Some things we think we know, when we actually don’t. Our emotions, for example, tell us things that appear to be as right as rain, but have no basis in reality. Scripture offers us a true vision. Continue reading
Just think about this for a second:
“in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:27-28 – NKJV)
If you’re familiar with this section of scripture then you’ll know that this is only a snippet of the turmoil’s that Paul experienced while spreading the word of God. It was a daily battle that could be summed up with the old saying, “there’s no rest for the weary.” Physically, mentally and spiritually, Paul was a target of the lion who was roaming about (1 Peter 5:8). But he hung in there! But how?
The success of Paul’s enduring perseverance can easily be seen in his willingness to keep his eye’s on Jesus and his hope in the grace of God found in the gospel of Christ (Hebrews 12:1-3, Romans 8:23-25). Paul encouraged people to follow him as he followed Jesus knowing full well that the path to eternal life was only found by following the steps of the Savior (1 Corinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:20-21; Hebrews 2:9-10). He loved the word of God, the gospel that it contained, the church that it produced and the people whose names filled the Lamb’s Book of Life, and even those who had not yet been added.
An enduring perseverance like Paul’s doesn’t happen accidentally and it doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen by sitting on the sidelines. An enduring perseverance comes by trials, by bearing fruit, by faithfulness and by holding strong to the words and love of Jesus that won’t allow our burdens to become too heavy to keep us from following Him (Matthew 7:24-29, 11:28-30).
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13)
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Would you trust God when nothing in your life seems to be going right? Would you diligently hold to your faith when you cannot explain why terrible things are happening to you? Do you sometimes question the faithfulness of God? Do doubts arise in your heart and your mind, when it feels like He has abandoned His care for you?
Satan has already shown his true colors. He would like nothing more than to create the seed of doubt and disbelief in your heart. And there is seldom an easier time to do that than when you are under inexplicable duress.
Your heart cries out, “Why is this happening?” Brothers and sisters, THINK OF JOB, and keep on keeping on. Keep on believing. Keep on trusting. Keep on praying. Keep on working.
Job inexplicably lost everything he counted of value. The whole book of Job is his asking, “Why?” This man, whom the God of Heaven praised so highly, was not protected from complete financial ruin, devastating emotional destruction through family death, debilitating physical illness, complete loss of reputation and even the loss of his wife’s support. How could it get much worse? He wished that he had never been born.
But God had not forsaken him and He will not forsake you (Heb.13:5-6). When we do not understand why such devastation is happening to us, we can, at least, know that God knows and He cares (1 Pet. 5:7).
If we die in the worst of conditions, but die with diligently obedient and trusting faith, it will no matter what our condition was before we died. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…” (Rev. 14:13).
God has already said of such people that the world is not worthy to have them in it (Heb. 11:32-38).
My friend, be diligent. God will not abandon you, even if it seems like it from our poor human thinking (Is. 55:8-11). Keep on keeping on.
When James A. Garfield was president of Hiram College, a man brought his son for entrance as a student, for whom he wished a shorter course than the regular. “The boy can never take all that in,” said the father. “He wants to get through quicker. Can you arrange it for him?”
Mr. Garfield, a minister-educator said, “Oh, yes. He can take a short course; it all depends on what you want to make of him. When God wants to make an oak, He takes a hundred years, but he takes only two months to make a squash.”
Many want instant spirituality-like instant coffee or potatoes! It doesn’t come that way! There are no short courses! No short-cuts! No gimmicks! It takes time to grow! Growth is a sequence-an orderly arrangement! “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again” was God’s indictment of the Hebrew Christians (Heb 5:12-14).
[Unfortunately, I do not have the source for this illustration listed in my files, or I would give proper credit. -ccd]
In the midst of construction on the Interstate, Sean Ashberry draws this lesson:
I noticed a sign like this one the other day and it got me to thinking.
What did the “w” stand for? Well, it was obvious in that area that the “w” referred to “work zone.” So, at my present rate of travel and barring no traffic delays I should be cleared of the orange barrels in about 40 minutes…one playlist on my I-Pod. And then I would be through this messy, inconvenient, and dangerous area of interstate.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a sign in our lives that told us when we would be through the messy, inconvenient, and dangerous areas of our lives; when the relief would come?
Read the rest of his article for some great applications.