Have You Been Shaped By Grace This Year?
Have You Been Shaped By Grace This Year?
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The Gift of Courage © makes a great gift anytime of year!
At the trailhead to one of the paths going down into the Grand Canyon, there is a sign that says, “Do not attempt to hike to the bottom and back out in one day. Serious injury, illness and even death may occur!” Even if you have trained for the hike, it takes courage to hike the canyon, especially after reading a sign like that!
Phil Calvert has written a field guide for a 40-day journey to give us courage for whatever we may be facing along the way. He is a great encourager to help us get where the Lord is leading us. Courage is a great gift and this book will help you find it from daily devotions and Scripture.
There is another sign at the Grand Canyon that says, “Going down is optional. Getting out is mandatory!” As Pastor Phil says, he loves to hike with others who can encourage each other to make it out.
I can’t imagine anyone I would rather make the journey with than someone with a pastor’s heart like Phil. Enjoy the journey with the gift of courage!
One of the many lessons I have learned, and relearned, as a missionary and pastor is that all of us go through crises. While some crises are more life-threatening than others, to the person going through a crisis, whether emotional, financial, medical, relational, or spiritual, it is real to them. I’ve never met a person who responded well to the simplistic words, “It’s not so bad. It could be much worse. You have it better than some people. At least it’s not that serious.” To the person going through the crisis, their situation is that serious.
Moreover, not everyone responds the same way to a crisis, and not everyone responds the same way to particular kinds of crises. For some people, the prospect of financial ruin is absolutely devastating. For others, it would be a welcome reprieve from the hassle of modern life. For some people, a personal health crisis is the worst possible scenario. For others, it means going to meet Jesus sooner rather than later.
Regardless of what a serious crisis looks like to each of us, and regardless of how we respond to a certain kind of crisis, the common denominator for all crises is the imperative to rest in the courage and strength that comes from the Lord. That is often easier said than done, and so I’ve written this 40-day devotional to encourage us along the harrowing path of any kind of uncertain and unpredictable circumstance of life.
Whether you are going through a crisis, emerging from one, you want to be better equipped and prepared for the next crisis, or you are helping someone through their own personal difficult circumstance, I sincerely pray this will be a helpful book. When someone you love is going through a deep valley, share this with them. You, and they, will discover that the gift of courage could change everything! My prayer is that this book of fresh and uplifting devotionals will help direct the reader’s heart to the Lord in the midst of challenges, change, hardships, trials, and tribulations. In so doing, may the courage of the Lord be evident in all that we do and say.
Each devotional has a specific prayer to help guide your heart in reaching out to the Lord. Between each paragraph we have included extra space for you to write thoughts and prayers as you read that day’s devotional and meditate on what God is doing in your life. There is also a note section for personal reflection, which allows this book to be used in small group settings as a study for discipleship and spiritual growth. Our prayer is that this will help guide your spiritual walk during these forty days, which is the length of time Christ fasted and prayed in the wilderness. When He completed that time of special focus, and after the temptation of Satan, God’s Word says that the angels ministered to Him! May this book minister to you as well!
In the course of life there are few people who impact us more than our parents. They are the unsung heroes of our life’s story, and the unnoticed copilots of our life’s journey. They guide us and love us in ways that others simply cannot. Just as there can be death through a million cuts, there can be love by a million sacrifices. And, yet, the untold sacrifices of the love of our parents often go unnoticed by us and, almost certainly, unappreciated by others. The people in our lives see the finished product of our parents’ countless hours of life, love, discipline, heartache, teaching, worry, and prayer.
With the above in mind, I dedicate this devotional book of courage to my parents. I can think of a hundred precious memories of my life and my parents that, to the outside world, would garner no more than a cursory, “What difference did that make?” To me it made all the difference. Indeed, to me and my own children my parents made all the difference in the world. Though my father has gone on to glory, I am confident he would enjoy sitting in his recliner and reading an encouraging word from his son. To my mother, I am so glad this book was not too late in the making. For all parents, everywhere, thank you for raising your children to know and to love the Lord. Parents truly are vital to the well-being of their children and to our nation’s future. And, so, I honor you.
~Philip William Calvert