Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Courage

Choose to Be Courageous!
A devotional by Patricia Russell

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
–Matthew 14:27 (NLT)

Courage is a character trait we are all growing in. There is no timeline for reaching capacity. Joshua was told to “Be strong and courageous” in that moment and it would be a mindset he would have to walk in daily and grow in as the situations presented themselves.

We will be given opportunities where we need to choose to “be” courageous. Our Heavenly Father is so patient with us! In Matthew 14:13-21, we read of the event where Jesus Christ fed 5,000 people! You know it didn’t take five minutes for the team to feed all those people and pick up all the leftovers and garbage, not at all. But Jesus took the food (five loaves and two fish), blessed it then God made a way for the food to feed everyone to the point of fullness. There were even leftovers (twelve basketfuls of broken pieces, the Bible says)!

Another lesson in being strong and courageous is in taking time to go to a quiet place to be alone with God. During His time on Earth, Jesus did this daily. He always pulled aside to talk to His Father. That was His first priority that He always kept in order. He never missed an appointment with his Father.

After feeding the 5,000 people, Jesus instructed His disciples to get in a boat and cross to the other side (Matthew 14:22) of the lake while He sent the (fully fed) people home. While the disciples were out in the boat, a storm raged around them. The Bible says that they were “fighting heavy waves” (Matthew 14:24). All you boat lovers would just love the thrill of this but others like me would be wearing their lifejacket and holding on.

If you’ve ever been out at sea then you know when the sky looks blurry and the wind is blowing then you can start “seeing” things if you’re not careful. Well, Jesus in His own let-me-surprise-you way walked out on the water toward the boat. His disciples weren’t sure what they were seeing and thought it was a ghost. Jesus knew that they were terrified and shouted, “Don’t be afraid, “Take courage. I am here!”

Peter got himself together and yelled back, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Jesus replied, “Yes, come.”

Peter heard Him say “Come” and decided to put his faith in action. He got out of the boat, fixed his eyes on Jesus and started walking on the water, toward Him. The Bible says in Matthew 14:30, “But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.”

Peter represents all of us in this story. You know how it goes: We venture out of our comfort zone, and take the risk to do what we are called to do – afraid. But our minds are made up and our eyes are set on our goal, so we start to move toward it. Then out of nowhere comes a distraction in the form of a discourager, naysayer, bad news report or family member telling you you’ll never succeed! It is then that we have two choices: We can acknowledge, listen and agree with the distraction by changing course. OR we can choose to push past whatever form the distraction has come in and keep moving forward.

It comes down to a CHOICE. Courage is a CHOICE. You get to choose! Peter chose. He got out of the boat, started to move fearlessly toward His Savior but moments later, he became distracted and started sinking. The good news is that Jesus reached out and saved him! He did not let Peter go under the water and drown.

Not letting this teachable moment go by without applying it to help His student, Jesus as the Master Teacher, kindly admonished Peter for having “so little faith” then asked him, “Why did you doubt me?”

Let me just say this, if you got out of the boat, don’t stop. You picked up your pen and notepad to write or you turned on your computer and started to type that book. Good choices! Now, don’t stop. You started that business – don’t stop. You started speaking – don’t stop.

Whatever it is you have finally grabbed the courage to start, and you know this is what God called you to do, keep going and don’t stop. You can do this!

Here are some thoughts to help you keep pushing forward and stay courageous:

· Pray to God

· Study God’s Word (The Holy Bible)

· Read biographies of people who could have given up but didn’t

· Surround yourself with people who are growing

· Write your goals and post them so you can see them

The only ones who win and get the prize are those who endure to the end. So, arm yourself with a winning mindset, fix your eyes on Jesus Christ and move forward! When you stay focused on your Savior, you will not sink!

Let’s Pray: Father God, thank you for reminding me that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Just as You were with the disciples in the storm, I believe You are with me now. I will be bold and courageous today. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Patricia Russell is a speaker, worship leader, author, certified life coach and songwriter.

Her gifts have been shared internationally with audiences to encourage, empower and share life lessons through words and songs. She has sung on national television broadcasts and shared the stage with several respected speakers. Over her 30 years in ministry, she has been a featured artist in musical cantatas locally and the United States of America.

Patricia had the honour of leading worship at the kick-off event for the 2006 the “Just Give Me Jesus” Toronto Revival with Anne Graham Lotz who is the eldest daughter of Billy Graham, a well-known American evangelist.

Patricia serves in ministry along with her husband Rev. Wayne Russell. Together, they have served as guest hosts on a local early morning call in program called “Nite Lite Live” that formerly aired on the CTS Television Network. They have two adult children Raquel and Benjamin.

Patricia has recorded two CD’s: “Lord I Trust You” and a live recording “Draw Me Nearer.” She is also an author. Her first book is titled Lord I Trust You: Words of Encouragement. It is meant to further encourage and share life lessons as a result of her cancer journey. She is a co-author of a #1 bestseller book titled Crushed Diamonds Still Sparkle, and she has compiled the recent #1 bestseller book titled Stronger Resilience.

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