Just…Have Courage.

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Greetings my English speaking friends and those wanting to learn, welcome to Just English!

It has been 10 years since September 11, 2001.  The acts of terror in the United States on that day changed the world.  The violence brought fear to many people.  The rescuers displayed courage. Many heroes lost their lives trying to save others.

This past Monday, another much smaller act of terrorism occurred in Lima, Peru: there was a bomb threat at the Scotia Bank. It was a false alarm.  Nobody was hurt.  But for a moment, many of my emotions from ten years ago returned.

Terrorists seek to frighten people into change.  Their acts are scary.

It is easy to become afraid.  It is a normal human response.  Fear protects us.  In English, we say that fear leads to one of two actions:  fight or flight.  Some people fight what scares them.  Other people run from what scares them.  Sometimes we need to do both…fight and then run.

But what should we fear?  Are you afraid of something?  I fear heights.

Some people fear the dark.  Other people fear flying.  Others fear speaking in front of a crowd.

American President Franklin Deleno Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear it’self.”

The phrase is nice.  But, I am not sure the topic is that simple.  If we are talking about only the physical world, I agree with President Roosevelt.  Yet, there is more than the physical world.  There is also a spiritual world and we are part of it.

As Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”

We need to fear God because he rules over both the physical and spiritual world. Fear Him, yes. But does that mean we are to be scared of him? No. To fear God is to know that he is the most powerful being.  If we are under His care, we can be at peace because he has all power.

If we are with Him, we can have courage.  As Joshua said in the Bible, “Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Lt. John Putnam Jr. fought in World War II and said, “Courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it.”

With God, we can face fear.

As Dorothy Bernard said, “Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers.”

Recently, my father left on a missionary journey to a dangerous country.  I told him to stay safe.  He responded with the same words as many brave missionaries before him, “Son, safety is not the absence of danger but the presence of God.”

In the Bible, King David was a brave man.  He sang,

The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Who is there to fear?
The Lord is my life’s fortress.
Who is there to be afraid of?
                                                     (Psalm 27)

Do you live in fear? Have courage!

Live in the presence of God.  As God blessed his people in the past,

The Lord will bless you and watch over you.
The Lord will smile on you and be kind to you.
The Lord will look on you with favor and give you peace.
(Dueteronomy 23:24-26)

I’m Leon Smith.

Just…Live at Peace.

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Greetings my English speaking friends and those wanting to learn, welcome to Just English.

The world is not a peaceful place.  Natural disasters are scary enough. But then, people are scary too: wars, corruption, family violence, sexual abuse, and abandoned children.  What shall we do?

Someone asked me the other day, “How can we change our culture of violence?”

Personally, my natural desire is to FIGHT for peace.  But, is that wise?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.” (Nobel Lecture, 1964)

What do other wise people in history say about this topic?

Buddha once said, “Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.”  (BrainyQuote.com)

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who make peace. They will be called God’s children.”  (Matthew 5:9).

Lao Tzu said,

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart. (Peace-Quotes.net)

These seem to be very wise statements.  We cannot bring peace among our nations, cities, or neighborhoods without knowing peace in our own families or hearts.

But how do we find peace in our own heart?  How can you find peace?

Jesus said that he gives us peace as a gift.  He said, “I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my peace. I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don’t be troubled or cowardly” (John 14:27).

If that is true, if Jesus gives us peace, how then shall we live in order to share that peace with others?

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  And then he added, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:34-40).

That said, it seems that the best way to bring peace, the best way to change my culture, is to change myself.  We cannot always control the way others act but we can control ourselves.  This is true, even within our own families and relationships.  In order to bring peace, we must live at peace.

And, if our hearts are troubled, we need to communicate with the “Prince of Peace” himself, Jesus.

One of Jesus’ early followers wrote, “Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Brothers and sisters, as King David said, “There is lasting peace for those who love God and His teachings.  Nothing will make those people stumble” (Psalm 119:165).

Love God. Love others. Love and live at peace.

I’m Leon Smith.