Tag: perseverance

Don’t lose heart!

Scripture reading for April 5th: Joshua 18-21, Psalm 15, Luke 18

Luke 18:1-8 “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Many times in our world it looks like the ‘bad guys’ always win. The circumstances of life are stacked against us. We look for an advocate, but they are few and far between. The woman in this parable of Jesus’ may have felt that way, but her faith caused her to appeal to the ‘unjust’ judge. She did this again and again and got his attention. The ‘unjust’ judge finally granted her justice just to get some peace. Now Jesus turned this parable around for us. God is not ‘unjust’ but the all-powerful Just and True Judge. We have been given access through prayer to His throne. Like the woman, we should be crying out day and night in faith, not fainting under the load of fear or trouble. Jesus promises a speedy answer! Why not believe Him and begin asking in faith?

Psalm 15:1-2 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in Your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; . .”

Prayer: Father God, the times we live in are filled with injustice and Your people are often mistreated. Give us more grace to pray instead of fainting. Help us to live by faith, despite hostile circumstances and persecution. We desire a ‘full inheritance’ and want to be found with faith when You return.

Joshua 19:49-50 “When they had finished distributing the several territories of the land as inheritances, the people of Israel gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. By command of the Lord they gave him Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. And he rebuilt the city and settled in it.”

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Faith that presses over obstacles!

Scripture reading for February 18th:  Mark 7

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Mark 7:26-30  “First let the children eat all they want,” He told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”  “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”  Then He told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”  She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.”

Jesus was approached by a Syrophoenician woman in need of healing for her demon-possessed daughter.  His response to her could have been taken as offensive and highly partial.  He told her that the deliverance she was seeking belonged first to the Jews–they were God’s children!  A reply like this today in our culture would have been a terrible offense that could result in prosecution!

But this woman was not offended, but countered Jesus’ statement with a deep faith that healing and deliverance would be for all who sought Jesus out.  Her reply, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” brought a positive response from Jesus!  She would not be denied or deterred, but persevered and received what she was believing for!

Observations for over-comers:  God is honored when we persistently pour out our hearts to Him for help, even when we don’t understand why obstacles or delays appear to hinder us.  “I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.  I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble.”  (Psalm 142:1-2)

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Temptations, trials and faith!

Scripture reading for November 17th: James 1:1-18

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to count it joy when a trial of my faith comes my way.  There is something in each person that would prefer good times, pleasure, and the easy life.  But inside of us, there is also a desire for adventure and excitement that comes from entering into the unknown.  I am learning how to embrace God’s plan for my own life and to ‘consider it pure joy’ when I face the inevitable trials.  Well, maybe my joy isn’t too pure yet!

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.  When tempted, no one should say “God is tempting me.”  For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown gives birth to death.” (James 1:12)  We will be blessed if we stand firm in a trial.  God will reward those who stay true with a crown of eternal life.

One of the temptations in a trial or test is to blame God.  James reassures us that God is holy and is not capable of evil or of tempting anyone.  The source of temptation is found in our own flesh and it’s desires.  We are first enticed by the lusts of our eyes or flesh and then when we yield, we are dragged away by sin.  It is likened to a pregnancy that comes from an act of passion.  Conception takes place, and when the sin-baby is full grown, it bring us death.  (Romans 6:23)

But we shouldn’t allow our flesh to entice us!  The good gifts we desire really come from God in the promises of His word.  He has good plans for His children.  His gifts are all good and he has chosen to give us birth through His word.  If we will put our faith in Him, He will bring us through all trials and tests.  He is the ‘Father of Lights’ who is faithful to shine His love into our lives through every trial.

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What can I do for you?

Scripture reading for April 10th: 2nd Kings 1-3

As the prophet Elijah was about to depart from this earth, he asked Elisha: “What can I do for you before I am taken from you?”  (2nd Kings 2:9)  The understudy wisely answered that he desired a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.  This is essentially the same question God asked Solomon when he appeared to him a few years earlier. (1st Kings 3:5)  Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people.  God gives us choices.  One of the tensions in Scripture is between our free will and God’s sovereign will.  God is sovereign but he has chosen to work with man who is made in His image.  Part of that image is the ability to make choices.

Elijah had been instructed by God to tap Elisha to take his place some ten years earlier.  Elisha was the son of a farmer.  He was plowing with 12 yokes of oxen–a big rig of that day!  (1st Kings 19:19)  He was called when Elijah threw his cloak over him.  Scripture records that he left his oxen and ran after Elijah.  Then he sacrificed his oxen, burning his plowing equipment to cook the meat.  He set out to follow Elijah.  Choices have consequences and rewards and often lead to more choices.

As the time for Elijah’s departure drew near, Elisha had to continually choose to stay near his mentor.  Elijah kept asking him to stay away, but he kept insisting on staying.  If we are going to get all that the Lord has for us, it means we must persevere!  Those who persevere to the end will reap a reward!  Elisha asked for the double portion of his mentor’s spirit.  Elijah could not give that himself.  It must come from the Lord.  Elijah gave him a word of knowledge–that if he could see him when he departed he would have what he asked for.  (2nd Kings 2:10-12)  As they walked on together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind right before Elisha’s eyes!  It was an exciting exit for the prophet Elijah and an exciting transition for the prophet Elisha as he picked up the cloak and began to do greater things than his mentor!

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the final word from God.  He had the Spirit without measure. (John 3:34)  He has told us to ask Him for whatever we need and He will do it.  (John 14:14)  He has given us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and bring forth the gifts of the Spirit as they are needed to glorify the Lord.  He has told us, his disciples, that we will do even greater works because He has gone to the Father.  (John 14:11-14)  Ask the Lord today for what you need!  How much more will God the Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask! (Luke 11:13)

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