Thursday, April 30, 2009

Laurie, from Women Taking a Stand, is hosting Thankful Thursday this week. The topic is courage.

The Power of Courage
Courageous is one of the last things I would consider myself to be; however, looking back over my life I can see how courage was modeled to me and how it took its form in my life throughout the years.

I have overcome so much, not by my own strength but by Christ's. Just when I thought fear would override any courage I could possibly muster up, God gave me sufficient courage for the need to be faced.

David implored us to take courage in one of the Psalms that he wrote.

Look at the Hebrew word for the phrase be of good courage. Chazaq means:

1) to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute, be sore
a) (Qal)
1) to be strong, grow strong
a) to prevail, prevail upon
b) to be firm, be caught fast, be secure
c) to press, be urgent
d) to grow stout, grow rigid, grow hard (bad sense)
e) to be severe, be grievous
2) to strengthen
b) (Piel)
1) to make strong
2) to restore to strength, give strength
3) to strengthen, sustain, encourage
4) to make strong, make bold, encourage
5) to make firm
6) to make rigid, make hard
c) (Hiphil)
1) to make strong, strengthen
2) to make firm
3) to display strength
4) to make severe
5) to support
6) to repair
7) to prevail, prevail upon
8) to have or take or keep hold of, retain, hold up, sustain, support
9) to hold, contain
d) (Hithpael)
1) to strengthen oneself
2) to put forth strength, use one's strength
3) to withstand
4) to hold strongly with

I went through each of these definitions and added in Christ to them. Oh, what power is there!

I'm so thankful that because of the courage God has given me that I can count on God to strengthen my heart. The Hebrew word for strengthen is 'amats. It means:

1) to be strong, alert, courageous, brave, stout, bold, solid, hard
a) (Qal) to be strong, brave, bold
b) (Piel) to strengthen, secure (for oneself), harden (heart), make firm, make obstinate, assure
c) (Hithpael) to be determined, to make oneself alert, strengthen oneself, confirm oneself, persist in, prove superior to
d) (Hiphil) to exhibit strength, be strong, feel strong

How courageous God can make our hearts. He can cause us to be all of these things through Himself! He is our strength and courage.

Courage From God

Courage comes from the inside out.

Lebab, the Hebrew word for heart, means:

1) inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding
a) inner part, midst
1) midst (of things)
2) heart (of man)
3) soul, heart (of man)
4) mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
5) inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
6) conscience
7) heart (of moral character)
8) as seat of appetites
9) as seat of emotions and passions
10) as seat of courage

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen." ~ Philippians 4:19-20 (ESV)

Are we willing to take courage in the Lord? Are we willing to let Him restore us to strength if our courage has failed? Are we willing to be alert, displaying the strength from our heart of hearts?

Courage begins with faith in God. It's rooted in Him just as surely as the sun rises in the east. I have met many brave people in my life, but the most courageous I have found are those who are courageous in Christ.

True Courage
Let me tell you about a man and woman who are great examples of courage to me.

Jimmy & Susan Riley, my uncle and aunt, are in a fight for their lives. Jimmy is battling malignant melanoma. Jimmy was diagnosed with it in 1984 and after treatment was told there was a 90% chance it would never come back. In the spring of 2007, 23 years later, it did. Jimmy has fought harder than anyone I have ever known in my life. He underwent a grueling treatment and it was arrested, but came back twice in 2008. Now it has come back again and he's at M. D. Anderson right now, undergoing tests, procedures, surgery, and ultimately chemo. Jimmy & Susan are the parents of 8 year old James and John, two precious twin boys. They are fighting for more time here on earth, using the God given resources that are available to treat this dreadful disease.

Jimmy will undergo surgery to remove the lymph node that is positive for melanoma. They are going to harvest the tumor at M. D. Anderson in their lab and grown and trained to fight his own cancer should it be needed in the future. After surgery, he will begin biochemo to eradicate other potential melanoma cells that might be lurking around. This means that a combination of three chemo drugs, plus two biological agents will be given for five days. He'll stay in the hospital for two additional days and will come home for a two week break. Then the cycle will be repeated. Three cycles in all.

I have never heard Jimmy complain. In fact, he shares Scripture, prayer, and gives glory to God for early detection and everything. Susan is right by his side. That is courage to me.

Wrap Up

So this week I'm very thankful for courage. To learn more or follow Jimmy's very narrow road, head on over here. He will be encouraged that you are praying for him.

The verse I am praying for him and Susan is this:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.~ Isaiah 43:2 (ESV)

Questions for Reflection: What would you consider to be the most courageous time in your life? How can you regain courage if you have lost it?

Verse for the Day: "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." ~ Philippians 4:13 (ESV)

Prayer: Father, thank You for providing us with courage. Courage to do what needs to be done, to take the high road, to battle what we need to battle and stand up for what we believe in. Thank You for courage to go the extra mile with the illnesses we have in life, to remain faithful and true to You. Courage is something we may need a refill on from time to time, so I ask You for an extra dose now, for me, for Jimmy & Susan, for the boys and all our family, and for everyone reading this post. Help us remember to ask others to help us bear the burdens we have so that we can strengthen and encourage each other in You. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

C - Call out to Jesus for an extra dose of courage when you feel it waning in your life. "...The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." ~ James 5:16 (ESV)

O - Object to the lies of the Enemy and proclaim the promises of Christ. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." ~ James 4:7 (ESV)

U - Understand that God has a purpose for every trial you face and that His good will ultimately triumph. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." ~ Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV)

R - Remember that you are never alone. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.~ Isaiah 43:2 (ESV)

A - Anchor yourself in the shelter of the Most High God. "Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you." ~ Psalm 25:20 (ESV)

G - Glorify God with a courageous heart. "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name." ~ 1 Peter 4:16 (ESV)

E - Equip yourself with the armor of God. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication...." ~ Ephesians 4:10-18 (ESV)

Please click on the button below for more Thankful Thursday posts. Be sure to link up and share your own!



Denise said...

Awesomely beautiful, as always my friend.

Melanie said...

Great, great post, Laurie Ann! I love how you took the definitions of courage and added "in Christ" to them. Yes, there is GREAT power in those words!

Happy Thankful Thursday!

Saleslady371 said...

I love the definitions of courage, Laurie Ann. Very good question you posed for our reflection, also. I will continue to pray for Jimmy and his family. What a great example of courage.

Please pray for my granddaughter and daughter. When my husband came to pick me up in San Diego, he had a nasty cough, now we hear the baby is sick. Don't know if it is related, but she is angry (first time protective mother) so I need prayer for lots of healing.


Beth in NC said...

You are a great teacher!

God bless those who are fighting for life!

Thanks for sharing with us friend.

He And Me + 3 said...

Another insightful post. I really need to work on that courage thing.
It's funny how we can have courage to do some things but not all things.
That is when I need HIS help.

Snow White said...

Thanks you for the C-O-U-R-A-G-E at the end. It's just what I needed today.

Seeking Grace on the Narrow Path said...

I too love the COURAGE OUTLINE! May I copy it for my children's church? Thank you for such an "encouraging" post!
God bless you.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hey sisterchick!

i aint nuthin on my own... but IN HIM.... I CAN DO ALL THINGS....

LOVE your definitions... and wisdom my friend!

Peggy said...

Amen! Bless you Laurie Ann IN very important that it is in His power & might that we are strong & courageous! Great lesson & acrostic as I've come to expect here under your teachings. You bless me so! Indeed your uncle & aunt are excellent examples of COURAGE against all odds and such fine words to pay tribute to their true courage & the victory in his testimony & life! We are standing & believing for miracle treatment, Divine healing & Christ's continual courage to beat this in the name of Jesus & in the power of His blood!

godsown said...

Love your study Laurie-Ann.
As you said..... " He can cause us to be all of these things through Himself! He is our strength and courage.".....
It's amazing to know THAT...
Last monday when studying our last WMV. I noticed " The WORD" is also The Lord...Jesus...... and when putting that towards the meaning of "LIGHT" it's amazing.....!!

Anyways still a happy and blessed TT

Grammy said...

That was an amazing post Laurie Ann. That you for you prayers and kids words. Be bless with lots of courage my friend.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

As usual a beautiful post! I would answer that anytime we lose courage all we have to do is cast our cares all over again and remember the One that holds us. I will continue to pray for your Uncle.

God Chaser said...

Thank you for sharing this story of courage- blessing and wellness to your family, In the name of Jesus. Blessings today and in the days to come as God continue to fill you with His courage.

Toknowhim said...

Thanks for always leaving an encouraging word every time you visit... Blessings to you

It Feels Like Chaos said...

What a great post on courage! You are so right that it is "in Christ" that we have the amazing courage to stand in extremely tough situations. Praying for complete healing for your uncle!

MyJourneyBack said...

This was beautiful. I was touched by the end acrostic. I just read my church newsletter where our pastor spoke of his wives courage in raising thier daughter recently diagnosed with autism. You post was very touching. Thanks for sharing it.

Alleluiabelle said...

Awesome post Laurie Ann. Courage is one thing I used to be weak in many, many years ago, but now through Him all things are possible and I am able to face the fears that I once had of being so extremly shy, which held me back so much in so many ways. With the physical maladies that I face daily, courage is something that I'm glad I have on a much grander scale all because of Him. I loved this post, just love it.

Hugs & Blessings,

Jerralea said...

Sorry I'm late coming by. Your post was excellent, as always! Really touched my heart reading about Jimmy and Susan. I'll be praying for them.

lupusurvivor said...

as always your post is beautifully written. thanks for visiting mine!