The Purpose of Perseverance

Hebrews 12:2-3, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Easter-clipart-crosses

On a recent road trip, we experienced a variety of weather systems which made the drive to our destination more treacherous and time-consuming. It was wearisome to face a continual onslaught of sleet, snow, fog and thunderstorms, but nothing prepared me for the natural (or should I say unnatural?) disaster that delayed us more than four hours on the return trip home.

A road blockage caused by a landslide had stopped the flow of traffic, causing it to come to a standstill. We were on a major interstate highway, which limited our options for an alternative route. More than ten miles of traffic had accumulated and was painstakingly being directed through a makeshift detour, down to one lane! Ugh! There wasn’t much I could do about it but suffer through it….and persevere.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is a role model for us of one who remained steadfast and focused on His Father’s Will. The ultra-poignant display of perseverance is exemplified on a road as well–the road to Calvary. God’s Word doesn’t give us little snippets of Bible scenes which show this remarkable characteristic trait. He takes us right to the heart of the matter. He takes us to the place where a humble, obedient spirit has completely yielded itself over.

The word endured is only used twice in the New Testament Scriptures, and it is used in Hebrews 12:2-3. Jesus is the one who endured, committed to fulfilling His Father’s Will, willing to suffer and die for all of mankind. That’s a powerful portrayal of unconditional love, surrender and determination.

God gives us a perfect portrait of the purpose behind perseverance in the power of the Cross.  Jesus, being God in the flesh, knew where He had come from (heaven) and knew where He was going (heaven). That joy awaited Him, but he knew what was first required of Him—and that was to persevere. The Greek word for endured is hupomeno, which translates into English as “to stay under (behind) or remain”. Jesus was willing to remain and pave the way—the only way—to everlasting joy.

Are there circumstances in your life, causing you anxiety and impatience? Do you spend each day soaking in the presence of the one who “endured” so that you could have the hope of an eternal home in heaven? How trivial our issues become when they are matched up to the magnitude of what Christ did on our behalf. We can have victory over sin because the author (originator) and finisher (completer) of our faith has paid the ultimate sacrifice and died and rose again. Hallelujah!

As you reflect upon the Easter holy day, pray for the strength you need to persevere. May God bless you and provide you with the courage and persistence to face what’s ahead….even the landslides that cause monstrous delays!

Grace for every situation

Today’s blog was written by a very gifted, older Christian acquaintance named Rose Wendland. God has blessed Rose with the ability to express her spiritual insight and love for the Lord through poetry. I hope her poem is as much of a blessing to you as it was to me!

Grace for Every Situation

Why do we let life’s trials overwhelm us? And think our burdens more than we can bear?

If God be for us, who can be against us, and what can separate us from His care?

rose budIn every situation He has promised to be our guide and help us run the race.

Wherever we are going, He has been there and understands each problem we must face.

All things are held together by His being, and nothing ever takes Him by surprise.

Should we let things cause us to fret and worry when we are kept by God so great and wise?

He has a perfect plan for us if only we’d quit our struggling and just be still.

He gives the grace for every situation, to all who are surrendered to His Will.

How big are God’s hands?

No one has ever seen God, so we can’t answer the question asked in the title of this blog,  hands can we? But, I like to think the possibilities are endless with how much our Creator can handle! 

I was searching the Scriptures today for a verse that would bring comfort to a heart which is experiencing separation and sadness. A weary soul is not at rest nor can it find relief. How can one be reassured that all will work out well, in accordance with God’s Will? Is it possible to adjust to a “new normal,” trusting the only source of wisdom that is eternally perfect and love-driven?

David penned a simplistic statement in Psalm 31:15, “My times are in thy Hand.” The “times” can be just about any decision, situation or event–present or future–that will take place in my life. Security is found in the knowledge that any test or trial I face has been filtered through the Hands of an Ominpotent, Omin-present and Omniscient God. He knows all about the heartache and struggles which persist and overwhelm us. His Hand is there to lovingly sustain us and uphold us, even in our weakest moments.

Friend, allow God’s Hand to be an anchor of strength, providing refuge and rest during the “times” you live out day by day. God’s Hand is all you need to carry you through. The offer is extended to all, just trust and obey Him at His Word, and know that you are never alone.

Living a victorious Christian life

Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”

Do you feel weary, lack motivation or energy to move ahead? Is there a huge, looming cloud of despair that threatens to stifle your joy? What can one do when overwhelmed by such negativity and hopelessness (besides staying in bed)?

As much as we try in our own strength to overcome such anxieties, we will never have the  satisfaction or security of absolute victory without the Lord’s help. “My portion” is referring to the firm foundation that is always present, providing stability and safety. Recognize that the circumstance is out of your control and focus on what God is showing you.

Now that I am older, I can look back and see many times where God was orchestrating His Will in my life and I wasn’t even aware of it! I have already seen some of the “puzzle pieces” begin to fit together. What amazes me more is that God was faithful and stuck it out with me! He never gave up on me, even when I lacked the confidence in myself.There were times when a very specific need was met, and only God’s gracious and generous hand of mercy could be the source of such power! puzzle pieces

Get busy doing something that will bring honor to God! There are 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in one day. How much of that time is wasted dwelling on a self-centered “woe-is-me” outlook on life? Make plans to be not only USEFUL but USED BY GOD on a daily basis. Reflect God’s love and kindness in all that you do and it will sustain and strengthen your flesh and your heart….all day long! Or, as the psalmist declares, He is our portion “for ever”.

Here’s some ideas to get started:

 ~Offer to help someone (perhaps an elderly woman or a young mother with kids) at the grocery store. Smile and encourage them, offer to assist them with their bags, possibly “pick up the tab” if you have the means to do so!

~Look through your personal phonebook or church directory, and choose a handful of individuals that are ill, shut-in or grieving after the loss of a loved one. Write them a note to let them know you thought about them today and are praying for them (then make sure that you do!).

~Is there anyone you know in the hospital? You and I know that it’s not always the most pleasant experience. Perhaps a short visit will spark up their day! It could be that their roommate needs the encouragement too (I’ve had that happen multiple times)!

   ~Be aware of what’s happening around you…in your community, your school, even in your own home. When our attention shifts to looking out for the needs of others around us, it tends to shrink down the gloom and doom –hurray!!! I don’t mean we should neglect our duties, but God has called us to shine as lights (Philippians 2:15).

May His brightness of glory and perfection be reflected to others and continue to grow more brilliant each passing day!