Aches and Praise Five Hundred & Eighty Four

November 18, 2022
Dear friends,  
In recent weeks we have examined six Biblical strategies for a lifetime of purpose, as explained by Robert J. Morgan in his book “Mastering Life Before It’s Too Late.” In the seventh pattern – “Live As If” – Morgan writes about former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who hunted dangerous animals all over the world and conducted foreign affairs by speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Morgan writes: “But as a child, Roosevelt was a weak lad who suffered terrible bouts of asthma, which left him fearful and withdrawn. He described himself as ‘a rather sickly and awkward boy.’ He found solace in reading. But his reading changed his life one day when he devoured a seafaring novel by Frederick Marryat, the British Royal Naval officer who began writing fiction during the days of Dickens.”

In his autobiography, Teddy Roosevelt recalled: “When a boy, I read a passage in one of Marryat’s books which always impressed me. In the passage the captain of some small British man-of-war is explaining to the hero how to acquire the quality of fearlessness. He says that at the outset almost every man is frightened when he goes into action, but that the course to follow is for the man to keep such a grip on himself that he can act just as if he was not frightened. This is the theory upon which I went.”

Morgan writes: “Adopting the philosophy of the fictional British captain, Roosevelt began training himself to act as if he were not afraid, as if he were not sick, and as if he were not sad. He discovered an astonishing psychological fact: our emotions will grudgingly fall into line and follow the attitudes we choose to adopt with our minds. That is, our feelings will gradually follow the choices we will for them.” Morgan quotes Roosevelt: “There were all kinds of things of which I was afraid at first, ranging from grizzly bears to ‘mean’ horses and gunfighters; but by acting as if I were not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid. Most men can have the same experience if they choose.”

Morgan then quotes William James, the father of American psychology: “By regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully, to look around cheerfully, and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there. If such conduct doesn’t make you soon feel cheerful, nothing else on that occasion can. To feel brave, act as if we were brave, use all our will to that end, and a courage fit will very likely replace the fit of fear.”

In many areas of life, we can easily succumb to fear. Focusing on helping others is one way that we can replace fear with faith. Robert Morgan quotes Charles Haddon Spurgeon: “In prayer, there should always be some definite objects for which we should plead … count them as if they were received … act as if you were sure you should have them.” I am very grateful for all the people who pray for me, Karen and our family. Your prayers have helped me write a weekly blog for the past eleven years and I pray that the Lord will encourage you as you look to Him for all your needs.

Scripture for the weekend: “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:3 (NIV)

Thought for the weekend: “Peace and prayer go hand in hand. Scripture reminds us in Philippians 4:6-7 to bring our requests to God through prayer and petition and “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Our Daily Bread Ministries Canada


By His grace,