The end goal is the end

Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” (James 5:11 NKJV)

The end goal is the end. By this I mean the beginning is trumped by the end. The middle is trumped by the end. The end of the matter, whatever the matter may have been in our eyes or the eyes of others, matters to the furthest extent … because, after all, that extent is the end.

The finish line is always the goal for the right-minded runner who begins the race (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). The course will challenge that goal. But the end must remain the goal, or else the run will turn into a walk, which turns into standing idle, which turns into sitting for a break, which turns into not getting back up. If this happens the end will not be the goal we originally had in mind. Keep the end in mind!

Job didn’t know how the book of Job would end. But James’ admonition is given with the understanding that we know how the story ended! And if, in the midst of trials and troubles, we keep the end in mind (by that I mean the end God has in mind for us – 2 Corinthians 5:1), we can know how our book will end too.

Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:38-39 NKJV)

#perseverance, #spiritual-goals, #spiritual-race

Woman passes driving test on 950th try

Don’t Give Up

A South Korean woman finally passed her driving test—on her 950th attempt.

68-year-old Cha Sa-soon had been taking the written test every day since April 13, 2005, except for weekends and holidays. She had spent the equivalent of $4,200 on application fees. The test consisted of 50 multiple-choice questions on road regulations and car maintenance. She finally scored the requisite 60 percent. She wanted a license so she could drive her vegetables to market. After her 775th failure, Mrs. Cha said, “I believe you can achieve your goal if you persistently pursue it.”

Sometimes it takes a lot of perseverance to attain our goals: “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).

Reference: “Woman passes 950th driving test,” news.bbc.co.uk (11/6/09); Leo Lewis, “South Korean woman, 68, passes driving theory test on 950th attempt,” timesonline.co.uk (11/9/09).

Thoughts for Today to Brighten Your Day, Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

#perseverance, #persistence

But they were armed with faith and patience…

But they were armed with faith and patience against him and all his encounters; and though they were sometimes foiled, yet by God’s assistance they prevailed and got the victory.

Wm. Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation

#faith, #perseverance, #quotes

Hugh’s News & Views (“It Ain’t Over”)

HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS

“IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER”

Three times this year during the regular major league baseball season a pitcher got as far as two outs in the ninth inning with a no-hitter only for an opposing batter to get a hit and the no-hitter go down the drain. On April 9, Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers lost his bid for a no-hitter against the Houston Astros after getting as far as two outs in the ninth inning without surrendering a hit. San Francisco’s Yusmeiro Petit did the same against the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 6. Then on September 25 St. Louis Cardinals’ rookie pitcher, Michael Wacha, had a no-hitter going with two outs in the ninth when the Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman beat out a slow chopper over the pitcher’s head for an infield hit. The play at first was not even close. The Cardinals’ shortstop fielded the slow high bouncing ball with his bare hand and hurried his throw to first base, pulling the first baseman off the bag. As the ball left Zimmerman’s bat several on the Cardinals’ bench had started to climb over the dugout railing, ready to pour onto the field to celebrate a no-hitter. Second baseman Matt Carpenter did a little hop, all set for the final out. But it was not to be; the no-hitter was lost. (The next Nationals’ batter grounded out and Wacha wound up with a one-hitter and the Cardinals won 2-0.) On the last day of the regular season, Miami Marlins’ rookie pitcher Henderson Alvarez threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers. Ironically, the Marlins’ lone run scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth with Alvarez himself waiting in the batter’s box to be the next hitter. Of the 282 no-hitters in major league history, it is the only one to end on a wild pitch.

Baseball great and New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” (Yogi went on to make another name for himself as the originator of “philosophical” statements!) The statement expresses a biblical truth, though it is unlikely that Yogi intended it as such. Jesus reminded His apostles, “He who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22). To the tribulation-torn saints in Smyrna Jesus said, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10, KJV, ASV, RSV). (I understand that in the context Jesus is likely saying, “Be faithful even to the point of dying for your faith [suffering martyrdom].” But we also are urged to be faithful until death to be faithful to Christ all the days of our lives. [See Revelation 2:10 in the NKJV and NASV, as well as the overall teaching of the New Testament regarding fidelity to the Lord]).

One of the apostle Paul’s many co-laborers in the gospel was a man by the name of Demas. In Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24 (both written around A. D. 61-63), Demas is mentioned favorably, along with such men as Epaphras, Mark, Aristarchus, and Luke. Regrettably, however, by the time Paul penned his last letterII Timothyin about A. D. 67-68 Demas had forsaken Paul (and, by implication, the cause of Christ), “having loved this present world” (II Timothy 4:10). Think about it: For years a faithful worker for the Lord, only to throw it all away toward the end! The pages of the Bible as well as the pages of the history of those committed to the restoration of apostolic Christianity bear record of apostates, turncoats, defectors, and quitters. How unspeakably sad!

How different it was with Paul himself. Starting out in life as a raging enemy of Christ and a rabid persecutor of Christians, Paul was converted to the Lord and spent the rest of his life faithfully serving Him. As he approached the end of his life he wrote, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto them also that love his appearing” (II Timothy 4:6-8).

The Lord does not expect us to pitch a no-hitter in life (to be sinlessly perfect). He does expect us to be faithful. He wants us to persevere to the endto “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). He wants us to know that “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Hugh Fulford

October 1, 2013

#hughfulford, #perseverance, #salvation

The Amazing Enduring Perseverance of the Apostle Paul

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)

#apostle-paul, #christian-living, #christianity, #endurance, #following-jesus, #perseverance

Diligence Is Faithfulness Under Duress

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.

Mike Glenn

#diligence, #endurance, #faithfulness, #perseverance

Lifetime Diligence In Service

Our slogan this month is “keep on keeping on.” It is an expression about diligent action. But there is so much in which we can be diligent. What, exactly, are the things in which we are to keep on keeping on?

One of those things can be understood in the actions of Jesus. Acts 10:38 records that Jesus spent His lifetime going about doing good. Jesus, on the occasion of the last Passover meal of His life, taught the disciples that they were to spend their life in service to others (John 13:1-15). It is no wonder then that we find that our reward or punishment pronounced at the judgment will, in part (there are many parts), be based upon our lifetime service to those in difficult situations (Matt. 25:31-46). Some of the types of folks to which we must minister are the hungry, the thirsty, the stranded stranger, the sick, the naked, and those in prison.

You will notice two or three particular points about those in the above mentioned situations.

  • First, such people are always with us. All of our lifetime, we will hear or know of people in these difficult situations. We will never run out of the opportunity to serve others.
  • Second, to give even a brief relief or comfort to any of these folks will require us to go the extra mile. None of this can be done from our pews or armchairs. That means, that for a lifetime, Jesus wants us to plan enough spare time in our days and weeks that we can use it fruitfully in helping folks such as these.

Friends, can it be the case that we should not fill our lives with so much that we enjoy and want? Should we, like Job, search out the people around us to whom we can become servants? Would it be better to fill our children’s lives with examples and opportunities for service rather than quite so much recreation, team sports, boys and girls organizations or too much play time?

Two passages that continually come to my mind as I think about diligence are 1 Cor. 15:58 and Gal. 6:9-10. We are:

  • To be steadfast
  • To always abound
  • In the work of the Lord
  • To not become weary
  • In doing good (as our Lord did)
  • To do good to all men

So, let’s keep on keeping on.

Mike Glenn

#diligence, #good-works, #perseverance, #service

Commands That Require Diligence In Changing

by Mike Glenn

The text found in Ephesians 4:20-32 is intended by Paul to be a brief synopsis of the changes that must be made when one becomes a Christian. You and I know that change is hard. Leaving sin behind is very hard. Growing in the right actions and attitudes is hard. To do any of this, we must “keep on keeping on” in our pursuit of diligence.

·V. 22: We are to put change our former conduct. If you think that is not hard, ask someone who struggles to lose weight or someone who tries to quit tobacco or alcohol. Watch someone strive to go from being lazy to being industrious or someone who cusses constantly to strive to become pure of speech. How about realizing the difficulty of a person who dislikes reading and study to become a diligent student of the Bible. To accomplish any of these requires consistent diligence (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).

·V. 22-23: We make these changes with a diligent effort to change our thinking. We must stop being deceived by lusts which tell us to fulfill them, which scream that we must be satisfied in their accomplishment. On the contrary, our minds must see these desires as nails in the coffin of hell. Our “renewed mind” must recognize their danger and turn intentionally and surely away toward the practice of Christ-like attitudes and actions (Gal. 5:23-24; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; Matt 5:3-12. In our hearts, sin must become exceedingly sinful (Rom. 7:13) so that our minds win the battle against the law of sin (Rom. 7:21-8:2).

·V. 25-31: Honesty must replace lying, love and forgiveness must replace angry retaliation or grudge holding, industry and benevolence is to replace selfish thievery, favorable edifying speech is to replace gossip, slander, backbiting and filthy speech.

Each of these and many other commands of our Savior require planning, concentration, and follow through. In other words we must keep on keeping on.

#commandments, #diligence, #perseverance

To those who persevere, well done!

Yet again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also was born to the giant.” (2 Samuel 21:20)

I sure could use an extra finger this morning, an extra thumb really. I cut the thumb on my right hand yesterday pretty good. My thumb is still there, but it’s not doing much!

Have you ever tried to type without using your thumb? Or use a mouse? It doesn’t come very naturally when you’re already used to having it there. There are so many “little” blessings that we can and do take for granted.

I have often felt great admiration for those who persevere through struggles that people with two functioning hands, arms, legs and feet rarely think twice about. I see the great things that they have accomplished in spite of their set-backs and I think about how hard for them it must have been to kick the word “quit” out of their vocabulary. Yet they did. And they’re striving because of it!

In a similar vein, I think about those who are striving to live a Christian life in less than favorable circumstances yet there they are, still hanging in there by God’s grace and perseverance. Every day is a new day in their eyes because this is the day that the Lord has made (Psalm 118:24). And although they carry burdens that I do not, they still manage to allow the yoke of Jesus to carry their burdens to Calvary where they stay (Matthew 11:28-30).

So to those of you who persevere in ways that make “ordinary life” look elementary, well done!

God will repay everyone based on their works. On the one hand, he will give eternal life to those who look for glory, honor, and immortality based on their patient good work.” (Romans 2:6-7 – CEB)

#overcoming-setbacks, #perseverance, #taking-blessings-for-granted, #trials, #works

The egg and you

How often have you bought eggs, brought them home, only to find a couple of them cracked? Frustrating! However, did you know that if you hold a raw egg (still in the shell) in your palm and try squeezing it with that hand, it is extremely difficult, almost impossible, to crush it?

Eggs are much stronger than they appear.

They are resilient as food, especially. Think of all the ways eggs can be prepared: hard-boiled, soft-boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, omelet. Then, there’s hollandaise made from the yolks, and meringue made from whites. Eggs are the base for quiche, frittata, soufflé and crepe! What would a potluck be without deviled eggs? Cakes, crusts, mayonnaise, noodles, pasta, French toast, ice cream, pancakes – we’d have a hard time without eggs!

Some say that the number of folds in a chef’s hat used to represent the number of ways he/she could prepare these oologic articles (Google that!).

Fragile? Eggs? So long as you can get them home intact, you can “beat the tar” out of them, and still make something great. God made them that way.

Likewise, we often speak about the fragility of human life – rightly so. It is fragile, but it is resilient. God made it that way. When you feel a little beat up, think of the egg, and keep on going (Php. 4:13).

Rick Kelley, Prestonsburg KY church bulletin

#perseverance, #resilience

mm

Psalm 91

Vs. 1-2 specify exactly Who it is that gives a believer security;

Vs. 3-8 describe what kind of security can be expected;

Vs. 9-16 designate what is expected of the believer.

There is no definite author or history to explain this Psalm, but there is also no reason to question its place in this Book. It may well have been written by Moses, as was the previous Psalm. Let us emphasize, rather, the terms for God: (1) “Most High” (Hebrew El Elyon), because there is none equal to Him (Isaiah 45:20-23; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6), therefore “the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48; 17:24-25). The virgin Mary was told her son “will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32). (2) “Almighty” (Hebrew, El Shaddai), because He is the source of all blessings, therefore He could deliver on His promise to Abram (Genesis 12:1-3; 17:1-6). To the church of Christ in Corinth, God promised, “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty”(2 Corinthians 6:18), who “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). (3) “LORD” (Hebrew Jehovah), the name God revealed to Moses that neither Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob knew (Exodus 6:2-8). This name is associated with the covenant God made with Israelites only, that brought us to Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:13-29)!   (4) “God” (Hebrew Elohim), means “Strength, Power,” and “In the beginning” would be the only “power” present who could create and organize “the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6-9). There is only one God of Heaven and Earth.

Verses 1-2: The four figures of speech denote security for someone who keeps close to God: “secret place;” “shadow;” “refuge” and “fortress;” “trust.”

Verses 3-8: Rather than speculate as to specific distresses, these figures of speech, some applied to Satan, should help God’s obedient people visualize His protection by staying close: (verse 3) “snare of the fowler” (2 Timothy 2:26); “perilous pestilence” (2 Timothy 3:1); (verse 4) wing cover and feathers (Matthew 23:37); “shield and buckler” (Ephesians 6:16). Things God’s people should fear not: (verse 5) “terror” by night (John 12:35); arrow by day (Ephesians 6:16); (verse 6) “pestilence” in darkness (John 3:19-20); “destruction” at noon (Matthew 27:45-46); (verse 7) thousands dying on each side; (verse 8) “the reward of the wicked” will not mistakenly come upon the righteous.

Verses 9-16: As a consequence of living closely with “the LORD” (verse 9), the obedient can expect: protection from “evil” or “plague” (verse 10); angelic help (verses 11-12); (verse 13) to walk over the “lion,” “cobra,” “young lion,” “serpent” (representations of the Devil, 1 Peter 5:8; Matthew 12:34; Ezekiel 19:1-9; Revelation 12:9). This is to be done for one who has: (verse 14) “set his love upon Me,” “known My name,” (verse 15) desire to “call upon Me.” “Long life,” and “salvation” will go to the faithful (verse 16).

The Devil tempted Jesus Christ to sin by misquoting Psalm 91:11-12 (Matthew 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-12). The Devil omitted the phrase “to keep you in all your ways,” leaving the impression that God had promised to save any obedient person from being injured altogether. God’s protection promise was not that, but that “angels” were “charged” with encouraging after temptation, as in the case of Jesus, Himself (Matthew 4:11; Mark 1:13). The Devil’s “guardian angel” doctrine was designed to give a false sense of security, thus minimizing the strengthening of one’s faith by perseverance. “You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #jesus-christ, #obedience, #perseverance, #salvation, #security, #sin, #temptation

A Christian hero

We reproduce, with permission, what Richard Stevens III wrote today on Facebook:

ONE OF OUR GODLY ELDERS, DON SMITH, HAD AN INFECTION SEVERAL YEARS AGO THAT ALMOST KILLED HIM. The doctors said several times that he would not live. I was there. However, by the grace of God he survived a coma, a heart attack, heart surgery, dialysis, a slight stroke, skin grafts, and the amputation of several toes. And after months of discouraging painful rehabilitation, this once independent and industrious man had to learn to hugely depend on others, mainly his wife, Joan.

In time, he learned to walk again aided by a cane and special shoes. He was told a significant amount of the pain would never go away, even in the night.

Since then, this brother faithfully attends services, teaches weekly and monthly Bible classes, preaches monthly, serves Communion, shepherds the flock, and so on, all through pain. HE IS MY CHRISTIAN HERO! (hero defined: “a person noted or admired for nobility, courage, outstanding achievements, etc.”; Oxford Dictionary).

I am thankful to have Don as an example, mentor, and leader. He exclaims with his life, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Co. 11:1; 4:16).

#dedication, #faithfulness, #good-examples, #perseverance

Illustration: Adversity

A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen.  He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.  Soon the pots came to a boil.  In one, he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans.  He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. Continue reading

#adversity, #illustrations, #perseverance, #suffering, #trials

NEVER Give Up

As Job sat in the junkyard scraping his boils with a broken piece of pottery, he was confused and afraid.

His friend, Eliphaz, told Job he had once been the encourager and the strengthener of others, but now, “the shoe was on the other foot,” (Job 4:5).

It was probably the case (as it is for many, many others) that Job thought he knew his “destiny” in this world (Job 4:6). He thought how his life was going to turn out. Truth was, he didn’t know that at all.

We don’t know that, either, contrary to what the world wants us to believe.

The world has a way of convincing us (especially if we’re older or infirm) that achievement and life are over. It is the young who have a future. It is the young who still have possibilities in life, the world says.

The truth is, God is not finished with us until we draw the final breath. He’s not ready to abandon hope for us and neither should we.

Wayne Jackson wrote, “Only in eternity will we be able to see how Jehovah has worked his marvelous plan. Truly, the final day of history will be a time of the ‘revelation of the righteous judgment of God,’” (Rom. 2:5).

Don’t listen to the world. It isn’t time to give up, yet.

#god, #hope, #perseverance

TFT: Definitions of Courage

Definitions of Courage

Courage is enduring
For just one minute longer,
Courage is just holding on,
Though others may be stronger.

Courage is a grappling hand
When dreams we’ve had are fading,
Courage is just keeping on
Enheartening and persuading.

Courage is a certain faith
Expressed in act heroic,
Something deeper, deeper still
Than simply being stoic.

Courage is a sensing
Of our destiny, a tightening
of the belt of circumstance,
Though all its face be frightening.

Courage is a midnight song
Through the deep darkness singing,
‘Til the music born of faith
Sets all life’s rafters ringing.

Courage is a sensing
That in spite of pain and sorrow,
God will see us through today
And meet our needs tomorrow.

–Ruth Winant Wheeler

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart…” Psalm 27:14a

“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn Hitchcock

#courage, #perseverance, #poems, #poetry