Take the opportunity to reassess, readjust and realign your heart to Jesus this Lent as we take you through a series of devotionals on 'courage' from our MAF Bible study workbook, Recalibrate. 

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As you read through the story and Bible verses, allow the questions to guide you into a conversation with God – using the time to reassess you current condition and, where necessary, change direction.

 

TO FACE FEAR

The Car Wash

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

Words by Becky Waterman

‘There will be a lot to get used to, moving to a new country with a completely different culture. Expect there to be difficult days.’ The advice poured in before we stepped off the tarmac and on to the plane that would transport us to a new and very different life in Africa.

There was a lot to get used to, not least the red dust which covers everything in the dry season. Our white car soon took on a distinctly orange hue.

At the top of the hill, just a few minutes away, was a car wash. I drove past it almost every day, and yet I couldn’t bring myself to take the car there.

I was quite happy walking into markets, trying out my limited language skills to make purchases and meet new people, and yet the not-at-all terrifying car wash had me paralysed with a completely irrational fear.

The things that scare us don’t always make sense. Sometimes they are downright peculiar.

In the book of Joshua, after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites were now ready to enter the promised land, with Joshua leading them.

I’m sure Joshua felt fear stepping into the unknown — both the completely rational fear of the battles to come, but also worries regarding the smaller tasks involved in moving to a new country.

God’s response isn’t to criticise Joshua for being afraid, or to distinguish between the rational and irrational fears. Instead, He says, ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9).

If we only knew the fullness of the immeasurable strength we have in Christ Jesus, then I believe we would have the courage to face every fear, and to conquer it with power, love and self-discipline.

One sunny morning, inspired by 2 Timothy 1:7, I climbed into my car and drove to the car wash, only to be greeted with a warm, welcoming and not-at-all terrifying smile. Two hours later, I picked up our vehicle — now sparkling clean.

Whatever fears you may be facing — no matter how big or small — take courage, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Dear Father, please help me to remember that I am not going through life alone, for You are always with me. Though I’m sure there will be times when I will feel fear, help me to rest in the assurance that Your power is greater than anything I will ever face. Amen.

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Psalm 34:4 (NIV)

I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.

  1. What fear or anxiety would you benefit from bringing to God in prayer?
  2. What can you use as a reminder to look to God in fearful or anxious situations?

Take this opportunity to hear what the Lord might be saying to you and to make a personal response.

Father, expose any fear that I may be harbouring within me, and help me to offer it up to You; replacing it with Your promises.

About the author

Becky Waterman grew up on the Cornish coastline; a far cry from the hustle and bustle of life in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. Becky and her husband Dave joined MAF in 2017. While Dave busies himself fixing MAF Uganda’s aircraft, Becky leads Bible studies, preaches and takes the occasional day to work on her next novel.

TO PERSEVERE

Unexpected Turns

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere...

Hebrews 10:35-36 (NIV)

Words by Mandy Glass

One Sunday morning, my husband and I started out for our first-ever bike ride with our newly purchased mountain bikes. It was a great start to the day as we cycled through the villages and coffee gardens behind Mount Hagen Airport, Papua New Guinea.

When we returned home from our ride, we decided to join the crowd for the church’s barbecue lunch. I ‘shook my fridge’ and was able to contribute a nice salad. Suddenly, my husband approached me, saying, ‘Medevac! We need to depart now.’

I wasn’t ready! The dishes from breakfast and lunch still needed to be washed, the suitcase packed and food for the week prepared. This was too much exercise for one day!

Somehow, we eventually found ourselves airborne and, with sunny Mount Hagen behind us, we began flying past cloud covered mountains and ridges. As the flight progressed, the weather became more challenging and, when crossing Lake Kutubu, visibility became limited. Our only option was to emergency land at Moro airfield.

During our overnight stay there, we were encouraged by the staff. Many came to shake my husband’s hand and thank us for the way MAF served their people. ‘MAF,’ they said, ‘is the airline of our heart.’

The following day, the staff prayed for us and we were finally able to medevac the seriously injured man to hospital. As I observed my husband flying, I saw his confidence in being able to operate the aircraft safely in difficult situations, aware both ofhis human limitations and of the rigorous requirements safe flying demands. Mathias persevered to get the patient to hospital, but only went as far as he was able.

I believe this is what Jesus would like to see in us – the confidence to follow His call and to persevere in our faith, deeds and actions, through sunny as well as cloudy days.

Jesus gives us the strength and wisdom we need to navigate through life and provides us with commands and guidelines to show us how we should live. He always keeps His promise to be with us and He cheers us on our journey — finding ways to encourage us even in the remotest corners of the world.

Dear Father, thank You for guiding me through the clouds when my vision is blurry and the path ahead is unclear, and thank You for Your Word — the navigation system that keeps us safe and helps us persevere. Amen.

2 Thessalonians 3:11-13 (NIV)

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NIV)

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

  1. What can we hold on to from the good times to cope with challenges that come our way?
  2. What situation can you bring to the Lord to give you strength to persevere?

Take this opportunity to hear what the Lord might be saying to you and to make a personal response.

Father, show me where in my life I need to persevere and go the extra mile, and where I should accept my limitations.

About the author

Mandy Glass works as the Communication Officer in MAF’s Papua New Guinea programme. Along with making sure that people hear about MAF’s impact there, she enjoys hopping on an MAF flight — preferably when her husband Mathias is pilot — to reach isolated communities and capture interesting stories. She loves baking her own bread.

 

TO SPEAK

But They Need to Hear

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.

Acts 20:24 (NIV)

Words by Brad Westom

Why do you think you are a Christian?’ my new friend asked me as we stood on a windswept plateau in Lesotho. I looked at him with a mixture of awe, confusion, and joy. It was the first time in ten years of working in Africa that an African brother had asked me that. Normally, a direct question would go against his culture.

And so started my friendship with Nate (which means ‘mister’ in the Sesotho language) Pule. Although he was from a modern capital city in the lowlands, he had answered God’s call to live in the mountains, in a hut with a dirt floor, a grass roof, no electricity or plumbing, and severely cold winters.

Courage boiled out of this man. I soon found that his courage was not limited to asking bold questions — it extended to risking his very life for Christ. Two years later, during an armed robbery in his hut, Pule was shot in the leg with a shotgun while his family looked on in horror.

The next night, Pule, travelling on horseback out of the mountains, arrived at the hospital. Less than three weeks after surgery, he stood waiting with a cane in hand for an MAF flight back to the mountains. ‘Why are you going back, Pule?’ I asked. ‘They never did catch those guys.’

‘Because my people in that village still need to hear about Jesus.’ ‘Those men could come back,’ I continued. ‘I know,’ he responded, ‘and Jesus knows it too. Yet, He is asking my family and me to go back and tell the rest of the people about His love for them.’

I was deeply moved by my friend’s faithfulness and courage. We loaded him and his family into the plane, and I flew them back to their village.

Two years later, with the help of MAF, a church in the USA, and a local Basotho church, the villagers finished building a church on top of a windswept plateau — because one man and his family courageously followed the Saviour

Lord, help me to be strong and fearless in making Your name known in my sphere of influence. Help me to not be afraid of people or situations, real or imagined, but to trust in You wherever you lead. Amen.

Acts 20:21-24 (NIV)

I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Exodus 4:10-11 (NLT)

But Moses pleaded with the LORD, ‘O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.’ Then the LORD asked Moses, ‘Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.’

  1. According to these verses, in what ways do Paul and Moses take courage to go and proclaim God’s truth?
  2. What can we ask God to equip us with, to help us be bold when telling others about His Son?

Take this opportunity to hear what the Lord might be saying to you and to make a personal response.

Father, help me to take courage in You and Your promises. Show me in what places in my life, and with whom, to speak of Your goodness.

About the author

Brad Westom, a Pilot, Mechanic, Instructor Pilot, Chief Pilot and Country Director, has served with MAF for 25 years. The son of an air force pilot, he always wanted to fly. After giving his life to the Lord, he ended up serving with MAF in Africa, along with his wife Kristian and their daughters. He now works in Member Care, serving MAF worldwide.

 

TO FAIL

Broken

But He said to me, ‘...my power is made perfect in weakness.’

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Words by Daniel ‘Goose’ Geaslen

A few years ago, I came home from a flight completely broken. Years of stress and interpersonal conflict had finally taken their toll. A simple radio conversation had been the last straw, and I’d had enough.

Over the next six weeks, I sought help and eventually found myself on an internet call with a professional counsellor. He recognised that I was experiencing a major depressive episode and told me: ‘Daniel, you need to get out of there.’

Those words brought immense relief — I wasn’t crazy. Something really was wrong, and it could be dealt with. But his words also brought fear. What would people think of a missionary who failed?

From the outside, what I was experiencing looked like a failure and, in many ways, it even felt like failure. I’d spent my entire adult life working toward being a pilot with MAF and now I was having to admit that being a pilot with MAF had broken me.

With a mixture of hope and fear, I made my situation known. There were many different reactions to my openness. Some supporters and friends questioned whether my wife and I should return to Indonesia, while others raced to give encouragement and love.

In the midst of my doubt and pain, God was always with me and I was able to learn better how to be with Him. The months following my depressive episode were difficult, and the recovery itself was only a small part of my nearly two-year journey back overseas with MAF.

God allows failures in our lives for our good. We can fear what others will think of us and hide, or we can be open to the love and growth God has in store for us. There are days when I wish things could have been different, but the lessons I’ve learned are ones I’ll always treasure.

Understanding God’s love for us will give us the strength and courage to embrace our failures. As we walk in that love, our failures — though painful — can even become good and beautiful

Lord Jesus, You know the pain of rejection but You still chose to embrace that in love for me. May I find my value in being a recipient of Your love and not in what others think of me. Give me the courage to accept my own failures as opportunities for Your love and grace to shine through me. Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

  1. What can we change as Christians about the way we approach our own shortcomings?
  2. Is there a weakness that would be helpful to bring to the Lord?

Take this opportunity to hear what the Lord might be saying to you and to make a personal response.

Father, show me the areas of my life where I need to take courage in You to overcome the fear of failure. Help me to know where this fear comes from, and how to replace it with Your Truth.

About the author

Daniel ‘Goose’ Geaslen is a pilot and aircraft mechanic with MAF in Papua, Indonesia. Before joining MAF nearly 10 years ago, Daniel worked in Africa and Central Asia as a commercial pilot and then on the support crew for wildland firefighting aircraft in Nevada. Daniel, his wife and three children seek to be a family that loves and cares for people of all walks of life.

 

TO WAIT

Not Yet

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)

Words by Linda Ringenberg

‘I’m ready to go back overseas,’ my husband confided to me after seven years of working at MAF headquarters. I felt an immediate rush of fear; we both knew God was calling us to go again, but I wondered if I was ready.

We had previously been living in Kalimantan, Indonesia, but returned to the USA in 2002 when our five-year-old daughter, Hannah, was suddenly diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. After God took her home in 2003, we accepted an invitation to work at MAF headquarters and, throughout that time, God brought us much healing. But, after battling with bouts of depression, I was scared to go back.

I began to pray, ‘Lord, if this is the time You have called us to go back overseas, please show me. Even show us where You want us to go.’ Dave came home from flying a few days later. ‘I saw something weird today,’ he said vaguely, ‘It was a cloud.’ Then, after a pause, he added, ‘It was perfectly shaped like Papua, Indonesia – with the bird’s head and everything.’

Was this an answer to my prayer? Encouraged and challenged by this miraculous sign, the next day I told my husband that I believed this was a sign from God for us to return overseas. If he was ready, then I was too!

We waited expectantly for an invitation to serve in Papua, but none came. After some time in intense prayer, we realised that He had given us a vision for the future and that it was not yet time.

Six months later, we received a short-term invitation to return to Kalimantan. We were able to spend a year in what had been Hannah’s home on this earth, which brought us healing and closure. Whilst there, we received another invitation to return to overseas ministry full-time — in Papua!

That was seven years ago. We know now, that without that year in Kalimantan, we wouldn’t have been ready to face ministry in Papua. God’s timing may not make sense to us at the time, but it is always perfect. The work God did in our hearts, to prepare us for future ministry, was certainly worth the wait.

Heavenly Father, sometimes Your timing doesn’t make sense to us. You have told us in Your Word that Your ways are not our ways, but they are higher. Help us to trust in Your perfect timing and be willing and courageous enough to embrace it. Amen.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

James 5:7-8 (NIV)

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

  1. What can we remember each day about God’s timing?
  2. What situation can you bring to the Lord today, trusting in His perfect timing?

Take this opportunity to hear what the Lord might be saying to you and to make a personal response.

Father, show me the areas in my life where I need to stop striving and rushing around. Help me to have the courage in You alone, to be able to stop and wait.

About the author

Linda Ringenberg, her husband Dave and sons CJ and Ryan, serves with MAF in Papua. Dave is Director of Operations, and Linda is a homemaker. The family, which has also worked in Kalimantan and Idaho, has served with MAF since 1997. Although most of Linda’s time is spent caring for her family, she also enjoys writing, painting and studying God’s Word with other women.

TO LET GO

Three Jonahs and a Plane

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Ephesians 4:31 (NIV)

Words by Jenny Davies

‘Hello, my name is Jonah,’ said a warm friendly voice. I turn from the window to see someone manoeuvring carefully into the seat beside me. I introduce myself, chuckling inwardly. I’m on-flight, bound for my first overseas trip with MAF, and I’m seated beside Jonah!

‘Have you heard of Jonah?’ he asks, with an accent I can’t quite place. ‘He’s a prophet in the Bible, and a traveller just like me.’

My smile broadens, and our conversation begins. Jonah, it turns out, is an Egyptian Coptic Christian who has led a fascinating life. By the time we land in Paris, I think to myself how little this personable fellow resembles his biblical namesake – the peevish, disobedient Old Testament anti-hero who was swallowed by a fish.

You have to peel back the layers of history to understand where the prophet Jonah was coming from. He lived at a time when Assyria was terrorising the nations within its reach. Jonah would have heard the bloodcurdling stories even before he received his assignment.

We don’t know exactly what happened, just that Jonah was carrying so much emotional baggage that it sent him off in the opposite direction, a journey that ended in the belly of a fish. Three days of unplanned submarine travel was enough to bring him to his senses. Jonah ends up fulfilling his assignment, Nineveh repents, and God turns a disobedient detour into a story of redemption.

The book, however, does not end here, but with a bitter Jonah still battling his anger and pain. In his reluctant obedience, Jonah struggled with God’s mercy towards Nineveh because ‘to Jonah this seemed very wrong.’ (Jonah 4:4).

As people jostle in the aisles around me, and bags are retrieved precariously from overhead lockers, I ponder the Jonah moments in my own life, where I may have disobeyed God, been blinded by prejudice, or refused to forgive.

I think about the horrific persecution of Coptic Christians in my travelling companion’s home nation of Egypt. Today, bullets and bombs are raining down on worshippers, and it’s horrible, tragic and wrong.

I wonder at how God always roots out our true motives with a heart that is so much bigger than ours. And how He reminds us – even through plant eating worms – that we are His chosen vessels in order to reach people in a broken world ‘that cannot tell their right hand from their left’ (Jonah 4:11).

We can journey through life trying not to injure anyone, as we heave around our baggage. Or we can let go of anger, control, bitterness and pain. We can let go of the right to flee from God.

Lord, help me to let go of any thoughts or feelings I have that are not of You. Help me to lay them down at the foot of the cross so I can step into Your calling without any baggage. Thank You that, through difficult times, I can cling to You, my heavenly Father, because You Love me and always have my best interests at heart. Amen.

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  1. What can we do to let go of things that are outside of our control?
  2. While reading the passage, are there any ‘Jonah moments’ in your life that come to mind?

Take this opportunity to hear what the Lord might be saying to you and to make a personal response.

Father, we were never meant to shoulder our burdens alone. Help me to be honest with You about how I am feeling, and show me where I can let go and ask for help.

About the author

Jenny Davies came to faith at the age of 18 through the witness of a missionary in Chile who introduced her to a Jesus she had never previously known. After eight years of faithful service as the Communications Officer for MAF UK in Folkestone, Jenny has taken the next step on her exciting journey and is now based in Juba, serving as the Communications Officer for South Sudan and Kenya.

 

 

TO LEAD

Stepping Out

Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10-11 (AMP)

The Bible often tells us not to fear, so it must be a natural reaction! In Joshua 1, God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous, several times. He also says to keep the ‘book of the law’, his Bible, in front of his eyes. In other words: ‘Keep looking at it!’

I believe we need to do that because this is how and where we can get strength. And then there is that wonderful reminder, ‘for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.’ He is with us — He goes with us!

I grew up in a Christian family. I knew about God and I can truly say that I have never doubted His existence. Even when I wasn’t walking closely with Him in my teenage years, I never doubted He was there. But I really came to know more of Him, and experienced His guidance, encouragement and direction, when I read the Bible for myself.

I love the many promises of encouragement in the book of Isaiah. They have spoken to me directly and in many personally challenging situations. They have stood out from the page and been just the thing I needed to read or hear at a particular time.

His promises can steady us, help us, guide us, calm us, direct us and give us courage.

I encourage you to read them, then re-read them. Let them speak into your heart and your present situation. In Hebrews 4:12, it says that the Word of God is alive and active. It is fresh every time we go to it — it is never stale!

It tells us that He is with us. He has promised to go before us and to go with us. It is such a reassurance to know that whatever assignment He gives us, He will not leave us to struggle alone.

He promises to take hold of our right hand to help and strengthen us. Wow! That’s so encouraging, so affirming. It gives us the courage to face our challenges with peace, trusting in Him.

But we need to do this by faith and in faith. God tells us to be bold — to look forward and move forward. I have heard it said that sometimes we need to step out on to what seems like tissue paper and, as we step on to it, in faith, God turns it into solid rock under our feet.

Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and You know how we are made. Thank You for Your Word and the many promises we find in it. May we be faithful to read Your Word and be strengthened by it. Thank You for the deep assurance which comes from knowing that You are with us and that You have promised to never, ever leave us. Amen.

Joshua 1:6-9 (AMP)

Be strong and confident and courageous... Only be strong and very courageous... This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall read [and meditate on] it day and night, so that you may be careful to do [everything] in accordance with all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will be successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

  1. Which of God’s promises helps give you courage in difficult times?
  2. How can you remember this promise to guide you?

Father, show me where I need to rely on You for refreshment and protection, and reveal how I can better lead those for whom I am responsible.

About the author

Ruth Whitaker is CEO of MAF UK and has led the team there for 13 years. Her interest in aviation started at a young age while visiting air shows with her father. She later studied aeronautical engineering and worked in the aircraft manufacturing industry. Joining MAF enabled her to combine a passion for God’s Word with a longstanding interest in aircraft.

 

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