Read The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear Online

Authors: Joyce Meyer

Tags: #Women's Issues, #Christian Theology, #Religion, #General, #Personal Growth, #Christian Life, #Self-Esteem, #Self-Help, #Sexuality & Gender Studies

The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear (27 page)

BOOK: The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear
5.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
Courage Despite Adversity
 

Paul Partridge lives in suburban Chicago. In a land mine in Vietnam in 1966, he lost both legs. He lived across the street from a woman who screamed one day at the top of her voice: “My baby! My baby!” Sensing there was something seriously wrong, this veteran and his wife left their house—he in his wheelchair, his wife running. After sixty bumpy yards, the wheelchair stopped. He dragged himself out of that wheelchair . . . and pulled himself sixty feet up steps to the deck around the swimming pool. There was a little girl. Her mother had pulled her from the pool where she had found her apparently dead . . . her little heart stopped. Partridge gave the child CPR and talked to her. “Little girl, you’re going to live. You’re going to make it. I know you’re going to make it.” Suddenly the child started breathing, and he screamed for medics to be called.
4

 

That’s the nobility the Lord has planted in this dust we call flesh. That’s why He made us just a little lower than the angels, with the potential to risk our lives for other people—as this hero did for his country, and who with great anguish and agony dragged himself sixty feet up steps to save that little girl.

Partridge could have made a different choice when the woman screamed for help. He could have simply said, “I am a cripple, I can’t do anything to help her.” And had he said that, no one would think any less of him. In fact, most would agree with him. But he did the opposite because he is a man of uncommon courage. He inspires the rest of us to face our challenges without complaining and be less concerned about ourselves and more concerned about others.

Here is another similar story:

 

One summer morning, as Ray Blankenship prepared his breakfast, he gazed out the window and saw a small girl being swept along in the rain-flooded drainage ditch beside his Andover, Ohio, home. Blankenship knew that farther downstream, the ditch disappeared with a roar underneath a road and then emptied into the main culvert. Ray dashed out the door and raced along the ditch, trying to get ahead of the foundering child. Then he hurled himself into the deep, churning water. Blankenship surfaced and was able to grab the child’s arm. They tumbled end over end. Within three feet of the yawning culvert, Ray’s free hand felt something—possibly a rock—protruding from one bank. He clung desperately, but the tremendous force of the water tried to tear him and the child away. “If I can just hang on until help comes,” he thought. He did better than that. By the time the fire-department rescuers arrived, Blankenship had pulled the girl to safety. Both were treated for shock. On April 12, 1989, Ray Blankenship was awarded the Coast Guard’s Silver Lifesaving Medal. The award is fitting, for this selfless person was at even greater risk to himself than most people knew. Ray Blankenship can’t swim.
5

 

If we were not so busy trying to avoid personal pain, fear could not dominate our lives. Perhaps we should once and for all put ourselves in God’s capable hands, telling Him that what happens to us is His concern, not ours. Our joy increases as we help other people, but we won’t reach out to others very much if we are fearful of what will happen to us.

Caring for Others
 

Barbara Makuch paid dearly for her willingness to aid Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland. She helped two Jewish people find protection in the boy’s boarding school where she was a teacher. One was a young Jewish boy who successfully passed himself off as a Christian Polish student. The second was a woman doctor who became the school cook. Although they lived on minimal means in a tiny apartment, Barbara and her mother accepted responsibility for a seven-year-old Jewish girl, left with them by the girl’s desperate mother. Fearing detection in such a small community, Barbara took the girl on a dangerous journey to Lvov where she placed her in the safe shelter of a convent school.

In Lvov, Barbara joined her sister Halina in her work for the underground organization, Zegota, set up to aid Polish Jews in hiding. On a Zegota courier mission Barbara was caught and subsequently imprisoned, first in a notorious jail, later at the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany. During her years in prison and camp, Barbara faced the harshest test of courage and endurance. Remarkably, she not only survived but even managed to help save the lives of fellow inmates.
6

 

Just think of it. Barbara could have feared for own safety and done nothing. I am sure that millions did just that. But, she was a woman with uncommon courage. She risked her own life for other people and the result was that many lives were spared.

My Life Is a Prayer
 

Mary Khoury was seventeen years old when she and her family were forced to their knees in front of their home in Damour, Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1992).

 

The leader of the Muslim fanatics who raided their village waved his pistol carelessly before their faces. His hatred for Christians burned in his eyes. “If you do not become a Muslim,” he threatened, “you will be shot.”

Mary knew Jesus was given a similar choice. “Give up your plan to save sinners, or You will be crucified.” He chose the cross.

Mary’s choice was similar. “I was baptized as a Christian, and His word came to me: ‘Don’t deny your faith.’ I will obey Him. Go ahead and shoot.” The sound of a gun from behind her echoed in the valley and Mary’s body fell limply to the ground.

Two days later, the Red Cross came into her village. Of all her family, Mary was the only one still alive. But the bullet cut her spinal cord, leaving both her arms paralyzed. They were stretched out from her body and bent at the elbows, reminiscent of Jesus at His Crucifixion. She could do nothing with them.

“Everyone has a vocation,” she said. “I can never marry or do any physical work. So I will offer my life for Muslims, like the one who cut my father’s throat, cursed my mother and stabbed her, and then tried to kill me. My life will be a prayer for them.”
7

 

It takes uncommon courage to be willing to die for what you believe in, but it also takes uncommon courage to be willing to forgive and pray for your persecutors. In our world today multitudes are offended, angry, bitter and resentful. If more people had the courage to forgive it would make our world a better place.

Taking a Stand
 

He came walking up the aisle on little fat, brown legs, with serious determination in his eyes. I stopped speaking and the congregation was quiet as death. “You asked me what I would have done if I had been in the crowd when Jesus fell under the weight of His cross.” He looked earnestly up at me. “Please, sir, I would have helped carry it.” He was a Mexican lad eight years of age. His father was a miner and his mother was an outcast from decent society. I had been preaching on Simon of Cyrene; and when I asked the audience to determine in their own hearts their reaction to that scene, little Pedro moved toward me.

I lifted my arm and cried: “Yes, and if you had helped Him to carry His cross, the cruel Roman soldiers would have beaten down across your back with their whips until the blood ran down to your heels!” He never flinched. Meeting my look with one of cool courage, he gritted through clenched teeth: “I don’t care. I would have helped Him carry it just the same.”

Two weeks later, at the close of the service in the same building, I stood at the door, greeting people as they left. When Pedro came by, I patted him affectionately on the back. He shrank from me with a little cry. “Don’t do that, my back is sore.” I stood in astonishment. I had barely touched his shoulders. I took him into the cloak room and removed his shirt from his body. Crisscrossed from his neck to his waist were ugly, bloody welts. “Who did that?” I cried in anger. “Mother did it. She whipped me because I came to church.”
8

In our world today most people compromise rather than take a stand for what is right. Jesus said we would be persecuted for righteousness sake and most people are not up for that. Jesus also promised a reward; however, the majority of people want reward without commitment. If we do what God has asked us to do, we will get what He promised us we could have. Salvation is free and its only condition is, “believe,” but the benefits of being a Christian do come with conditions. God simply said, “If you will, I will.” Most Christians live far below their God-ordained destiny and privileges simply because they compromise rather than taking a stand.

Little Pedro felt it was right for him to go to church and he was willing to suffer in order to do the right thing. Very few adults would do what he did. This little boy was an up-and-coming world changer. People with uncommon courage change the world around them. They don’t conform to the world; they change it and make it a better place to live.

If you are the only one you know who is willing to do what is right, then you be the one who will make a difference.

Do you find yourself complaining about conditions in the world today? Ask yourself: “What am I doing to change it?” If your answer is nothing, then stop complaining and get to work! Take a stand. If you are the only one you know who is willing to do what is right, then you be the one who will make a difference. Yes, it may be a lonely walk, there may be persecution along the way, but the rewards are worth it. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you lived your life fully and completely and refused to let fear be your master.

Do All That You Can Do
 

Some individuals pass quietly and fearfully through life and never do anything to make the world a better place. They are so concerned with self-preservation that they never reach out to the millions of souls around them who are crying out for help. Just think about it . . . The woman at work whose fourteen-year-old son is killed in a drive-by shooting. The man whose wife leaves him for another man. The neighbor who just found out she has terminal cancer. Then there is the family you heard about at church who is in danger of losing their home because the husband lost his job and hasn’t been able to find one for five months. The bank is ready to foreclose on their loan and they really have no where else to go. They are desperate and don’t know what to do. Everyone tells them that God will provide, but no one is doing anything.

We must realize that God works through people. We are His hands, feet, arms, mouth, eyes and ears. God does miracles, but He does them through people with uncommon courage. Those who forget about themselves long enough will notice that God has placed someone in their path that is hurting and needy. We pray for God to use us and when He tries we are often too busy to be bothered.

When God created Adam and Eve, He blessed them, told them to be fruitful and multiply and use all the vast resources of the earth that He gave them in the service of God and man. Are you being fruitful? Is your life causing increase? When you get involved with people and things, do they increase and multiply? Some people only take in life, and they never add anything. I refuse to be that kind of person. I want to make people’s lives better. I want to put smiles on faces. Are you using the resources you have in the service of God and man? We must all make sure that we are not like the rich man in the Bible who had so much that all of his barns were full with no room for more. Instead of giving any of it away, he decided that he would tear down the barns he had and just build bigger ones and collect more stuff for himself. I think he was the dumbest man in the Bible.

He could have decided that he would use what he had to bless others, but he must have been a fearful, selfish man, who only had room in his life for himself (Luke 12:16–20). God called the man a fool, and said, “This very night they (the messengers of God) will demand your soul of you; and all the things that you have prepared, whose will they be?” The man was going to die that night and all he would leave behind was “stuff.” He had an opportunity to make the world a better place. He could have added to many lives and put smiles on thousands of faces. Instead, he fearfully and selfishly only cared about himself.

Be courageous. Forget about yourself and start doing all you can to help others. Get a new goal. . . . “Put smiles on faces.” Encourage, edify, lift up, comfort, help, give hope, relieve pain, and lift burdens.

Jesus said if we want to be His disciples we will forget about ourselves, lose sight of ourselves and all of our own interests (Mark 8:34). The minute we hear that, fear strikes our hearts and we hear loudly in our heads, “what about me?” If I forget myself, who is going to take care of me? My beloved, do not be afraid, God Himself will take care of you. Everything you do for other people will come back to you many times over, with joy. If you are willing to give yourself away, you will have a much better life than you ever would have had trying to keep yourself.

Women are sensitive to the needs of others. They are discerning, they notice things. I believe God gives you and I an ability to be touched by the infirmities of others for the express purpose of helping. Women are experts in bringing comfort. Courageous women are givers. Don’t just selfishly and fearfully pass through this life, but do everything you can, every way you can, for everyone that you can, as often as you can. If that is your goal, you will be one of those rare individuals who actually make the world a better place and put a smile on every face.

BOOK: The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear
5.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

La batalla de Corrin by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
Cherry Girl by Candy Dance
Look at You Now by Liz Pryor
Haunted Ever After by Juliet Madison
Breaking the Ice by Kim Baldwin
Burned Away by Kristen Simmons
Undeniable by Madeline Sheehan
Wyoming Lawman by Victoria Bylin