A Call For Action

Thursday, October 24, 2019
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Thy Way Not Mine O Lord"1 (Lyrics)

Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)

A major USA bank has recently been running television advertisements with the theme, "I Can."

It has caused me to think about how frequently we are tempted to add the three letters "n-o-t" after the word "can". In fact, it is so common that the usual abbreviation of "cannot" is "can't".

Even in the commercial world, there is wide recognition that it is necessary to take positive action in order to accomplish anything.

Another major corporation ran advertisements under the theme, "Just do it."

Twenty-plus years ago, I visited a school in rural Jamaica where the principal and teachers were working under very difficult circumstances.

I remember speaking in a classroom that would have been no larger than 300 square feet. That might sound adequate, but in fact, there was a curtain down the middle, and that room housed two classes.

The noise from the other classroom made it nearly impossible to hear. A young student asked me a question, and I had to move from the front and stand beside her before I could even hear her question.

Despite the challenges of inadequate facilities, the principal and her devoted teachers worked diligently to do their jobs. Jacks River Public School was blessed with a very devoted staff.

The principal had obtained four computers, which she set up in her small office. She loaded a computer-based reading program that she used to teach struggling students.

I possess the workbook of a grade four boy who, on September 7, 1998, couldn't even print his name. The principal worked with Darren every day, guiding him through the computer training program.

Just three weeks later, on September 28, 1998, he wrote, "A fish can hear very well. A fish has its ears inside its head just behind the eye."

That little workbook is one of my treasured possessions.

While the outstanding pedagogical achievement is very noteworthy, I was pleasantly surprised by the response from the principal when I congratulated her. She responded by quoting today's verse from Philippians 4:13.

She was operating in a situation that most of us would have considered extremely difficult, if not impossible. Clearly, she had decided to be positive, and she taught me a lesson that I have not forgotten.

Every day, situations occur where it may seem easier to be negative and add "not" after "I can." The resulting "I can't" too often turns us in the wrong direction.

May each of us rise to the challenge to "just do it" as we face difficult and challenging opportunities. May we be positive and move forward in the strength that the Lord gives us.

Prayer: Dear Father, help us always to be positive. Help us to realize that You give us the strength to follow You and help others. Help us to show Your love in all we do. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Vincent Walter <vwalter@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you so much Vince.

    An inspiring story, Vincent. Thanks for sharing.

    My favourite Bible quote and so true, thanks and blessings Vincent!

    Thank you for this very interesting daily reading and your outreach with it. Bless you.

    A wonderful story and blessing. Thank you, Vince!
    Blessings on your day,

    Good morning Vincent,
    What a marvelous reflection! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and hope in scripture.

    Well said Vincent. We need the Lord – and in His strength, and by His guidance, we really CAN do a lot more than we could ever imagine. Isn’t that great news??!!!

    What a great job you did in describing so clearly this difficult situation that we were able to see it along with you! Your life stories are so welcome, Vincent. Grateful that you share them.

    This is one of those weeks when I really need this reminder!
    — No Matter what your challenges are there is someone who has a tougher one.
    You gave a great example.

    Dear Vincent, I always enjoy your devotional. Today even more. As I was a teacher, my goal was to make sure all the children could read. I have been wondering what your career was, it sounds as if it was an interesting one. Thank you.

    Leaning on the Lord and being able to do what sometimes seems beyond my ability is a really important theme to me. Thanks for your wonderful ‘picture’ of a real-life example – sort of like the story of The Little Engine That Could. God bless.

    Hello Vincent
    Thank you for the encouraging devotional today. Sometimes it seems hard to say I can but oh so rewarding when we just go ahead and do it.
    God bless.

    Thank you for your fine devotional on Phil. 4:13. As I read this passage many times a combination of verses were special for me—6 + 7 gets you to 13 and 6 added to 13 gets you to verse 19. That makes for a wonderful memorized combination, and verse 13 is also 10 words to be remembered and recited on your fingers. Blessings.

    Hello Vincent,
    Thank you for another special devotional. Philippians 4:13 has been and still is a long-standing repetitive verse with me. It is so very reassuring when we have faith in our Lord to help us through situations.
    Blessings to you for your writings.

    Yes! Reminds me of a VBS program from the early ’90’s called Camp Can-do. It was based on Phil 4:13. It was such a good program, every year after we did “Camp Can-do” with our own Bible stories and crafts. And repeated it in another 2 congregations after that! A can-do attitude has carried me over many difficult challenges and God has been with me. That meme: where God guides, He provides, has been so true! And somehow, I needed that reminder this morning. So, thank you!

    Good morning, Vincent. Thank you for your testimony and call to action. Blessings continue through your writing.

    I also visited a school in Jamaica in the late 90’s as part of a nursing research project in Gerontology. Chalk was such a rare commodity that teachers carried it from room to room. My focus was on the elderly but being with children was a wonderful introduction to Jamaican culture. Few people (tourists) have any concept of the poverty that exists in this beautiful country. I was struck by the generosity of the people I met. They gave of the little they had, be it food or time. Being in Jamaica was a life changing experience for me. Just wanted to share and thus rekindle that positive feeling.

    Thank you for your devotional! I did not read until today – but today is when I needed it!

    To Vincent Walter,
    Thank you for all that leads up to your blessing conclusion:
    May each of us rise to the challenge to “just do it” as we face difficult and challenging opportunities. May we be positive and move forward in the strength that the Lord gives us.
    Keep writing.

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