Neither age nor gender defines what bravery looks like.

Being brave emerges from the strength God gives us.

God calls us to be brave enough to love others at all times.

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The seventy-two returned joyously, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit themselves to us in your name.”

Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Look, I have given you authority to crush snakes and scorpions underfoot. I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, don’t rejoice because the spirits submit to you. Rejoice instead that your names are written in heaven.”

Luke 10:17-20

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I served as a summer missionary during college in the barrio of San Antonio in Texas. Being tall, blond, and white, I stood out in this neighborhood, which was marked by violence and poverty. I received clear instructions to stay indoors the first week and remain within the mission center fence (topped with barbed wire) the second week for my safety. Once word spread in the community that I came there to work with their children, people welcomed my presence with open arms. I later ventured down alleys and streets, even sometimes at night.

I marvel now at my fearlessness, which some might describe as foolishness. The street violence – within blocks of the mission center – that bookended my time there never occurred during the summer months. I rejoiced in what God was doing within me and through me. This introduction to poverty cultivated compassion. I also realized the depth of abundance that characterized my upbringing. The extreme disparity between my college campus and this neighborhood kept me focused on God who sent me rather than on what I managed to contribute.

Brian Abel

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God, keep me humble and focused on you – the one who calls my name and sends me out. You are the one who empowers me to serve and love others. Amen.

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God’s strength allows us to be brave – to love fearlessly.

The journey may include challenges, discouragement, rejection, and betrayal.

Stay focused on the One who calls us forward and holds us up.

Brian Abel

Brian Abel serves as a church staff member in Beaumont, Texas. He thoroughly enjoys family gatherings, congregational relationships, friendships, tennis matches, ski trips, and writing projects.

Upon the Eternal

Jon Chacko

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