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Red, blood, heart, love, hate, forgiveness, compassion, healing, injury, Aaron Rodgers, football, sports, equipment- a little word association to get the creative juices flowing:)

 Am I equipped to handle this life?  It appears so; I’ve made it this far.  What do I need to not just get through each day but to thrive in life?  Faith and fortitude.  This life can press down upon us, rub hard against us, throw us for a loop, leave us for dead on the roadside.  When these times come, it is important, no, imperative, to have faith in something greater than ourselves.  

I believe that there is a God  who created this beautiful yet pain-filled world- who created each of us.  I believe in Christmas- that God sent His Son as a baby into this sin – stained world to redeem us all because of His great love for us.  I believe that Jesus died for me and that my life is now hidden in Him- that I am a new creation in Christ, the Messiah.  I believe that the Bible is God’s inspired word to us and that it is true and that it is Life to those who read it.  I know that God loves me and that He is with me, even in the hard times, and that is what gives me strength, or fortitude, to stand in the midst of life’s storms.

Fortitude is “mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation  courageously.” I am weak in my own strength.  I get anxious and worried over the littlest things.  I break under the strain of difficult relationships, and I succumb to my baser impulses when tempted.  But, when I am strong in my faith- when I have spent time in worship and reading and fellowship and prayer- I am strong mentally and emotionally, too.  I draw strength from the Lord’s love and faithfulness to me; it makes me want to rise up and be who He has called me to be, to live like He lived, to honor Him in all I do.

I was on a walk recently, and I shared with God that I want to really know Him, to know His character, not because I’ve heard or read about it, but because I have experienced it for myself.  I can only really know Him by spending time with Him in prayer and reading the bible, in listening for His prompting and direction each day, in obeying what I hear and read from Him.

I confess I haven’t been a consistent companion of Jesus. Too often, I get mired in the clay of my everyday existence and forget- rather, neglect- the gentle presence of the Lord, who patiently waits for me to sit at his feet like Mary did, and to serve Him joyfully through my family and friends.  This is my desire for the new year: to live in true faith and fortitude.  I need fortitude, not for any great trial, but in my weakness, for the hourly demands upon my time and attention:  to escape the temptation of Facebook and the danger of missing opportunities to be present and engaged with my loved ones, to overcome the difficulty of rising early to exercise and plan my day and meet with the Lord, to courageously pursue the dreams God has put in my heart.

Faith and Fortitude.  Amen.