Happy Father’s Day!
What exactly is courage? Is it the absence of fear? Is it extreme daring in the midst of danger? Or is it facing your fears and standing up to make a good choice in the midst of opposition? The dictionary defines courage as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger or pain without fear or in spite of fear. Another definition says to act in accordance with one’s beliefs in spite of criticism. If you look further at the word origin, it came from a word meaning heart. Brave is often related to courage and does mean almost the same thing. To be brave is to act courageously, to be ready to endure or have the “heart” to endure danger or pain when necessary.
I rather like the second definition of courage – acting in accordance with one’s beliefs in spite of criticism. I don’t think courage is the absence of fear, rather its bravely choosing to stand up for what you believe or what you know to be right, even when you are afraid. That’s the kind of courage Esther had. She had heart. She didn’t immediately stand up for her people, but chose the path of courage after prayer and fasting. She weighed the danger she was facing and chose to stand up in spite of it. I don’t believe that courage is blindly rushing into a dangerous situation without first considering the danger or your options. It’s not acting on a dare to prove your bravery. Acting on a dare can be foolhardy and in a sense cowardly. Courage is knowing what you are facing, considering your options and choosing to act because you know it is the right thing to do and that is what Esther did.
I have not been faced with many if any Esther-type situations. Yet I have been called upon to use courage in various ways. Sometimes it takes courage just to get through a rough day or courage to continue praying when the results of those prayers are not readily seen. It takes courage to stand up for what you know is right at work or when you see someone being treated unjustly. It takes courage to make healthy choices and decisions.
Where did Esther find courage to stand up for her people? I believe she found courage from her relationship with God, from the fasting and prayers of her people and from the encouragement of Mordecai who urged her to do what she did. Where can I find courage when I need it most? I find courage from my relationship with God and friends who encourage me. I find courage through prayer and in the pages of God’s Word. I find courage by choosing faith instead of fear and I find courage by remembering what God has done in the past and I also find courage just in knowing that God is strong and powerful. He with me and He is for me.
So the next time you find yourself faced with fear and need courage, remember what God has done and is doing in your life. Ask some friends to join with you in prayer and take some time to read God’s word asking Him to speak to your heart. I once heard someone say that when “fear knocks at your door send faith to answer.” Let’s face life with faith because God loves us more than we can ever comprehend. Take courage!
Here’s a few verses to stand on when fear and anxiety strike:
Ps. 94:19 “When anxiety was a great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
Phil. 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
I do trust you and look to you for the courage I need to face each day. Sometimes I simply need courage to respond to others with love instead of anger or frustration. Sometimes I need courage to stand up and do the right thing when others around me are all going along with the crowd. I need courage to trust you when life seems hard and my problems are greater than I can face on my own. I need courage to share my love for you with others and I need courage to step out of my comfort zone to pray for a friend or invite that neighbor to church. I need courage for my family as well. Courage to trust you with their welfare instead of worrying about whatever situation they might be currently going through. God, give me your extraordinary courage. Courage to say, “Yes!” to whatever it is you are asking me to do, courage to do the next right thing. Thank you for walking with me each day. Simply give me the courage today to reflect your grace and love in whatever situation I may find myself. May others see Jesus in me. Amen
STANDING STRONG WHEN FEAR STRIKES
* Stand strong by remembering who your God is. You are not in this battle alone, God is with you. “Depend on His Mighty Power.”
* Ask friends or family to stand with you. Esther prayed and fasted and asked others to stand with her fasting.
* Seek wisdom in God’s Word, from others who have faced similar struggles or by listening to what your heart says is right, then act on that wisdom.
What is God saying to you when you pray? Listen and act on that voice especially if agrees with what the Bible says
* It’s okay to be afraid, but you don’t have to let fear control or immobilize you.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:
HELPING YOUR CHILD TO STAND STRONG
* Help them to develop values based on what God says in His Word and to act in accordance with those values.
* Teach them to think of others and their feelings. Empathy.
* Talk about ways to respond in potentially scary situations – What should you do if there is a fire at your house or the fire alarm is going off? What if you are home alone and someone is at the door or someone calls to talk to mom or dad? What should you do if someone tries to bully you on the bus?
* What can your child do when anxiety strikes?
– Breathe deeply and try to think clearly.
– Get help from a caring adult if at all possible.
– Find a quiet calm, place to regain their perspective..
– Look for and name 3 familiar items. PRAY!
Kid’ s Section
SHARE A STORY: Brave Queen Esther – Esther 1:1-10
Queen Esther lived in the palace with King Xerses. (Put on crown.) She loved God (Give self a hug.) and she was happy, but a very, mean man (Make a mean face.) named Haman wanted to hurt Queen Esther’s people. Haman told the king lies about the Jewish (Esther’s) people. He wanted the king to get rid of all the Queen’s people. The king listened to Haman and made a law.
Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, told Esther about Haman’s plan. He asked Esther to talk with the king. But Esther was afraid. (Make a scared face.) She knew talking with the king was the right thing to do, but what if the king was too busy? What if the king got mad at her?
Esther decided she would be brave and talk to King Xerses. She invited the king to a big dinner. (Say, “Yum! Yum! Yum!”) At the dinner, the king said to Esther, “What do want Queen Esther? I will give it to you.” Esther was still afraid. (Make a scared face.) She wanted to be brave and help her people. She depended on God to help her. (Point upwards for God.) She invited the king to another dinner. (Say, “Yum! Yum! Yum!”) Then she told the king that she wanted to save her people. She was brave and told the king everything. King Xerses listened to Esther. (Hand by ear.) He was mad (Show mad face.) that Haman wanted to hurt the queen and her people. He made a new law that saved Esther and her people.
Esther was very brave. She depended on God to help her and did the right thing. Being brave doesn’t mean that we are not afraid sometimes. It means that we depend on God to help us even when we are afraid. It means that no matter what big thing we are facing, we know that God is with us and can help us because He is strong. You can be brave like Esther and do the right thing depending on God to help you. He really loves you!
MEMORIZE: Eph. 6:10 NIrV – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
Let the Lord – (Point upwards.)
Make you strong – (Show muscles.)
Depend on – (Clap hands.)
His (God’s) – (Point upwards.)
Mighty power – (Show muscles.)
Help me to be brave and make good choices. I know that you are strong and will be with me wherever I go. Thank you for loving and helping me. Amen
KNOW: Esther depended on God and did the right thing.
TALK ABOUT: What does it mean to have courage or be brave?
ASK: Who will help you? God will help me.
DO: Depend on God’s might power.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
*Put on paper crowns and act like royalty for a day.
* Do something brave such as pray with a friend or get back on your bike after you fall down.