Two weeks ago we talked about Elijah and the incredible courage he had toward accomplishing God’s will. We saw him prophesy, take responsibility, wait, perform miracles, wait some more, appear before his greatest enemy and overwhelmingly conquer in a challenge to prove that God is in fact God over all. The next thing we knew, Elijah was running for his life – afraid and feeling alone. Turns out that all his heroics got him was more threats on his life. So, what happens to that courageous prophet of God now? He still must fight but in a different way for in this next stage of his life God is going to teach him submission. Submission – it does not sound like a characteristic that belongs with courage, but as we will see courage will burn you without submission and submission will burden you without courage.
Courage is perhaps the most underrated, under-appreciated and invisible virtue of our time. We are so busy complying with the status quo, with watching our words and with following what others say and do on social media that we seem to have forgotten the simple yet powerful virtue of courage. Courage is stepping up, stepping out and standing against the tide of darkness. Courage is being what you know you should be when it is unpopular with others. Courage is having the guts to listen when others only want to argue; it is reaching out to give when others are focused on taking and courage is leading by example when following in anonymity would be so much easier. Courage, when observed, incites others to stand, it provokes others to act and it plants hope where there is none. Yes, we need courage, but how do we find it and how do we learn to truly be courageous?
There are many accounts in the Bible that really run along the edge of reality for many of us here today. Think about it – Balaam’s donkey talks, the sun stands still for Joshua in a battle, Jesus rises from the dead and goes to heaven… These are fantastic and unbelievable to many. And then there is the story of Noah. Here is a man around 500 years old who builds a boat to save his family and the animals from a devastating flood! Now THAT is amazing! So, what is there about this story of Noah that rings true for us today? Is his experience a warning for us here and now?
When you begin to grasp the life and times of Daniel the Prophet, what you find in your hands is pure inspiration, integrity, faith and courage. Here is a man who lived out his entire life far from his home in Israel and who, by God’s grace, turned captivity to a pagan nation into an opportunity to reveal the greatness of the One God and eventually win over the King who made him captive. When we grow up, we should all want to be like Daniel! Stay with us as we continue his story!
Daniel was a good, righteous and deeply faithful man. From a very young age, he showed himself to be wholly keyed in on being in lock-step with obedience to God. God, in turn, blessed Daniel in many ways, from preserving his life, to granting him ability to interpret dreams, to elevating him in power, to bestowing upon him an incredible gift of prophecy. Oh yeah, and God also delivered him from the den of lions! Today, Daniel’s prophecies are among the most discredited scriptures in the Bible! Why? What is it about Daniel that makes so many afraid?
Several weeks ago we began to tell the story of a hero – not the kind of hero that rises up in courage to do a deed that changes the outcome of an event – rather, the kind of hero who lives his vision for a lifetime and changes the world as a result of his lifetime dedication. This hero is the Joseph of the Old Testament – dreamer, interpreter of dreams, man of wisdom, faith, integrity and mercy. Joseph was a true hero, the kind that appears only once in many generations. What can we learn from him?
We have all had experiences – real life experiences - that have triggered a bitter reaction in our hearts. This can actually be a very natural reaction. As we look at the harsh experiences of some we often say things like, “who can blame them” or “I’d feel the same way if that happened to me.” The big question for today is simple: Once we go through the initial bitter reaction in any experience, where do we go from there? Does bitterness move in and take over or do we leave it behind? Stay with us as we look bitterness square in the eye and figure out what to do with it…
Everybody loves a hero…someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty…someone who puts their own interests aside for the greater good…someone who does those things that others can’t or won’t. Usually these heroes are recognized as a result of a particular event or crisis and we laud their contribution. It is a rare thing to see someone who lives a heroic life and displays a heroic heart throughout their lifetime – one who becomes a hero for the ages. On this program we look at such a man to try and learn from the example of his heroic life!
We have all had experiences in our lives that have led us to places from which there seemed to be no escape. These are places where the circumstances were such that the outcome seemed so inevitable that our choices in the matter were limited to accepting some unwanted and predetermined future or denying it, only to be confronted with it later. In such times, hope fades from our future and into memory. Sounds glum, doesn’t it? Well, the good news is, we can look to Biblical accounts of some of God’s chosen ones and see how they fared in such difficult times. King Hezekiah was one such man. Confronted with circumstances throughout his life that could have trapped and demoralized him, he found ways to rise above them to follow a higher path. Stay with us as we look into the life and times of King Hezekiah and see how he found ways of escape from the traps of his life.