Category Archives: Monday Musings

TODAY’S WORD IS COURAGE

A study on corporate managers was commissioned a few years ago. In it they were asked if they voiced positions that 1. focused on the good of the company, rather than personal benefit and 2. jeopardized their own careers. The results of this study found four leader-types in all organizations.

  • Type #1 courageous. These people expressed ideas to help the company improve, in spite of personal risk or opposition.
  • Type #2 confronting. These people spoke up, but only because of a personal vendetta against the company.
  • Type #3 calloused. These people didn’t know, or care, whether they could do anything for the company; they felt helpless and hopeless, so they kept quiet.
  • Type #4 conforming. These people also remained quiet, but only because they loathed confrontation and loved approval.

The researchers discovered that the courageous managers accomplished the most, reported the highest job satisfaction, and eventually were commended by superiors. Their commitment had certainly improved the quality of their lives. Courage is the most important quality of any leader.

J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of “Lord of the Rings” and many other great literary works, contributes this comment, “Courage is found in unlikely places.” We are all looking for courage right now and I can see it manifested in so many ways. I have seen courage in the people who restock the shelves of the grocery store. Those that drive the trucks across the country to make sure we have the goods we need are an inspiration to me in this time. Bus drivers, checkout clerks, drive up attendants at McDonalds and so many others are the most unlikely people of courage I have ever seen. The list of these unlikely people of courage could fill this whole page, but I just want to say thanks to all of them.

There is another area of courage I want to mention and that is all of you. You have isolated yourselves and lived life in ways that you never imagined to protect yourselves and those you love and don’t even know from this virus. It has taken remarkable courage to carve a new way of living so that we may all live a healthy and promising life. Be courageous enough to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, wear gloves when necessary, and above all, accept social distancing as a part of life. These are all acts of courage we must continue to do so that we might look forward to a wonderful future.

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”


QUOTES

Mark Twain #5Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

― Winston S. Churchill

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

― E.E. Cummings

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.

― Maya Angelou

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.

― William Faulkner

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

― Anais Nin

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.

― Mark Twain

Courage is found in unlikely places.

― J.R.R. Tolkien

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

― Brene Brown

Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.

― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird


Scripture

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

+ Psalm 56:3-4

CourageSo do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

+ Isaiah 41:10

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

+ Isaiah 41:13

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

+ Matthew 10:28

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

+ 1 Corinthians 16:13

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

+ Philippians 1:12-14

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

+ Hebrews 13:5-6

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

+ Deuteronomy 31:6

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

+ Psalm 27:1

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

+ 2 Timothy 1:7

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

+ 1 John 4:18

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.

+ 1 Chronicles 28:20


Prayer

LORD, I ask you to give me the courage to face the day and the determination to make it better. You know that I am afraid, and I know that you will help me to overcome that fear with the courage you provide by the spirit that you have given to me. Let me live this life with a spirit of courage and victory despite all the adversity that surrounds me. May your spirit dominate my thoughts even in the darkest times.

Amen

Leave a comment

Filed under Monday Musings

Serenity

SERENITY – Contented tranquility of mind, temper and countenance.                         (Oxford Dictionary)

Perhaps the most famous saying that uses the word serenity is Reinhold Niebuhr‘s Serenity Prayer. This prayer has been used by Alcoholics Anonymous and others as a prayer of centering and peace in a troubled world. The word and the prayer serve as a guide to stepping outside of yourself and giving your troubles to God. I highly recommend that you add this little prayer to your “go to” list of prayers.

The late Fred Craddock tells this story. Many years ago a pastor served an extremely small country church whose building was heated by coal heaters and whose plumbing was outside. The tiny congregation usually consisted of fewer than a dozen women at least 65 years old.

The church sat on a beautiful mountainside overlooking a picturesque valley. An old, abandoned dirt road ran from the church beside the mountain into the thick forest. Often, the pastor drove to church early, leaving the car in the parking lot to walk down the dirt road into the forest to commune with deer, wild turkeys and God.

One morning, however, the pastor was lost in the serenity of the place and realized he would be late starting the service. As he approached the church, the usual congregation of elderly women hovered near the outhouse. The pastor expected to be chastised for his tardiness, but instead, was greeted with sighs of relief. The women had seen the pastor’s car, and not finding him in the church, thought something had happened to him. They were so glad to see him, they forgot how late he was!

That is real serenity! A place or state that gives us love and acceptance when we are not necessarily doing everything with perfection. Our world has, quite literally, been turned upside down. Negative prices for a barrel of oil, a virus with no cure, closed churches, closed malls, no sporting events, and we are not sure when even our new normal will come to be or what it will bring. There has never been a time when we have needed to grasp on to the inner serenity that the peace of God offers. Remember the words of Jesus, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” That is the peace we need now.

Let us grab for the serenity that comes as we turn our focus on our God and Creator.

 

PRAYER

LORD, sometimes serenity is a hard place to reach. I ask you this day to give me the inner peace that is necessary to be at peace in a troubled world. I seek the healing balm that only you can give. May your Spirit be a part of me so I may be a part of you. In that unity I will achieve a level of peace that can only come from you. May that serene peace fall upon me today. Amen

Click for a Video Devotional on Serenity

Leave a comment

Filed under Monday Musings

Monday Musings #2

Musings Logo

THIS WEEK – HOPE

Hope – Expectation of something desired, a feeling of expectation and desire combined.

(Oxford Dictionary)


Do you remember the story of Pandora’s Box? The lovely Pandora was sent by Zeus to be the bride of Epimetheus. One of Pandora’s more endearing charms was her curiosity, but that quality also proved to nearly be her undoing. One day Mercury, the messenger, sent a box to the young couple. It was meant for them to enjoy, but under no circumstances were they to open it. Well, of course, it is the old story of the forbidden fruit. Told that she could not do it, it became the thing that she desired to do the most. So,   one day she pried it open and peeked inside. Suddenly out flew swarms of insects that began attacking them. Both lovers were stung with the poison of suspicion, hatred, fear and malice. Now the once happy couple began to argue. Epimetheus became bitter and Pandora wept with a broken heart. But amid the quarreling, they heard a tiny voice cry out: Let me out, to sooth your pain. Fearfully they opened the box again, and this time a beautiful butterfly flew out. It touched the couple and miraculously their pain was healed, and they were happy again. The butterfly we are told was hope. It is hope that sustains us; it is hope that soothes our pain.

We live in a world of pessimists who want to rob us of our hope. They would prefer that we all be forlorn and dreadful, but God one has better in mind for us. He sends out butterflies in the darkest of times, and I just know that there is out flying right now one with your name on it. All we must do is open our eyes and look for it. Let us hold on to the hope that is in our faith and know that it will guide us through.



Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1


Quotes

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.

—– Christopher Reeve

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

—-Martin Luther King Jr

Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.

—–Martin Luther

I dwell in possibility.

—–Emily Dickinson

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.

—-Nelson Mandela

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.

—-Henry David Thoreau

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

—-Desmond Tutu

Hope is a waking dream.

—-Aristotle

Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all… As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.

—-G.K. Chesterton

I find hope in the darkest of days and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.

—–Dalai Lama

While there’s life, there’s hope.

—-Marcus Tullius Cicero


Scripture

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.

I Peter 1:13

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,

   even as we hope in you.

Psalm 33:22

But I will hope continually,

   and will praise you yet more and more.

Psalm 71:14

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Know that wisdom is such to your soul;

   if you find it, you will find a future,

   and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 24:14


PRAYER

LORD, because of you I know there is always hope –  

      Hope for today

         Hope of a better day tomorrow

              Hope that my pain will end

                  Hope that joy will return

Help me to have enough faith to live a life full of hope. Restore my hope in days when it seems to fade. Strengthen my hope today. Amen


Leave a comment

Filed under Monday Musings

Monday Musings #1

Musings-a period of reflection or thought

NOTE- I thought I would share this on the blog as well as to my congregation. It is a day late but I hope you enjoy the read.


Each Monday during our continued shut down, I’m going to publish a newsletter called- “Monday Musings.” I will be taking a word or a topic and putting together a series of quotes, bible verses and a prayer that shed light on the word of the day. Today’s word is ENCOURAGEMENT. There has never been a time in my life when I needed some encouragement more than I do now. Below you will find some words that I hope will encourage you through this week.

Prayers, Irvin


THIS WEEK – ENCOURAGEMENT

Encouragement – To give courage , confidence, or hope in order to make someone sufficiently confident or bold to do a specified action.

(Oxford Dictionary)


Jesus on WaterBut let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy,

and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.

—Psalm 5:11


QUOTES

“Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.”

– Anne Frank

“Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe and have faith that everything will work out for the best.”

“When you feel like you’re drowning in life, don’t worry – your Lifeguard walks on water.”

“Never let a bad situation bring out the worst in you. Choose to stay positive and be the strong person that God created you to be!”

“You’re not going to master the rest of your life in one day. Just relax. Master the day. Then just keep doing that every day.”

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

– Albert Camus


SCRIPTURE

Mark 11:22-24

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

James 2:19

You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

Luke 1:37

For nothing will be impossible with God.

Colossians 1:11

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

Psalm 5:11

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.


PRAYER – LORD, if there was ever a time that we need some encouragement, it’s now. Let me hear a word from you and know that you have my well-being in the palm of your hand. I trust you to guide me through these difficult days. Help to hear the word as I read the word. Help to hear the words of comfort and encouragement as others speak them to me. I know that you will provide all that I need. Amen


Click for a Devotional on Encouragement

Leave a comment

Filed under Monday Musings