Fruit of Courage – Wed – 21-07-14

Have you ever been really frightened? When I was in high school I had a part in the school play. At a rehearsal, I left the stage to retrieve a prop from the teacher’s classroom. All the lights were out in that part of the building. As I was returning through the dark hallway, two classmates leaped out of a doorway and screamed at me. I don’t remember thinking. I just yelled in fright!

The apostles of Jesus knew this feeling. In Mark 6 we’re told that they were in a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee at night. They’d left Jesus on the shore. Then Jesus came walking on the water toward them. Verses 49 and 50 say they cried out because they were terrified, thinking he was a ghost. Jesus replied “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”(NIV)

Many things in life can frighten us. Speaking in public, walking down a dark alley, the threat of a new disease, a diagnosis of cancer – all can cause fear. Even God can cause fear, just as Jesus did when walking on water. But we need to remember Jesus’ words. We need to take courage. When we really look at our situation, we’re likely to find there is no reason for the fear we feel. Today, I hope nothing terrifies you! Whatever you face, take courage in the presence of Jesus!

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Do You Know?

  • Do you know what one of the most undervalued qualities of leadership is?
  • Do you know how a blistered foot relates to the fruit of the Spirit?
  • How should we respond to a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christians?

The answers to these questions and more can be found in next week’s (July 18-24) episodes of the podcast. I hope you listen!

Fruit of Courage – Tue – 21-07-13

Were you ever awkward and afraid when it came to dating? When I was a teenager, I wanted to ask a girl to a school dance. But I was a bit afraid. I think I dialed the phone more than once, only to hang up before she answered. I finally had the courage to stay on the line and ask her out. She agreed to go with me.

People often feel pressure or fear in certain situations. We fear what others will think. Or we fear we may not perform well. Did you know that even King Solomon, the richest man in the ancient world, also felt some fear? Why should a king ever feel pressure to perform? He was the king! Others should feel pressure or fear him!

I know he must have felt this way, because his father David told him to be courageous. Solomon was responsible with building the first temple of God in Jerusalem. I think the responsibility made him nervous. Listen to David’s words in 1 Chronicles 22:13, “Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”(NIV)

Are you facing pressure and uncertainty? Do you have a big project or challenge facing you? Don’t be discouraged! If you are careful to follow Jesus, you can find the courage to face the challenge!

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Fruit of Courage – Mon – 21-07-12

This week, we are talking about courage. But what exactly is courage? Is it the absence of fear? Actually, you can have fear and be courageous at the same time. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”1

This is the classic definition of courage, the quality that moves people to act in spite of a threat to their own safety. It was why Charles C. Hagemeister was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam in 1967. Hagemeister was a medic. His platoon was attacked one night. During the seven and a half hour engagement, Hagemeister repeatedly faced enemy fire to reach the wounded and deliver aid, saving several lives.2 Helping his fellow soldiers was more important than his own safety.

Most of us do not face bullets in our lives. But we can face ridicule for our faith. In a similar way, our courage to tell others about the reason for our hope, begins with setting the lordship of Jesus as more important than our comfort. As 1 Peter 3:14-15 says, “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.’ But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. “(NIV)

  1. Connie Stemmle, “Courage is Not the Absence of Fear: 3 Lessons from This Quote,” Develop Good Habits.Com,
  2. Congressional Medal of Honor Society, “Medal of Honor Recipient Charles C. Hagemeister Passes Away at 74,” Cision PR Newswire, May 19, 2021,>

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Fruit of Courage – Sun – 21-07-11

Are heroes always brave? The usually are in the comic book world. They have to have courage to face the villain, or there wouldn’t be a story!

What about the Bible? Were all the main characters of the Bible brave? Hardly! Abraham lied about his wife Sarah for fear he’d be killed and she’d be taken from him. Moses was afraid of speaking in public. God appointed his brother to be the spokesman. And what about Joshua? He was the leader of the ancient Israelites after Moses died. He led them across the flooded Jordan River to attack Jericho and eventually conquer Canaan. But Joshua apparently lacked courage. Twice Moses told him to be courageous as he prepared Joshua to lead God’s people. Then, as the new leader, God appeared to Joshua and challenged him three times to be courageous. Listen to the final charge in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”(NIV)

Are you sometimes timid about your faith in Jesus? Are you hesitant to speak up about him? Don’t feel bad! Joshua also lacked courage. Like him, we can find our courage because God is with us. As Jesus promised in Matthew 28: 20, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(NIV)

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Fruit of Faithfulness – Sat – 21-07-10

What do an escaped slave, a preacher, a messenger and a missionary have in common? No! This is not the opening line of a joke! It is a serious question. The answer is that these four people were all described by the apostle Paul as faithful.

Onesimus was the escaped slave. He found his way to Rome where he became a Christian. He then served Paul during his imprisonment. Paul found him faithful and sent him back home with a letter to his master, Philemon, asking that he be accepted back as a brother in Christ.

Epaphras was the preacher who planted the church in Colossae, perhaps during the two years Paul preached in Ephesus. He may also have planted the churches in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Tychicus traveled with Paul during the last part of his third missionary journey, including Jerusalem. He then followed Paul to Rome after his arrest. Tychicus is the messenger Paul entrusted to carry his letters to the Ephesians and the Colossians. Onesimus traveled with him on this errand.

Timothy was converted to Christ on Paul’s first missionary journey. He served as a missionary with Paul beginning with the second journey and spent years in service with him, often sent to preach and teach at churches when Paul could not.

Although these four spent different amounts of time with Paul, he saw they were all faithful to Jesus. I hope that someone will someday describe you in the same way — faithful to Jesus!

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Fruit of Faithfulness – Fri – 21-07-09

Sean O’Sallaigh decided to take his mom, Mary, on a trip to Nepal in 2018. His mother suffered from

Alzheimer’s disease. He wanted to take her from the harsh Irish winter. What Sean noticed was the travel actually improved her condition. She started walking and talking again. Then Sean took her to Rome where they visited restaurants. Everywhere they travelled, Mary engaged with people. Later they travelled to South Africa. She died there at age 83 after more than a year of travel.* This is an example of faithfulness. Sean was devoted to his mother’s best interest over months of time.

Faithfulness is often associated with devotion to the interests of another. This is true of the story of the talents that Jesus told in Matthew 25. A master entrusted servants with his wealth. After a long time he returned. Hear what the master said to the good servant in verse 23, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”(NIV)

God’s Spirit is working to produce in us this type of faithfulness. The faithfulness that is devoted to the interests of Jesus. The faithfulness that looks after the interests of others and enables them to trust us. The faithfulness that is expressed over time. May you be found faithful!

*”Devoted Son Took His Mom With Alzheimer’s on Incredible Round-the-World Adventure–And She Improved,” Good News Network, June 1, 2021,

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Fruit of Faithfulness – Thu – 21-07-08

Soldiers do a lot of training. In order to function well in battle, they spend hours each year training on various things. For instance, the training the United States Marine Corp delivers to its solders each year includes water survival, operations security, chemical/biological/nuclear defense, physical fitness, counter intelligence awareness, cyber awareness and rifle marksmanship.1 Although all the training is important, General Alfred M. Gray once highlighted the priority of combat skills with his famous saying “Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman. All other conditions are secondary.”2 I bet, if you know a Marine, they have heard this saying!

The Christian life is compared to the equipment of a solder in Ephesians 6. There, the equipment of a Roman soldier illustrated the spiritual battle of life. In the passage, we are urged to take up the various pieces of “spiritual equipment” such as the belt of truth. Then we are commanded to stand firm and do one other thing. Pray. Prayer is not compared to the soldier’s equipment. It seems to be the essence of how we fight the spiritual battle. We are to pray at all times, according to verse 18. Romans 12:12 puts it another way, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” As we’ve learned, faithfulness is seen in continual action over time. So, don’t give up! Keep praying! We must first and foremost be people of prayer!

  1. “Annual Training and Education Requirements,” Marine Corp Bulletin 1500, February 20, 2015,
  2. Adam Levine, “U.S. Marine Slogans, Mottos, and Sayings,” Custom Ink,

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Fruit of Faithfulness – Wed – 21-07-07

The book of Revelation is a prophecy filled with fantastic descriptions of the return of Christ and the end of time. I’ve always wanted a top special effects studio to make a film of the entire book.  It would be so exciting to view! Can you imagine the visuals of heaven, the dragon, angels and the lake of fire! In Revelation 19:11, John wrote, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.”(NIV) Here, in the climax of the book, Jesus, the rider on the white horse is called Faithful. Does that seem odd to you? Here is the vision of Christ preparing to wage the final battle. He is described as having eyes of blazing fire, many crowns on his head, a robe dipped in blood and a sharp sword coming from his mouth. How does faithfulness fit in?

I think it is awe-inspiring in two ways. First, faithfulness qualifies him to be Lord of Lords. The Bible describes Jesus as a faithful witness, a faithful son and a faithful high priest. Philippians 2 describes the degree of his faithfulness, namely, he was obedient to God to the point of death. Faithfulness qualifies him to ride the white horse. Second, it reminds us that Jesus keeps his promises. We can trust that Jesus will leads us to the ultimate victory! Faithfulness is awesome!

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.