There are many examples of bravery in the Bible. Esther. Moses. Ruth. Joseph. Rahab. Paul. The list goes on, and it's tempting for me (as one who likes her checklists) to look at each example and attempt to create a bravery profile; gather up all the goodness from each valiant story and implement those traits into my moments. But the stories of Scripture are not meant to be prescriptive. They do not primarily point the way to become a better, braver person.
These records of bold obedience are provided to show us to the real victor.
If we tried to analyze each brave soul and their actions, we'd drive ourselves crazy trying to find the correct action points. Almost every situation is set in a context we would never find ourselves. So, we must find the common denominator of the stories, keeping in mind the whole counsel of Scripture and its big-picture themes.
You and I have the benefit of viewing the deep and detailed landscape of Biblical history. With this hindsight, when we slow down and look carefully at the examples of obedient, brave men and women in Scripture, we see the calling of God into the unlikely. We can see this statement made—formed over centuries—through the lives He's used to bring His will about: God calls unlikely man to be used for extraordinary feats...read more
When God Says No
By Vicki Miller
Have you ever been told, "No"? It's not an easy word to hear, yet sometimes, it is the word we need to hear.
To be turned down caused me to bristle, my face flushed, and I wrestled with being rejected. Hanging up the phone, I ran the conversation through my head, reliving the words that stung my ears. The words spoken to me were kind, not harsh at all. I totally understood this person's reasoning and yet why was this bothering me so much? I think it was because I was told, "No". I felt I deserved a "yes" answer. After all, hadn't I done enough for her that she could do this one thing for me?
I felt convicted for putting her in the situation to need to tell me, "No". With the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit, I resolved to let it go. Not easy to do, but necessary. In fact, to not do so would be in direct disobedience to the Father. I didn't want that wedge to exist even for a moment between her and me, let alone my Heavenly Father and me.
Sometimes it's good to be told, "No". As a mom of four daughters, there were times during their growing-up years when I had to deny them their requests. Not because I wanted to be mean, insensitive, or withhold from them good, but because I loved them and with my wisdom, I knew that "no" was the better word to use. They may not have liked it, not understood it, but their submissiveness yielded a better outcome than if I had said, "Yes".
Sometimes, God tells me, "No." I may not understand it, but as I accept His answer for me, I can rest assured that He has my best interest in mind. Perhaps, to keep me from making a huge mistake. Maybe it's to keep me from being a spoiled brat or simply to remind me that life isn't all about me. Or just because He loves me!
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
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