy once your story on this side of the grave is complete?

Are you living living that kind of life?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Commitment, Courage, Determination, Eternity, Faith, influence with the world, Memorial Day, Sacrifice

Fearless: The Adam Brown Story

I’ve read my share of inspirational stories, but none compares to that of Adam Brown – a SEAL Team SIX Operator. From hometown hero… to drug addict doing jail time… to Navy SEAL, it’s a story of triumph second to none.

Fearless is a chronicle of heroism and humanity at its best. Adam Brown was a man of extremes, whose courage and determination was fueled by faith, family, and the love of a woman.

It’s about a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses and persevered to reach the top-tier of the US military. Always the first to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, Adam’s  final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.

“As a rule, we don’t endorse books or movies or anything regarding the command where I work, and Adam Brown worked, but as the author writes in Fearless, ‘you have to know the rules, so you know when to bend or break them.’ This is one of those times. Read this book. Period. It succeeds where all the others have failed.” ~ Anonymous SEAL Team SIX Operator

“Fearless is a clear and deeply honest portrait of an authentic American man who lived and loved with an intrepid personal velocity. For most of us, the failures and disappointments in life take their toll. Not for Adam Brown. He vanquished all life’s heartbreaks with faith, humility, and hard work.”
~ Kurt Johnstad, screenwriter, Act of Valor and 300

Fearless will hit bookshelves next week but I got the chance to read a prerelease copy and had trouble putting it down. I laughed… I cried… I was inspired to live life to the fullest.

To learn more or to order the book go here.
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Commitment, Courage, Desire, Determination, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Loyalty, Sacrifice, Teamwork

Our need for honest feedback

The Last Czar is a biography about the life of Czar Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia. While his generals were brutally suppressing dissent, they told him civil unrest was the result of foreign influence and assured him his own people loved him.

The Czar didn’t have any other source of information so was completely unaware that his generals were not being truthful with him. Not a good position to be in.

When the Communists took over, he was caught by surprise and forced to abdicate. Sadly, the Bolsheviks eventually executed him and his entire family. It is a sad and tragic story.

Few of us are czars, but the same lack of honest feedback can be devastating. We need truth tellers around us in two critical areas.

The first area is horizontal and pertains to our relationships with people. We fill the role of friend, spouse, son or daughter, parent, employee or boss, coach or teammate.

The second area is vertical and pertains to our relationship with God. Our core identity is that of being a child of our Creator; embracing a new identity in Christ.

Maybe it’s because I hit 50 last year or maybe it’s because I have two grown sons living far from home, but I’ve been reflecting more and more on what got my attention in the last 30 years. Relationships are what make our lives rich and we all need feedback to make them as strong as possible.

The area of our relationship with God is perhaps even more critical. All of us live with a gap between what we profess or live outwardly and what is really going on in our heart. For some, this gap is small but for others the gap is rather large.

The danger is that this largely invisible gap is easy to conceal because we tend to focus on managing our external behavior with a highly trained filter. Dress nice, smile and be nice around church friends, drop some money in the offering plate and help out occasionally.

All those things are good but they don’t always accurately reflect what is going on beneath the surface. We need traveling companions who will ask us the hard questions and give us honest feedback.

“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” ~ Proverbs 27:17

God’s design to make us more like Jesus happens best when we journey together and engage in honest feedback.

Who are your traveling companions?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Accountability, Authenticity, Children of God, Courage, Discipleship, Fellowship, Friendship, God, God's Will, Heart, intimacy with the Lord, Morphing, Relationship with God, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Truth

Bonhoeffer’s prayer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, a participant in the German resistance movement against Nazism and a founding member of the Confessing Church. He was involved in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and executed by hanging in April 1945, 23 days before the Nazis’ surrender. His view of Christianity’s role in the secular world has become very influential.

Bonhoeffer wrote the prayer below while incarcerated in a Nazi prison, uncertain of what his future would hold.

MORNING PRAYER
O God, early in the morning I cry to you. Help me to pray And to concentrate my thoughts on you: I cannot do this alone. In me there is darkness, but with you there is light; I am lonely, but you do not leave me; I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help; I am restless, but with you there is peace. In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience; I do not understand your ways, but you know the way for me… Restore me to liberty, and enable me to live now, that I may answer before you and before me. Lord, whatever this day may bring, Your name be praised.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It’s a new day and most of us are likely enjoying freedom outside the walls of a prison. We may be facing a variety of events and issues; some big and some small; some tough and some easy. But few of us are facing execution.

In the midst of his darkness, Bonhoeffer asked God for the liberty and strength to live in such a way that he could one day stand before God unashamed.

When we pray today, what will we ask of God?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Courage, God, Humility, Inspiration, Persecution, Prayer, Trusting God