October 4 – Living Courageously – Daily Bible Study

Read Psalms 119:105 and Matthew 4:4

Why is daily Bible study so hard? I really think it is one of the enemy’s greatest tricks. No matter how great the experiences we have had in the past, at some point, we will begin to feel it is monotonous. Maybe we will get turned off by a weird chapter that doesn’t mesh with our present culture or we begin to feel the temptation that it is more beneficial to just listen to a podcast by our favorite speaker or worship from our favorite playlist.

Hopefully, by mentioning these common roadblocks, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

You are not alone.

This is an overused, unoriginal attack of the enemy. You need to label it and fight against it. Fight toward The Word. You are not having a crisis of faith. Rather your faith is being fought for.

We read in the verses above that the Word is literally as important as eating food. We know that without eating food we will die.

Pretty important, eh?

But, if I’m being honest, I don’t just need food, I love food. A pancake breakfast? A Chic-Fil-A lunch? A juicy steak dinner? Any of these sound insanely tempting but being told to read my Bible daily can feel as if I’m on some sort of spiritual diet.

Why is this?

The answer is simple. It’s because Satan doesn’t want you reading your Bible!

We need to stop approaching our Bible time as reading mere words on a page. This time is a doorway that leads to a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. This is not a collection of stories for entertainment or antidotes for self-help. God wants to communicate with you through His Words.


The Word is “a lamp to your feet and a light on your (daily) path” It is a compass to your day. When we read our Bible, it is like putting an address into a navigation system and asking for directions.

Right now, pray out loud, “Lord, speak to me. What do you want to say to me that will guide my day today?” Now begin reading in your Bible wherever you feel led and read until a verse pops out. This may be immediate or this may be several chapters deep. But you will feel a flutter in your gut. A moment that is not “from you”. This is the Holy Spirit speaking to you through His Word. He is giving you your direction. It will be to a person, to a prayer, to a truth within, to a destination that needs dealt with TODAY.

Now, this is getting exciting!

Welcome to daily Bible study… enjoy the ride.

Nate Torrence

October 3 – Living Courageously – Live for Jesus

Read Mark 12:28-31

A man had a strained relationship with his neighbor. Whenever they would see each other they would shout at each other over trivial matters. The man was bothered by it. So, he decided to be patient with his neighbor by not raising his voice at him. It was difficult and actually practiced it at home in front of the mirror! He took deep breaths when the neighbor would raise his voice at him. The man was determined to have self-control, so he would respond in a very low and respectful tone, despite his racing heart.

The man then decided to look for ways to be kind to his neighbor. When the neighbor had to have his driveway repaved, the man offered to let the neighbor park in his driveway. He did! Then the man sent his neighbor a Christmas card with a scripture verse in it (Luke 2:11) as well as a lyric from a Christmas carol “let every heart, prepare him room” from the song Joy to the World.

Did the relationship improve? Maybe. Hopefully.

But the man was trying to live for Jesus and it is something you and I can do on a daily basis.

Being consistent in prayer is something that can help one live for Jesus.

We can serve others and can start by serving the ones we are closest to, such as our spouse and family. Serve by listening to them. Serve your spouse by intentionally putting their interests above your own.

We love others by being humble. Keep your mouth closed when you’re hurt so that your spouse is not wounded by your attack of words.

Check your ego.

We love God by studying the Bible daily. Which book in the Bible do you know the least about? Why don’t you and a friend start to read it and talk about what you read?

How we talk and how we live are keys to the Jesus that people see in us.

Love God by sharing His word. Share your story of what He has done in your life.

Prevent temptation. Jesus was tempted. (See Matt 4:1-11) While temptation is not a sin, we can resist and prevent it by what we think about, what we read about, what we watch, who we spend time with, the music that we listen to and where we go.

Be consistent in attending church. Go with neighbors, go with people you love or go by yourself. Just be there!

Put God first (See Exodus 20:3). He wants to be your number one priority.

Love God by living for him. Your audience is one: Jesus.

Love people as you would want them to love you.

Love others by developing loving relationships with both believers and nonbelievers.

Love God by remembering that you are free from your past. (See John 8:36).

How do you love God and how do you love others? I challenge you to grow in these areas starting today!

Tom Weckesser

October 2 – Living Courageously – Avoid Deception

Read Proverbs 12:22 and Titus 1:15-16

“Liar, Liar, pants on fire!”

This was a chant heard many times on the school playground growing up. Someone had gotten caught in a lie.  No one likes a liar or being lied to, not even God! 

He detests it!

Many heartaches, even wars, have their origin in one kind of lie or another.  You can’t claim to love your neighbor on one hand and try to cheat and deceive them with the other.  Life is not a game of sleight-of-hand tricks.

Yet, in our society today, we have come to and even expect people in certain occupations to be lying to us. When they are not called out about their lies, they just keep on doing it.  In Proverbs 12:20, the Bible  says there is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil but joy in those who promote peace.

Deception is not just lying to cover your mistakes, it is a heart problem. How someone can look another person right in the face, knowing full well what is coming out of their mouths is a lie, comes down to who their God is. Is it Satan, the father of all lies, or Jesus the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace?

Why do people lie? 

Some do it to cover up what they have done, maybe to cover up their previous lies or to see if they can get away with something that is forbidden to them. They are forgetting we have an All-Knowing God who sees and hears everything and knows their heart better than they do! 

Others will waste their whole lives seeking fame, or fortune and will lie to some of their best friends or even loved ones to get what they want.

Words in this old hymn say it all:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,

I’d rather be His than have riches untold;

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands,

I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause,

I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame,

I’d rather be true to His holy name.

Than to be the king of a vast domain

And be held in sin’s dread sway.

I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today.

What would you rather have: fame, fortune, power or a clean conscience so that you can be at peace with God and your fellow man?

My one principal used to always end the morning announcements with this,” Have a good day or not.  The choice is yours!”

So, I am asking you: are you going to have a good lie-free life or one filled with deceit? The choice is yours! 

For me, I’d rather have Jesus!

Pat Arnold

October 1 – Living Courageously – Let Go (Let God)

Read Ephesians 4:31-32 and Jeremiah 29:11

In 1519 Hernan Cortes landed in Veracruz, Mexico to conquer the Aztecs and take possession of their vast treasure. Cortes landed with only 600 men. They were outnumbered by the Aztecs who had far superior weaponry and armor. So, what did Cortes do?  He ordered the unthinkable and ordered all the ships that brought them to fight the Aztecs be burnt.  

Why in the world would he do such a thing? 

He did this so his army would have no possible way of retreat.  There was no way for them to get home.  For Cortes and his army, it was either victory or death.  Going back was not an option.  There was no turning back. 

So why do I share all of this with you?  Because you and I need to BURN OUR SHIPS!

There have been way too many times in my life (and perhaps you can relate) when I have said that I have “handed over things to the Lord” or when I claim to have let go of it and put it in the Lord’s hands.  However, too many times I pick it back up.  It could be a time you were wronged that haunts you, a worry, a fear, a habit, a struggle, a hurt, an unhealthy relationship, or countless other things.  I say I have given it to the Lord in faith, only to go back to it and carry it myself. 

We need to take a “victory or death” approach when it comes to the mission that Christ has given us. We spend our lives growing as disciples who make disciples for the glory of Christ.  We can’t go back to our former way of life.  The days of us being bitter, angry and malicious are over.  The days of self-reliance are over. When we become a follow of Jesus, we immediately become a new creation. We are called to love one another and be compassionate and forgiving, just as God forgives us. How can we do that if we are still going back to our ships that are filled with our former way of living? 

I have found that one of the most freeing moments in my life are when I have taken my cares to the foot of the cross and left them there. When I have temporarily taken them there, only to come back later and pick them back up and carry them around myself, I have found pain and further heartache and hurt. 

Can you think of a relationship where someone has wronged you or hurt you and you can’t let go of the pain, no matter how hard you try?  We are commanded by the God of heaven to forgive JUST AS HE FORGAVE US!  We can’t move forward without forgiveness.  And we can’t move forward if we keep going back to our ships. 

No retreat! 

Let’s burn our ships!

Nate Mills

September 30 – Living Courageously – Don’t Compromise Morals

Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and Matthew 6:19-24

When we got our one dog, we had an invisible fence installed. She couldn’t see it, but she knew where to stay because she would feel a little shock from her collar.  She soon learned the boundaries and wouldn’t even cross that line when her collar was off.

We set it up, not to hurt her, but to protect her. She was free to run and play and enjoy being outdoors as long as she stayed within the boundaries. Why? Because we loved her and we knew that, if she went outside that boundary, she might get tempted by what she saw on the other side, wander off and get lost.  

God has set up for us an “invisible fence” through laws and rules He wants us to follow. Not because He wants to be mean, but because He loves us and doesn’t want us to get hurt or lost in our way. The only difference is He has also given us free will and so we set our own boundaries through morals.  If our personal morals line up with God’s, everything is good.  However, we humans are often willing to push those boundaries to the point of breaking when tempted by what we see others doing and seem to be getting away with.

There is a saying that, “The grass is always greener on the other side”.  But, as the comedian Erma Bombeck used to say, “The grass is always greener over the septic tank” too.  Temptation looks nice and green – even fun – but it is what is hiding beneath the surface that can destroy us.

The fall into temptation usually starts with, “Well, maybe just once.”  Then that just once leads to, “Well that didn’t hurt!” or “Who is going to know?”  Before you know it, we are trapped in sin and wondering how we got there or how we find our way back home.

Friends can be that temptation. Jesus warned us to not be yoked to unbelievers. Being “yoked” implies submission. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us to take up HIS yoke, submit ourselves to Him every day and in every way!

He is the only one we should be yoked with or submissive to. 

Should we never associate with unbelievers?  NO!  Jesus Himself was known to be in the company of sinners.  How are they ever going to meet Jesus if we never introduce them to Him? However, they shouldn’t GUIDE our lives. 

Only Jesus should do that.  

What morals do you hold tight to?  Do you have boundaries that you will not cross?  Are they solid boundaries or are there cracks in your invisible moral fence? 

Remember, the world is watching us.  YOU might be the only Bible they ever read!  Make sure they are able to clearly see God’s guidelines written on the pages of your life.

Pat Arnold

September 29 – Living Courageously – Constructive Criticism

Read Proverbs 19:20

Each Christmas Eve, my husband would find himself sneaking to the basement to assemble complex train tracks for our kids. He would open the box and about one hundred gray, various-sized track pieces would fall out. He would sit there surrounded by straight and curved pieces, unsure of where to begin. I would take that opportunity to wish him well and leave him to figure it out!

Thankfully, the directions were included with words and pictures to help this dedicated dad assemble the pieces into a spectacular Christmas surprise. I’m sure many of you can relate to this experience. In this instance, directions are a lifeline to completing a difficult task. In life, we have much more difficult tasks to face. Relationships, parenting, and finances are just a few that we would all like to have a set of detailed directions for. The good news is that God provides the help we need to live courageously for Him.

In Proverbs 19:20, God’s Word teaches us that courageous living doesn’t mean that we have all the answers, but that we must be willing to seek out direction. It says, “Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life.” So many things in life are easier when we follow directions, not try to figure it out on our own.

God gives us several avenues to use in order to find direction for right living.

First, we have God’s Word. Wisdom is found in the pages and stories of the Bible. Accounts of men and women like Abraham, Jonah, David, Rahab and Deborah help us understand how God wants us to live. The Bible also includes advice about how to treat our fellow Christians and neighbors and, when followed, these words can cause us to live and love with courage only God can provide.

God also places certain people in our lives either for a season or a lifetime. I once heard this wise advice: It is good to have friends who are older than you and friends who are younger than you. The point being that you can learn from the older, wiser friends and influence the younger friends who can learn from you! As I pondered this, I realized it was true! I had friendships with women who were older than me who lovingly offered me advice about relationships and handling stress. Fortunately, I also had younger women around me with whom I could share bits of wisdom I had learned along the way. Sometimes, we just need a word of confirmation to reassure us that we are headed in the right direction. Other times, we need words of admonition or accountability to keep us on the right track.

Be brave and seek out these people in your life.

Finally, God gives us a direct line to Himself through prayer. When we need advice or wisdom, James tells us to simply ask (James 1:5). We can talk to God honestly, admitting we don’t know what to do. We can ask for direction, opportunities, and insight. The other part of prayer is listening for a response from God. When we are quiet and listening, God reveals His will for us through His Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches us to pray about everything, expecting God to help (Philippians 4:6).

In order to live courageously, you and I need to bravely seek the wisdom and advice of God. Will you commit to searching the Scriptures for direction? Will you send a text or meet with a friend who can encourage you? Or will you block out some time today to pray and seek God’s wisdom?

Go ahead . . . be brave!

Tammy Finney

September 28 – Living Courageously – Be Bold and Confident

Read Psalms 23:1-6 and 1 Corinthians 15:58

If I were to ask you to imagine a bold and confident person, what are the characteristics that come to mind?

In my head I think of a warrior of some type. One who is setting the pace of their battle with confrontation rather than being forced to react to it. A gladiator of action. But after reading the verses above, I am presented with a different perspective: one I believe to be the true imagery of boldness and confidence.

Psalms 23 contains one of my favorite word pictures:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies

Now, to me, that is a pretty strong example of boldness. When in the presence of my enemies, I will not be planning an attack nor will I be planning a defense to their attack. Instead, I will go sit at a table God has prepared for me and nonchalantly eat a meal right in the center of the room. I trust in His perspective on the situation so much, I will throw out any notion of fear or retaliation and sit with my sword on the ground. I will defuse the room and my own anxieties. I hate to eat when I’m nervous.

So, what a true example of inner peace, to actually EAT in that environment.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul gives us a similar visual of a spiritual warrior when he says: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you.” We might want to label this as some sort of “act of stubbornness” (IE: YOU CAN NEVER GET ME TO MOVE OR CHANGE MY MIND!) But I believe Paul is referencing the ability to walk straight into the center of an “unsafe for Christians” environment and not be shaken. To be calm in the eye of the storm… to have enough self-control to stand firm and not be moved!

What is your definition of being bold and confident? Is it more sword swinging than table sharing?

When was the last time you had a conversation with someone of a different political view or religion? Could you talk about hot topics without being overrun by your own emotions? What good is a perspective if we lack the ability to convey it in a calm, inoffensive way? I encourage you to be more than just a person with opinions. Seek perspective based within actual relationships.

That, to me, is the true definition of a bold and confident spiritual warrior.

Never forget, our most poignant spiritual battles have nothing to do with who we defeat and everything to do with who we save.

Nate Torrence

September 27 – Living Courageously – Be Prepared

Read 2 Timothy 4:1-8 and Matthew 24:44

“Be prepared.”

It’s the Boy Scout motto. Founded in 1910, The Boys Scouts of America developed this motto because they wanted young people to be prepared to react quickly to an emergency. World War I was coming, and soon the Boy Scouts — a service-minded organization — would need to help out.

To be prepared in Boy Scouts means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.” Over a century later, they still teach young people to be prepared.

Some of us learned The Boy Scouts laws which are to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. These are all noble goals to strive for. It is also part of being prepared for life.

The verses above are about the second coming of Jesus! So how do you be prepared for that? We can start by speaking about the truth of God in love, talking to others about spiritual matters and know that we need to be equipped to patiently talk about and carefully defend our faith in Jesus. We can be growing as Christians on a daily basis and help others grow. We can be a great and godly example to others.

“Be prepared in season and out of season” has been the theme of The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), an interdenominational Christian sports ministry impacting the world for Jesus Christ through the influence of Christian athletes and coaches. They use this verse to remind young people to practice their sport and their Christian faith more than just in season. It is part of being prepared. I find it inspiring when an athlete talks about their faith in Jesus after participating in a challenging sporting event. It tells a world that is full of spiritual junk food that they are prepared and ready for the return of Jesus!

To be prepared includes patience – to be able to accept delay, suffering, or interruptions in a reasonable way. To be patient encourages thoughtful and appropriate responses to comments or criticisms. It means to BE PREPARED to wait, take a step back if necessary, and consider the consequences of a decision before proceeding.

Are you patient?

In the Bible, Jesus fully demonstrated these virtues of patience and being prepared. He overlooked arrogance from religious leaders, did not condemn the skeptical, listened to the lost and endured much suffering. Patience is selfless and an expression of love!

Are you prepared to be patient?

It is part of living courageously in a world that has turned its back on God.

Tom Weckesser

September 26 – Living Courageously – Strong & Courageous

Read Joshua 1:1-9

As Joshua was invited to step forward and lead God’s people into the Promised Land, there were certainly reasons that he might cower in fear. Perhaps you can identify with some of those reasons.

  1. He would fill some huge shoes! Moses left quite a void. It is always easier to follow a failure than it is an all-star!
  2. He would face some enormous opposition! The land was occupied by other people groups. In fact, he had been there before and witnessed powerful people (some of them were GIANTS) living in large, fortified cities (Num. 13:27-32).
  3. He would lead some obstinate people. These were the children of those who had repeatedly dragged their feet in rebellion to God’s plan.

In today’s reading, God gave Joshua some great reasons to counter fear with courage. Ultimately, He promised Joshua success. Although Moses’ shoes were big, they would be filled by Joshua as God came alongside of him (v. 5b). Even though the opposition was real, no one would be able to stand against Joshua (v. 5a). In spite of the Israelites history of rebellion, they would possess the land (v. 2).

We are not always like Joshua and the Israelites. In the things we set out to do, God doesn’t always promise us the successful outcome or the fulfillment of our dreams. Still, we can have the same kind of courage. We can have courage as we recognize God’s abiding presence. That was not a unique promise given to Joshua. It is actually restated for all believers in Christ in Hebrews 13:5. Nothing can separate you from His omnipresence (Ps. 139) and His endless love (Rom. 8:35-39).

Like Joshua, we can have courage as we trust God’s eternal word. Did you catch the instruction about the Law? Joshua was to read it, meditate on it, and obey it. If you infuse these practices in your life, you will discover that you are walking in step with the Lord. He will guide you. If you abide in His word, you will know what to ask and will experience His answers (Jn. 15:7).

You and I can live courageously as we walk in His presence and live out His word.

Steve Kern

September 25 – Living Courageously

Read 1 Samuel 17:1-58 and John 16:33 and Philippians 4:13

The movie, Hoosiers, is a story about overcoming adversity and a leader who battles through criticism. It is based on a true story of a high school basketball team playing in the Indiana state tournament. At Butler Fieldhouse, and before the largest crowd they have ever seen, the Hickory Huskers were big underdogs against the favored South Bend Central Bears in the state championship game. The Hickory team gathered in the locker room for a prayer before the game. The team chaplain read to the team from 1 Samuel 17: “And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on the head, and he fell to the ground. Amen.”

Then the team went out and played the game. The movie is about a coach and his team and living courageously through many obstacles, curve balls and uncertainties.

Just like our lives.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33

To live courageously involves effort. It is not easy. Take heart! Be prepared. God has a plan for you.

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

Let’s strive to face challenging situations with confidence and bravery. I have officiated over 1400 high school football games and have experienced fear and lack of confidence at times while officiating. What helped me is I would simply repeat Philippians 4:13 over and over in my mind. Sometimes I would say it out loud to myself before a play. It helped to give me confidence and to stay focused. We all face fear and lack of confidence at times. Reciting a scripture verse in difficult situations can help us live courageously.

Have you tried it?

While everyone stood around, too afraid to confront Goliath, David wasn’t scared. David had faith in God and believed He would deliver Goliath into his hands. David was correct and Israel enjoyed a period of peace.

Just as David wasn’t afraid to confront the giant, we shouldn’t be afraid to confront our giants either. Regardless of what giants face us – illness, job loss, relationship issues, financial problems, the challenge of being a Christian spouse and parent or other giants – we can step out in faith and know God can work everything together for our good (Romans 8:28).

Prepare your heart for this devotional series about living courageously. Consider how you can get closer to God every day and be a godly influence on others. Consider being prepared, bold, and confident while embracing change.

Live with courage for Jesus Christ in a world that is challenging.

Tom Weckesser