Friday, April 06, 2007

The Coward

What's it like to be a coward? To be so afraid that we cringe? To be so afraid that we renege on our beliefs?

Remember Peter in the Bible? He was a typical coward at one period of his life. Normally, Peter was known as bold and outspoken, impulsive in defending his firend of several years--Jesus, so why did he suddenly deny knowing him? Why did he become a coward? How could one small pointing finger, one small girl, cause Peter to "tuck tail" and run?

Was it fear of embarrassment? Rejection? Laughter? Torture? Death? What did it take to make Peter forget a friend at a crucial time?

What am I like? What would it take to make me back off? What kind of moral fiber spins through my being? Am I strong or weak?

I imagine Peter, after his ill-famed denial, had a sudden rude awakening, because we're told he wept. Did he toss and turn in his bed? Scold and scorn himself for his weakness? Did he shun the other friends of Jesus because of what he'd done? Suddenly become a recluse, wanting to avoid talking with anyone? Did he learn his lesson?

How did he feel when those brown eyes of Jesus touched his soul?

I pray that I may be strong: strong to hold onto my determination, my goals, my beliefs. I work hard to be loyal to those I love and cherish. To hold my head high, be happy, and good-natured. I strive to use the talents I've been given.

Easy? No. Definitely. But if we cultivate what we know makes us a better person, doesn't that grow within us? When we're convinced we're doing what God wants for us, when we have a love inside us for doing what He's called us to (whatever talent we're using), I think our courage will grow stronger.

Courage is a trait that most everyone admires. But if we don't work at strenthening ourselves, how can we succeed when a climax enters our life? If we allow ourselves to drift through life, weak and saggy with undeveloped talents and traits, how on earth can we think we're going to show any kind of courage when we're facing "that little maid in our lives?"

Remember that story where the soldiers entered the sanctuary of a church and set a picture of Christ on the altar? Everyone who would renounce Him was ordered to pass by, spit upon it, and go to one side. What happened? Everyone in the church did so.

But one. One little girl who took her dress tail and wiped the spit off the picture. What an impression she made upon those soldiers.

Let me be brave. Let me ignore pointing fingers and "small accusatory maids."

We're in Virginia and is it cold! Who said Spring was here? I want to have a serious sit-down talk with that person. Laugh.

Most of us know someone who's suffering from (or we're worrying about ourselves) heart disease or high cholesterol. With Easter, and usually a big dinner, coming up Sunday, here are some hints that would be good for everyone to follow.

1. This one is obvious: exercise. At least 20 minutes a day. Bike, walking.

2. Eat a piece of dark chocolate several times a week. Believe it or not, it does have great benefits. Check out the reports.

3. Get plenty of rest. Studies show that those who get less than seven hours a night have a slightly higher risk of heart problems.

4. Eat fish at least once a week. Those who do have a one-third less chance of a heart attack.

5. Eat a high fiber breakfast at least four times a week.

6. Prepare your own salad dressing and add flaxseed oil. Has seven grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Good for overall heart health.

7. Sprinkle one ounce of flax seed on your cereal or yogurt every day.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me." --Erma Bombeck


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