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The following was written by Brian Shepler, President and EVP of Client Services, located in Ronald Blue Trust's national office in Atlanta, Georgia.
Inventor Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Simply put, this famous quote means that our efforts and hard work contribute a significantly greater degree to our successes than the ideas that originally inspired our work. While I agree that dedication, perseverance, and follow-through are critical elements for success, the mental “light bulb” that lit up for me recently was just how important inspiration can be as an ongoing motivational element in our lives.
Life can be hard! Jesus reminded his disciples in John chapter 16 that “in this world, you will have trouble.” And, in James 1, Christians are encouraged to “consider it all joy, brothers, when you encounter various trials.” Scripture prepares us for a journey marked with faith-building challenges. This can take various forms, from changes in circumstances to personal maladies or relational conflicts, to name a few.
So, how are you successfully navigating the faith-building challenges on the unique journey God has designed for you? God’s Word and His faithful presence are two of my go-to resources. In addition, He can also provide strength and wisdom through the people He places in our lives. Over the past year, I have been inspired by people who are thriving on their journeys – people like you and me whose stories have provided me with powerful motivation just when I needed it most. I’d like to introduce you to some of them here:
Greg and I met 20+ years ago and until just recently, I admired him most for his commitment to Christ and consistent faithfulness as a friend over the years. The gift of unanticipated inspiration Greg has provided me, and thousands of others, came on the heels of his cancer diagnosis in 2012 and the manner in which he has since navigated treatment (including over 65 rounds of chemotherapy) and two unexpected heart attacks. Greg is living the gospel “out loud” daily, investing his time and influence in causes that help save the souls of men. I encourage you to be inspired.
In October 2009, Linda responded to a unique assignment from God when she heard that the body of a newborn baby was discovered in a downtown dumpster, wearing nothing more than a diaper. Linda took amazing strides to acknowledge the value of that baby’s life and also formed a ministry, “He Knows Your Name,” whose mission it is to ensure that every child receives a name in life and dignity and honor in death. I encourage you to be inspired.
In addition to being a successful professional football player (currently with the Baltimore Ravens), Benjamin has faithfully leveraged the platform God has provided to communicate powerfully on the topic of racism in America. Through his blog, books, and public speaking engagements, Benjamin inspires me and other Christians to live up to Christ’s high calling to “love one another.” I encourage you to be inspired.
Katherine Lorraine: At the age of seven, Katherine was cast in a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie and over the next several years, God blessed her acting pursuits, providing roles in multiple films and television commercials. What inspired me about Katherine was her recent decision to follow God’s leading into a public school environment, setting her Hollywood dreams aside for the opportunity to be salt and light in her local high school theatre program. Last summer, Katherine served on a medical missions team in Guatemala and immersed herself in a two-week apologetics intensive, reinforcing the foundations of her faith. She is holding fast to God in the midst of perhaps the most challenging social environment facing today’s youth. Katherine is my oldest daughter, and seeing her make her decisions prayerfully and intentionally for His purpose refreshes me. More important, I hope that it pleases her Heavenly Father as He continues to grow and mature her spiritually. I encourage you to be inspired.
A new year can mean fresh starts, new goals, and new challenges. We know faith-building challenges can help us see more clearly God’s faithfulness and abundant blessings in our lives. After you look to Him and His Word, intentionally observe those whom He has placed around you. No matter the person, from a nationally recognized figure to someone in your own home, His encouragement is readily available to you! In 2017, I encourage you to be inspired.
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