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Courage!

January 23rd, 2009 Posted in Pastor's corner, questions, sermons

Have you noticed that courage seems to be in short supply in this day and age?

What is courage? According to one definition, courage (also known as bravery, will, and fortitude) is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. “Physical courage” is bravery in the face of physical pain, hardship, or threat of death.

We see courage on display every day from our troops defending our freedom overseas, as well as those brave police officers and firefighters that put their lives on the line for us every day.

A few questions

  • How would you define courage?
  • Do you think of yourself as courageous?
  • Can you think of any examples of courage you have seen recently?

Moral courage

But physical courage is not the only kind of courage that exists. There is also moral courage, the ability to do what is right in the face of popular opposition or discouragement.

It takes courage to do the right thing today, to stand up for what the Bible says about right and wrong, good and evil.

It takes courage to live honestly, with integrity, avoiding the “shortcuts” that may get you ahead but take you down spiritually and morally.

It takes courage to honor the vows you made to be faithful to your spouse and stand by them “for better or for worse, for richer and poorer, in sickness and health,” as opposed to abandoning them when the marriage gets challenging.

It takes courage to remain sexually pure as a single person with all the pressure today from peers and the media.

And it takes courage to follow Jesus Christ, no matter how hard it gets.

One more question

  • Can you think of any examples of moral courage that you have seen?

This Sunday at Harvest

This Sunday morning at Harvest, I will be giving a message from Chapter 23 in the Book of Acts.

In this passage, Jesus tells a discouraged apostle Paul, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome” (Acts 23:11 NKJV). A better translation of the word “cheer” would be “courage.”

My message title will be “Christ’s Call to Courage.” So come join us in person or watch online.

20 Responses to “Courage!”

  1. Barry says:

    As blessed as we have been with Pastor James these last few weeks, it was great to have Pastor Greg back. God has given you such a gift on sharing His Word with all of us.

    Your story about the woman from Running Springs was very timely and somewhat emotional for my family. On the 23rd, we had what could have been a very tragic accident on the icy roads, actually rolling our SUV, going to Big Bear.

    You stated in your sermon that we need to depend upon God and not people, even though others can be helpful. As I was calling 911, my wife was diligently praying to our Heavenly Father, the master of 911. Not only was God the first to respond, He was there before, during, and after the accident, protecting our family.

    Thank you and God again for your timely message.

  2. Rachel says:

    I believe courage comes from God, & in our darkest hour, I need to seek his will. I also believe courage is knowing who you are, where you come from, and what you believe in. I know that no matter what laws our government passes, we have to be courageous individually, to not make decisions that we know are against our wonderful & Holy Creator. Our Christian community needs to be morally courageous & our message clear that everyone ultimately make their own choices in this life, no matter what our government does. Make choices for God in Christ Jesus.

  3. Mariana says:

    Hi Pastor Greg!

    I think all of the unknown pastors (and the known ones too) who attack sin as it is, and treat it in their churches as sin, are courageous, because this tells of their obedience.

    It takes courage to do this because there will always be someone in church who has opposition to good Biblical measures on dealing with sin.

    I also admire all of the politicians who are not afraid to express their faith in God, standing up for biblical principles and talking about it on the news and other media. It takes courage to be in that environment and not conform to the rest.

    And last but not least, you, my friend, are courageous as well, taking the pulpit days after your temporary separation from your son, and your family too. It takes your faith and your courage to drive you to trust and rest in our Lord.

    Hugs for you and your family. You remain in my prayers.

    God Bless you richly,

  4. Justine says:

    I really enjoyed your message on courage this past Sunday. You reminded me that God’s plans are so much better than ours, and we may not have the slightest clue what they are, but we do know that He is with us, just like He was with Paul in that jail cell.
    Thanks for blessing us with this message!

  5. Lori says:

    Pastor Greg,

    Probably too late to answer your courage Qs, but I was away from my computer since Thurs.

    But I’ll offer this: For me, courage was (on one occasion) having the guts to call someone out for behavior. Pop culture condones a lot in the name of freedom of expression in art. Many people use art as entitlement.

    One day, I had an out-of-town houseguest, who happened to be an photographic artist. He’s had several shows in the city, and we were at the beach. My beach. Where many families whom I know have teenage girls (Are you with me so far?).

    Soon, I began to notice where this artist’s lens was pointing. What to do? What to say? I didn’t want to say anything, to be honest. I didn’t have the guts. And yet, something in my spirit was getting pretty upset. I couldnt keep quiet any longer.

    So without thinking, I suddenly heard myself ask, “Hey, what are you doing, do you know those girls or something?!” He quietly put his camera away and never took it out again.

    In that instant, God gave me the words I needed and I didnt even have to ask for them. Which proves to me, without a doubt, God will give me courage to do things that I’m unable to do in my own power. All I have to do is be willing.

    Hope your sermon was awesome!
    Shalom, Lori

  6. Helen says:

    I think God is stretching all of His children. Part of that “stretching of our faith” includes trusting in Him in the face of persecution, hardships, mistreatment, injustices, and trials.

    On my own, I’m unable to face any of these things and am tempted to worry, fear, and try to find ways to make things right by my own understanding and efforts.

    But resting and trusting in God and taking every injustice, persecution, hardship, mistreatment, or trial that comes my way to my loving Heavenly Father in prayer helps me to have hope and courage that God is faithful to help me.

    God sees me, He loves me. God is so good!

    This hope and focus upon Jesus strengthens me in my weaknesses. This trust looks very much like “courage” to others, but it’s God’s power and work in me.

    We all are being tested. May our faith grow stronger and stronger in Jesus, and may we have courage that comes from faith in Him to stand and be faithful in our witness for Him through it all.

  7. Marisa says:

    Pastor Greg,

    Your message was awesome yesterday! It’s wonderful to have you back. It was me, my fiancee, my mom, and daughter that saw you after church and said hi. You are such a humble man. God shines all around you!!!!!

    God Bless,

    Marisa~~~~

  8. jeff says:

    Well, today is my son’s 16th birthday. He is a man of courage. He has spent the last three years fighting cancer, and yet he stands in such a storm. I am so humbled by him at times. The chemo is strong, he can not read his Bible, and yet he pushes on. God help us all as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, that we might sit at the feast He has prepared for us. Bless you, pastor. You are a real man of God.

  9. Rosemary says:

    1. Courage to me is being brave and very frank.
    2. I do not see myself as courageous, but sometimes frank (Need help with that big mouth, sometimes)
    3. When I need courage to share His word with non-believers or especially intelligent people, I pray and the Lord always leads me to read Jeremiah 1:6-8 and Jeremiah 1:17: “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.”

    I pray for us all to have God’s Spirit because only through Him can we do anything.

    God Bless, sister in Christ

  10. Angela says:

    Thank you for this message. I have six kids, two still at home. The first four lacked moral courage; they followed their peers in the perils of drugs and alcohol. I continue to pray for them daily.

    However, my last two have shown moral courage. How? Because 98% of the time, they stand alone in their fight to do what is right in God’s Word.

    Our public education system is full of children who are so lost. The enemy has taken over, and “moral courage,” unfortunately, is a choice that is dead last.

    I pray for all those children who make a stand, and even though it seems lonely at times, I pray they have comfort in knowing they are never alone, and are first in God’s eyes. Stay strong, young ones, He sees and hears you, you will be blessed!

    Angela Dawson

  11. Teri says:

    I am praying for you and your family, Pastor Greg, today especially, because it has been six months since your wonderful son Christopher went to heaven. God Bless you today and every day! Thank you for remaining strong and faithful to our Heavenly Father. Love, Teri

  12. Erick says:

    Great message this morning. Nice to have Pastor Greg back at the pulpit. We, like the apostle Paul, should be looking forward to being in heaven…Blessings.

    Erick Pflucker.

  13. Teri says:

    I don’t think of myself as courageous. I have seen courage awesomely displayed when Pastor Greg has continued to preach God’s Word while going through a very tough trial. Also, with Pastor James MacDonald teaching all of us about trials, while he has been going through one of the most difficult trials he has had to face. God Bless you both and your families. In His Love, Teri

  14. Bridget says:

    Awesome devotion! Very courageous.

    Bridget Willard

  15. Anne says:

    I’m excited to listen to this sermon but to also hear from Pastor Greg. I think it will be encouraging.

    Anne Maltes

  16. Anonymous says:

    I’m really surprised that there are no comments to this blog posting, so I will comment. I think it’s great. As I read it, yesterday after work (Fri., 1/23/09), I answered your questions in my mind – thinking about whether or not to send them here.

    It’s a wonderful article. We all need to think about this and pray and ask the Lord for wisdom, discernment, and yes, courage, as we live in these day, these times.

    Just my thoughts. Thank you – I really liked the topic – the article.

  17. Carolyn says:

    I love to hear your daily program.

    Carolyn Griffin

  18. Susan says:

    To me it not only takes a great deal of trust to follow the Lord, but it takes courage too! Courage is not without the absence of fear, but it’s moving forward in spite of your fear.

    Susan

  19. Lori says:

    Courage to me is facing and/or confronting a fearful situation. We are not lacking courage if we are afraid of a real danger. But confronting that situation or person, in spite of the fear, is courage.

    Let’s say for instance that your husband is a substance abuser or wife beater. Of course, the wife is afraid of him and what will happen to her and her children if he continues on. If she decides to set limits and boundaries and seeks the Lord’s help to make some hard decisions to protect herself and her family, then she has courage. Her fears are real. They say danger. Those feelings are correct in that situation. When a wife lacks courage in a situation like that, she will most likely plead with the husband, surrender her life to him instead of the Lord, and put up with the situation for years until she is so ravaged emotionally, spiritually, and possibly physically, that she cannot function. She is left broken in a million little pieces. Thankfully God will intervene, but a lot of damage will have been done before she surrenders her life to God.

  20. Linda says:

    Pastor Greg,

    I see courage every day with a woman at work who has been battling cancer for several years now. Her spirit lights up the office. No matter how many treatments, or how often her hair grows back, just to lose it again, or how many people she has made friends with at chemo, to find out who made it this week or didn’t. She is blessed, because every day she uplifts everyone, in spite of all she endures. Always arrives at work “cheery.” Greets everyone she sees, and is always positive, and genuinely concerned with people on a personal level. She really encourages you to have a better day. You can see God in her life, even with her trial.

    So my question, Pastor Greg, is why does it seem that no matter how hard you pray, and ask God to intervene when a man destroys his family by adulterous behavior, and cannot admit the truth to himself, but is ultimately hurting inside, why does it seem that those prayers don’t get answered? With so much wrong in this life, why does it seem as if God is not present in this situation? Is the wronged spouse supposed to be the one with courage, to try to help him through this, even though the marriage is over? Are you to encourage your friend to stay and help, or just walk away and let God deal with it?

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