It takes courage to love.
It takes courage to forgive.
It takes courage to pour your life out for Jesus.
It takes courage to set up boundaries.
It takes courage to step back and not take on the weight of guilt and shame for someone else’s offense.
So many times I will hear someone say, “ I don’t know what I did to make them so angry at me.”
I want to gently whisper to them, “No matter what you did that doesn’t justify their disrespectful behavior towards you.”
It takes courage to admit that you have been offended and then turn around and forgive that offense.
I remember someone saying “No one can make you feel anything.” I thought those were wise words, if someone offends me then I can choose whether or not I will be offended.
But denying the fact that we have been offended, there isn’t a whole lot of grace or forgiveness found in that.
It takes courage to extend grace, forgiveness, and mercy.
It takes courage to stand up and say I deserve love and respect just like you deserve love and respect.
Loving people well takes courage, and sometimes that means facing the offense rather than denying it ever happened , or taking the blame for someone else’s behavior.
There is courage in being a martyr, and a missionary.
My heart is pounding for everyone who lives and dies without the hope of Jesus.
Maybe that’s what gives the Iraqi Christians the courage to sacrifice in ways we couldn’t even fathom here in America, just so that they can share Jesus with their neighbors who lack hope.
It takes courage to make those kind of sacrifices.
The ones that take you away from your friends, family, influence, and even your security.
The missionary lifestyle that so many of us are unwilling to live out because it’s uncomfortable and we are afraid to lose. But Jesus said when we lose our life we will find it.
It takes courage to lose the fight.
It takes courage to stand when you have lost.
It takes courage to rise up when you have fallen.
But we have that choice.
The choice to have courage for today.
No one can ever say you have given up when you continue to have courage , when you keep your eyes on Jesus. No matter what you lose, you will never lose Jesus , and that means you will never lose HOPE.
This year has been one filled with failure and regret. But this last month of this year has been the most redemptive month of my entire life because I have learned to LOVE well, and I have unwrapped the gift of TODAY.
So my journey for 2015 will be “Courage for TODAY.”
It will take FAITH for sure, but I’m glad that I only need to be concerned about today and right now.
What journey does God have you on for 2015?
No matter what Christmas was for us in the past, it seems like every year it has the opportunity, and the possibility, to be something completely different and brand new. That’s what Jesus brought with Him as He was born into this world; He brought with Him a clean slate, a fresh start, and something brand new to our lives and to our faith.
Today I invite you to come and take this imperfect advent journey with me to discover the beauty of the good and perfect gifts God has given us through His Son Jesus. Let us journey together to discover what those gifts are, how we can receive those gifts, and most importantly the importance of being a good steward of those gifts.