Monday, 13 January 2014

COURAGE for 2014

Last year I was inspired to pick a word for the year 2013, to encourage us. Frustrated by my children's lack of kindness for one another, making a habit of constantly picking on each other, preying on each others weaknesses, and deliberately hurting others feelings, hu hu hu (panting)... I picked the word KINDNESS. I came up with a slogan too. Its to the point, and I made who ever disrespected an other, have to repeat it: ~Feelings get hurt like a punch in the gut. So if you have nothing nice to say, keep your mouth shut!~ This was typed out in big letters, with a picture of a guy throwing a big punch. And hung up. Needless to say this was memorised pretty well and quickly. The kids got pretty tired of me getting them to repeat this. Another one I felt I needed for slightly different situations that arose was: ~Feelings get hurt like a kick in the knee. I must be kind to others if I want them to be kind to me!~ I am happy to say that the hurt feelings were brought down significantly. To remind us of our goal I made up pretty bunting with the letters for kindness on each little flag. I kept it simple with the flags made of card paper. I painted them with acrylic. I used a sponge to cover the card with paint. Next I used a small piece of bundled burlap to dab a rough border around each flag.Then to hang it up I used brown string.
This year I know we all need to remember to step out in COURAGE a lot more often. Especially with having recently moved half way across the country. Its hard to settle in and establish a new way of life, for each of us. New surroundings, work, school, church, neighbours, friends, stores, etc.
But sadly we can all lack a degree of courage. Life can start one off with situations that can damage, hinder, or completely spoil that courage that God wills for us. I speak from experience. Sadly that rubs off on our children from our view we have of ourselves.
But here is a definition the dictionary has, that puts it plainly: the courage of ones convictions the confidence to act in accordance with ones beliefs. 
We have no excuse to act out insecurely, because if we love, believe, and walk in Christ, that goes against what you believe. That's called a contradiction. 
Courage through Him, covers most of what the christian life calls us to: Courage to love, courage to do what is right, courage to stop doing what is wrong (change is hard even when its for the good), courage to step out and stand up for Christ or a brother/sister, courage to get out of your comfort zone (get out there and join in with others), courage to be yourself, courage to speak your mind, courage to face uncertainties, courage to deal with hardships, courage to forgive, courage to put others and God first, courage to heed or consider an others loving advice...
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.  1Cor. 16:13
In any situation, we should ask ourselves "IS THIS WISE IN THE EYES OF GOD?" If the answer is yes, have the confidence to do it! If the answer is no have the courage to turn away! The Lord will provide the wisdom to know the difference and what you need, to carry out His will. And doing His will is most fulfilling!
Also have you ever thought about how the word encourage comes from the word courage? Here is another dictionary definition: to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.
All this courage has a chain reaction. I don't believe anyone can say they have more than enough encouragement. We can all use a bit more.
It makes me think of the Nike slogan: Just Do It. Having a grand thought or a nice idea is useless, if not acted upon.
"Beautiful thoughts hardly bring us to God until they are acted upon. No one can have a true idea of right until he does it." -Willeam R. Inge
So this all, like most of what I write about, is my own pep talk, but my hope also is to encourage from my experiences and struggles.
Not to forget, here are the slogans for Courage 2014:

Have Courage to say
Courage to do
Gods will,
He has for you.
Be a sample of Christ’s example.
Encourage through your courage.

Joshua 1:9 This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."



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