Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord, the importance series

the importance of perseverance

importance of perseverance

Life is not easy. It’s full of challenges, and when we face those challenges, we have a choice. Do we stick with it and persevere? Or do we give up?

My mom has recently been confined to a wheelchair. She struggles with severe osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, a shoulder injury that has never properly healed, a herniated disc in her back, and celiac disease. She faces chronic pain. Everyday. All day. Without relief.

In other words, the pain and debilitating illness she faces are nearly unbearable.

Some days it feels like too much.

But she perseveres. And no, she won’t tell you that it’s easy or that she doesn’t struggle at times.

Chronic illness.

A difficult boss.

A challenging relative.

The effort to lose weight for health reasons.

The challenge to bring up your grades.

Marriage struggles.

Working two jobs to afford basic necessities for your family.

Being a caregiver.

Trying to move on after a death or divorce.

Struggling with isolation and loneliness.

Job loss and mounting bills.

perseverance clip

All of the above can bring about difficult life situations where it’s easy to give up and give in.

The Apostle Paul went through many trials and hardships while persevering for the Gospel. Missionaries today persist in bringing the Truth to people who may never otherwise hear the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ, even though some risk their lives doing so.

No matter what issue we face, we have hope of endurance.

Galatians 6 9

Yet, enduring and running the race well is not easy. Situations out of our control threaten to bring us down with no hope in sight.

How do we persevere when life gets turbulent, topsy-turvy, and off-track?

By keeping our eyes on Jesus. The second we take our eyes off of Him, as Peter did in Matthew 14:30-31, we sink.

By realizing that He knows the “big picture”. How it starts, the middle, and the ending. Remember that we see the tiny hand-held phone screen of life, while God sees an enormous big-screen TV. Or to look at it a different way, we see one word in an entire book, while He sees the entire book – every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter.

By remembering that even in times of hardship, He loves us and will never leave us. Ever.

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By knowing that He is a great listener…and never sleeps. His “line” is open 24/7/365, no matter what.

By being assured that He’s got this and was not caught off guard. This past year did not catch Him off-guard or unprepared. On the contrary, God knows all from the beginning of time to the end of time. He’s never uninformed, unconcerned, or oblivious to the trials we face.

By spending time in constant prayer, giving thanks for all He has done, seeking His will for your life, and laying down prayer requests. These are tantamount to a close relationship with Him. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we are told to pray without ceasing. If there is one thing that has become more prominent in recent days days, it could perhaps be said that praying is at an all-time high.

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By reading God’s Word and learning about the faithful ones of the Bible who persevered. To know we are not alone in our difficulties gives us hope and courage.

By continuing to move forward…even if you feel like you’re constantly going backwards. John Wayne said it well when he said that “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway”.

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By making sure you have a good support system. This can be a loving spouse and children, caring friends, and a faithful church body.

By being encouraged by listening to uplifting Christian music. The quickest way to fall into a slump is to surround yourself with negativity, darkness, and despair. What we watch, listen to, and partake in affects our mood.

By facing each day one step at a time. Set small and realistic goals.

Life is not easy. Everyone has a struggle, or multiple struggles, that they face on a daily or on an ongoing basis. But with faith in God and perseverance, we can face our hardships head-on and emerge victorious.

 

Posted in Growing in the Lord, the importance series

the importance of influence

influence

A new believer in the congregation mentions to a friend: “Our pastor watches that movie, so it must be all right to watch.”

Overheard in the workplace: “I may not agree with my boss on the way he treats those under him, but I’m learning from him that sometimes it doesn’t pay to be nice.”

A young boy mentions: “Dad never wears his seat belt. Why should I?”

Overheard at church: “In our Bible study class, a member mentioned enjoying reading a book that teaches beliefs contrary to the Bible. If she’s fine with it, so am I.”

A teenager in the hallway between classes: “My friends were talking today about  a cool fad they want to try. I think I might try it too. Who cares if people say it’s dangerous?”

A new believer mentioning something she’s noticed: “The piano player for our church gossips constantly about others. Maybe I don’t need to take the command not to gossip seriously either.”

Overheard by a player on a sports team: “I’ve never been one to cheat, but since the coach says it’s ok, why not do it since winning is important?”

football coach

And on it goes…

Influence. We all influence someone. If we are a parent, we have a critical impact on our children. They are watching us constantly, and whether we choose to believe it or not, they will mimic what we do. Our actions are powerful.

If we are a supervisor, our leadership has great clout over those whom we supervise, whether for the positive or negative.

A pastor is perhaps one of the most influential among a wide scope of people. His congregation and those in the community constantly look to him for guidance and the way they should live their lives.

Friends make a huge impact on the lives of each other for the good and bad. That’s why it’s so important to be mindful of  the friendships we keep.

Movie stars, music artists, authors, teachers, and coaches are also influential.

Those of us who are seemingly “common” and not in any real leadership role still have influence over people. We all influence someone. Everything we do has an impact on someone. People around us are watching.

What does the Bible say about our influence and leadership over others?

2 Timothy 2 15

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness~ James 3:1

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. ~ Philippians 2:3

Galatians 6 9

Whatever is trustworthy… because whatever we watch or think comes out and whatever comes out is being viewed and watched by others, so it’s a domino effect.

We all sin – that’s why we need a Savior. We all are capable of misusing our influence over others.

Instead, we should take our influence seriously and seek to protect and guard those in our sphere of influence.

Who is influential in your life?