And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12)
Gideon is perhaps one of the most misunderstood or questionable characters in the Bible. He was of a quiet and timid character (Judges 6:15, 27), and at times displayed reluctance or even doubt of God’s abidance with Israel (Judges 6:13). He was definitely not a perfect man, but one thing is sure because God had this to say about him before any feat of courage or action of strength: you mighty man of valor (Judges 6:12, 14)!
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor 4:8-9)
Have you ever felt like your life was shattered by unpredictable troubles? How do you cope with your difficulties and anxieties? In the above verse, the apostle Paul described four devastating experiences and how each crisis was turned around. These troubles show that Paul was weak, yet he was not defeated. This tells us that God gives strength to the weak and also works through weak people like Paul.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isa 41:10)
While at the US Naval Academy near Washington DC, I asked my daughter to take a photo of me sitting on a stone chair engraved with the word, COURAGE. Courage is what I need to cope with the stress and challenges of each changing season of life. The googled definition of courage is “the ability to do something that frightens one” or “strength in the face of pain or grief”.
I thank God that I have always been able to find words of encouragement and a source of strength from the Bible. In my youth, I was encouraged by God’s promise to Joshua, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh 1:9). I kept this promise in mind and came to the States to study without doubt or fear. It turned out that the Lord was indeed with me at every turn and milestone in my journey of life. Continue reading
During a discussion about faith, an anonymous member asked me about complacency in servitude and faith, and how to overcome it. Often, we find that as youths who begin to have responsibilities in church, or are becoming introduced to ‘leadership’ roles, it is very easy to develop a sense of self-confidence, or self-entitlement towards our faith. We may start to feel a sense of being slightly above others, or that we are ‘better’ than others simply because we have been appointed various roles within church and attend more activities in church. We feel as if we are fine in our faith, and that others should imitate us. Often if we allow complacency to stay in our hearts, it can take root and bear fruit as pride. Continue reading