Leadership-Takes-Courage

Character: Courage

66022_1_ftc_dpI attend Community Bible Study during the school year but I was missing the fellowship and in-depth study this summer. So, in an effort to meet some new neighbors and spend quality time with some friends, I started a summer Bible study in my home for a few ladies and myself. We are reading and discussing:

Character: Reclaiming Six Endangered Qualities, InterActions Series
By Bill Hybels / Zondervan

Yesterday, we met for the first time and discussed Session 1: Character. I thought that I would share each week what I have learned here on my blog. This study was written for men and women. However, I am facilitating this study for ladies so I will be using female terms.

The courage session focuses on courage in every day life versus the big once in a lifetime acts of heroism that we hear about in the media. The type of courage that it takes to be a wife, mother, and friend. The Bible passage for this session is:

1 Timothy 1:7-12 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”

The author uses Paul as a Biblical example. Through his trials, suffering, imprisonment, etc., Paul is someone who exhibited every day courage because of his faith in Jesus Christ. I want to point out here (even though it is not mentioned in the book we are reading), that it is a pet peeve of mine when Christians say “God will not give us more than we can handle.” This is not Biblically based at all. It is misconstrued with God not allowing us to be tempted beyond what we can handle and that there is always a way out of temptation. However, Paul is the example time and time again that a Christian can and will go through trials, suffering, pain, hardship… even to the point of death. Paul says in

2 Corinthians 1:8-11 “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Through our hardships; God wants us to fully rely on him so that he can deliver us and heal us. God wants to draw us into a closer relationship with him. He will always rescue us but sometimes it is in the midst of our hardships. He doesn’t always remove us from circumstances but allows us to go through them in order to draw us nearer to Him. And he can always use our testimonies to impact other people and draw them into His kingdom. It takes great every day courage to keep our faith as we go through hardship.

This session is divided into three sections: Spiritual Courage, Moral Courage, and Relational Courage.

Spiritual Courage:

The author points out that we often hear from non-believers that Christianity is for weak people, cowards, and is a crutch. He uses the example of non-believers who are confronted with their sin but who do not have the courage to admit their sins before a Holy God. They justify themselves by saying that they are a good person and the sins they have committed are just little mistakes. They falsely assume that God will allow all “good” people into heaven. He says that it takes much courage for someone to become a Christian, admit that they are a sinner, and follow Christ in a secular world.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” [emphasis mine]

When speaking of a non-believer deciding to follow Christ or a Christian continuing to follow Christ in a secular world, YES, it does take great courage. However, I went a different direction with my thoughts on this. I AM weak but because of Christ, I am made strong in spite of my weakness. Without Christ, I am nothing and can do nothing of value. With Christ, I have the ability to do great things and stand strong in a fallen world.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Moral Courage:

The author gives several examples of areas where it might be easy to fall into temptation… even as a Christian. Income taxes, sexual purity, bending truth to avoid conflict, etc. How do we handle the temptation when it comes knocking at our door? How do we react after giving into temptation and being caught?

Christ calls us to have integrity and courage even when no one else cares or notices. We should have the courage to be truthful in all things, to have integrity behind closed doors, and to exhibit Christ to all people we encounter (in person or on the internet).

Relational Courage:

The author focuses on marriage and parenting but this also applies to friendships. It takes courage to be vulnerable in marriage and admit when things are not going well. Sometimes counseling, meeting with accountability partners, and/or sitting down to have a serious discussion are important to help repair a marriage. It takes courage to discipline children when they need correction and to train them in the way of Christ even if it is not popular to do so in our entitled, government knows what is best society.

Have you seen a marriage fall apart because of adultery, pornography, alcohol, abuse, or just plain selfishness? Many marriages end in divorce because one or both parties just give up and go their own way with out consideration of the effects their decisions have on their children and future.

On the flip side, have you seen marriages recover from any of the above circumstances? My marriage has recovered from extreme circumstances and I have witnessed other marriages recover as well. Almost always, the common denominator is Christ. When both spouses are willing to admit that they are wrong, when both spouses are willing to forgive each other the way Christ forgave us, when both spouses are willing to get the outside help needed, then there is a good chance that a marriage can recover from extreme brokenness. This takes courage because most often it is a long road to recovery. It takes courage to stand strong when society says to just take the “easy road” out.

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Overall, I have learned to be more aware of areas I can exhibit courage on a daily basis… even if it is not recognized by others. One of my group members said that sometimes it takes courage just to get out of bed in the morning! I want to be like Paul and show courage in the midst of trials and suffering but I also want to be able to show courage in all things even when everything is going well.

How can you show courage in your every day life this week?

Fruit of the Spirit- 30 Day Scripture Writing Plans

This month I have posted two scripture writing plans… At the time, I only created black and white downloads of the plans. I went back and added a papyrus design option to the downloads. I thought that maybe some of you would prefer something a little more than the black and white!

Black and white is still available for those who need easy printing. If you want to make the black and white more unique, just print them on the color paper of your choice!

I will continue to add the papyrus design to future posts in this series!

Here are the links to the previous blog posts where you can find the download links:

Fruit of the Spirit: LOVE

Fruit of the Spirit: JOY & PEACE

Fruit of the Spirit LoveFruit of the Spirit JOY-PEACE

July Cards of Encouragement

I would like to send YOU a card of encouragement in the mail!

Everyone loves to receive good old fashioned mail every once in awhile. With our age of internet and texting, personal mail is rare. So, every month I am going to send out cards of encouragement to whoever sends me their mailing address. I know that this means you have to trust me with your mailing address. For those who know me personally or who have been following my blog for awhile that will not be a problem. Please know that no one other than myself will have access to your personal information. Also, this is just an experiment. I will see how it goes for the next few months and then decide if I will continue doing this or not.

If you are interested in receiving a card from me, please click the link below and take a few minutes to fill out the information survey. This will record your mailing address so that I can mail you a card. Other questions are asked to help me customize the card to you and so that I know how you came to follow my blog. Feel free to share prayer requests, goals, areas that you need encouragement, etc. I will post this link every month so that if something changes, you can edit your information.

CARDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT INFORMATION SURVEY

Thank you all for following my blog. I sincerely hope that my posts are inspirational and encouraging to all of you who read them!

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Fruit of the Spirit: JOY and PEACE (30 Day Scripture Writing Plan)

Continuing with the Fruit of the Spirit 30 day scripture writing plans, here is JOY & PEACE! I combined them because I found that several verses fit the characteristics of both joy and peace. I will continue to create plans based on all of the Fruit of the Spirit listed in: Galatians 5:22-23:

“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

PLEASE NOTE: I use the New International Version (NIV). So the passages I have listed are based on my NIV concordance for specific words like love, joy, etc. Other versions may or may not use the same wording. Most of the Fruit of the Spirit words are pretty straight forward and the meaning of the passage will remain the same. If your version does not have a specific word that you expect from whatever plan you are doing, look for a synonym of that word in the passage. Also, I may also use passages that use other words that support the theme… such as the Joy theme using a verse that says “Rejoice.”

I plan to post each segment of the series as I complete them… which could take several weeks or several months depending on how much time I am able to put into them. By posting them as I finish them, it will allow you to choose from any of the topics in any giving time frame you choose.

Suggestions for how to be successful with this challenge:

  • Decide ahead of time where you will be writing down the scripture. You could use a journal, notebook, or print out the lined writing page I have provided to keep in a 3 ring binder.
  • Print a copy of the challenge so that it is easily accessible to you. Keep it in your Bible or in the journal, notebook, or binder you are using.
  • Decide what time of day you will be writing your passage of scripture. Try to stick to a daily routine so that you are consistent. If you get behind, try to catch up later in the day or do two days at a time. The further behind you get, the harder it will be to catch up.
  • Pray that the Lord will speak to you through His Word before reading and writing each passage.
  • Reflect each day on how you can apply the passage of scripture to your life.

Please comment below to let me know that you are doing this challenge! I would love to hear from you!

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Papyrus (30 Day Plan): CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Black & White (Plan & Lined Paper): CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Fruit of the Spirit JOY-PEACE

Fruit of the Spirit JOY-PEACEFruit of the Spirit JOY-PEACE Lined

 

 

The Prince Warriors

This book by Pricilla Shirer (with Gina Detwiler) is the first in what will be a trilogy. The story starts out in our world introducing several kids. Two brothers, Xavier and Evan, are arguing and one gets in trouble while the other does not. Two friends, Levi and Brianna, watch as a boy gets bullied. The four kids get pulled into another world called Ahoratos where they are immediately faced with chaos and danger. They are given armor and instructions by their guide and left to navigate through the world. They have to trust the armor and instructions, or make their own decisions which lead to traps and more danger. Eventually they are returned back to our world and because of their experience in Ahoratos, they are able to make better decisions in every day life. The await the possibility of returning to Ahoratos for more adventures.

Although written with tween boys in mind, this book may appeal to tween girls as well being that one of the main characters is a girl. I really liked the message of the Armor of God and how it protects and guides the children. I think that my favorite part of the book is how the lessons learned in Ahoratos were immediately applied to their everyday life. I like the reminder that there is an unseen battle and enemy that we have to face equipped with Biblical truths, courage, and the tools that God gives us. Before reading the book, I read several raving positive reviews and was looking forward to reading it. However, I did not find it to be as great as everyone claimed it to be. It is okay, but I do not think that it deserves to be praised as similar to The Chronicles of Narnia (which several reviews I read mentioned) and I do not think that is anywhere near the same level of writing as C. S. Lewis. I also felt that there were far to many characters, unusual names, unusual places, scenes etc. to keep track of. Many of the names in of people, places, and things in Ahoratos are so unusual that even the kids in the story could not pronounce them correctly. As an adult, I found it somewhat difficult to follow. There is definitely action and adventure that would most likely appeal to the tween age group though. I just cannot personally jump on the excitement bandwagon but like I said before, it is an okay book with a good message.  I gave it to my 9 year old daughter to read, and she says she likes it. I think that she is having some trouble reading it because of the unusual names, etc. like I mentioned above. She also did not recognize the Christian parallels, like the Armor of God, until I pointed them out. Once I pointed out some of them, she started to figure out others on her own. She has not finished the book yet. Even though she says she likes it, I think she has lost interest in it. She only goes back to read it when I tell her to do so. Based on the observations I see with her, I think that it may need to be read and discussed with younger children. Older children may have an easier time reading and understanding it without help.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that B&H Books provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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The Prince Warriors: A Novel
By Pricilla Shirer / B&H Books

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Step By Step

This book by Candace Calvert is the second book in the Crisis Team series. Taylor Cabot is an ER nurse and apart of a crisis team. Three years after her husband’s death, she is on her way to completing her “survival list.” In the process of moving on… she is (sort of) dating a handsome plastic surgeon, decides to leave the crisis team, and comes to grips with the fact that her beloved dog is living his last days. Seth Donovan, a crisis team chaplain and Taylor’s friend, comes to town and finds himself falling in love with Taylor. When crisis hits close to home, Taylor has to face unknown truths, confront fears, and let herself grieve in a way she had not done before.

I have not previously read any of this author’s books. I was drawn to the book because of the medical drama theme. I love medical dramas on television and I used to work as a nurse. To be honest though, I had a hard time engaging with this book. I prefer books that hold my attention so much that I do not want to put them down. I also felt that there were far too many character story lines to keep track of. I assume that some of them were in the previous book, so it may have helped to read that one first. However, this was okay as a stand alone book being that it was mostly from Taylor’s perspective. Towards the end, I was able to start engaging more. I like how the author addressed the grieving process. I felt like I was going through it with Taylor. Also, the crisis that occurs at the end of the book was unexpected and left the reader hanging to find out more (which I hope will be revealed in the next book of the series). I do plan to read the previous book and the following book in the future.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Tyndale House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Step by Step
By Candace Calvert / Tyndale House

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The Reluctant Duchess

This book by Roseanna M. White is the second in the Ladies of the Manor series. Lady Rowena Kinnaird is the heiress to a Highland earldom, but due to her father’s harshness and abuse she has never felt worthy of her future role. After the man she was intended to marry attacks her in the most vicious way, she finally has the courage to stand against her father’s wishes. In an effort to rescue a broken woman, Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, offers to marry her on impulse. Rowena accepts but after they are married she is reluctant to become intimate because of her fear of men. Faced with the possibility of carrying her attacker’s child, she is forced to rely on the good graces of her husband. When she finds that her husband has secrets involving precious jewelry and sketchy people, she is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery… even if it means betraying her husband’s trust.

Until now, I have not read anything from this author. This book was able to be read as a stand alone even though there is a previous book in the series. Many of the characters obviously have connections from the first book but it was easy to understand the limited explanations in this book. Rowena faces several dark plots including: childhood abuse from her father, rape from her suitor, threats and rage from her attacker, nightmares and fear following the trauma of her attack, etc. She is portrayed as a weak and fearful woman. The rape is explained but not too much detail (I have read much worse rape scenes in other books not from this author). I can understand why some people may be unable to handle this type of scene though. The patience and understanding that Brice has with Rowena is refreshing but I’m not sure is completely believable. He honestly seems way too good to be true. Since it is a fiction book, I can look past that. Brice also has a strong relationship with God. He seems to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and recognizes when he fails. He is a man who prays a lot. Rowena slowly comes out of her shell and recovers emotionally due to her husband’s love and security. One thing that I did not really like was the strong Gaelic accent and wording that Rowena and the other Highlanders have. It took me awhile to get used to it. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, romance, suspense, and intense plots.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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#2: The Reluctant Duchess
By Roseanna M. White / Bethany House

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A Dolphin Wish

This book, by award-winning recording artist Natalie Grant, is the second in the Glimmer Girls series and is a part of the Faithgirlz brand. Twins, Maddie and Mia, and their younger sister Lulu, are vacationing with their family in San Diego. They are excited to visit Captain Swashbuckler’s Adventure Park. Mia overhears a conversation that animals are being let out of their habitats. Eager to solve her own mystery, since Maddie got so much attention in London (in book 1), Mia searches for clues throughout the park and convinces her family to visit again the next day.

Natalie Grant has always been one of my favorite Christian music artists. I was excited to see that she published this book series. Knowing that she has three daughters (including twins) makes the story even more fun. The message is wholesome, lessons are learned, mentoring is given when needed, and the differences between right and wrong are made clear. This book revolves around Mia’s bitterness over Maddie’s punishment for running away in London. She feels that the discipline did not match the offense (I would agree with her). Throughout the book, her relationship with her twin is strained. Towards the end of the book, she has a conversation with her mom that leads to her forgiving Maddie. My 9 year old has enjoyed reading both this book and the first one in the series. There are several good discussion moments  that can be found in both books. I would recommend this book for any young girls who are reading chapter books.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Zondervan provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

A Dolphin Wish
By Natalie Grant / Zondervan

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