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Friday, January 20, 2012

Stick to It

     Just over two weeks ago I was ask to give a short little devotion on the topic of Endurance right before our praise and worship practice.  To be honest, I was happy to be ask to give a little 5 minute devotion but not so happy about the topic.  I would have rather talked about anything else BUT endurance.  All I could think of is I don't wanna talk about it! Heck, right now, I don't want to study and find out what the Bible says on the subject! 

I've done enough of it already!

So now that I have your attention, lets hear what I found out.

     You will not find the word endurance anywhere in the King James Version of the Bible and that matters because whenever I go to study I pull out my King James version and my Strong's Concordance.  Because I couldn't find the word there I had to dig a little deeper than I normally have to.  I went to my free E-Sword program on my computer and looked up the word endurance in it's Webster's 1828 Dictionary and it defines endurance as this :

continuance, a state of lasting or duration, lastingness, a bearing or suffering, a continuing under pain or distress without resistance or without sinking or yielding to the pressure, sufferance, patience.... a waiting for something that is delayed.
So I looked up patience :

The act or quality of waiting long for justice or expected good without discontent; a calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent; perseverance
As I read the words continuance and continuing in the definition of endurance I decided to look up constancy :

fixedness or firmness of mind, persevering resolution, steady unshaken determination, particularly applicable to firmness of mind under sufferings, to steadiness in attachments, and to perseverance in enterprise... lasting affection, stability in love or friendship.

These words all lay out a pretty strong picture in your mind about endurance so now it was time to go to the scripture and see what it says.  I found endurance in the Contemporary English Version.  In Romans 5:1-5 the Bible tells us what endurance builds and therefore why it's important.

By faith we have been made
acceptable to God.  And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ we live at peace with God. Christ has also introduced us to God's undeserved kindness on which we take our stand.  So we are happy as we look forward to sharing in the glory of God. But that's not all!  We gladly suffer because we know that suffering helps us to endure and endurance builds character, which gives us a hope that will never disappoint us.  All of this happens because God has given us the Holy Spirit who fills our heart with love.
Because this paints such a strong picture I wanted to also look at an example of someone whose endurance was gone.  In my searching I found my way to Lamentations 3:14-20.  (Contemporary English Version)
I am a joke to everyone!  No one ever stops making fun of me.  God has turned my life sour.  He made me eat gravel and rubbed me in the dirt.  I cannot find peace or remember happiness.  I tell myself... I am finished!  I can't count on the Lord to do anything for me.  Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable.  That's all I ever think about and I am depressed.
This sounds like alot of us when we seem to find ourselves in the midst of so much trouble.  We give up, we stop hoping, we stop believing that God has anything good in store for us.  But lets take another look back at Lamentations.  You see, something gets ahold of the speaker and he begins to encourage himself.  (Lamentations 3:21-26 CEV)

Then I remember something that fills me with hope.  The Lords kindness never fails!  If he had not been merciful we would have been destroyed.  The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.  Deep in my heart I say "The Lord is all I need, I can depend on Him."  The Lord is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys Him.  It is good to wait patiently for the Lord to save us.
     You see, God doesn't ask of us anything that He hasn't done himself.  He is the God of patience.  He is the God of endurance.  He continues steadfast never wavering for the day that is coming.  He has endured more than we could ever imagine.  He has endured the worst... a creation that denies him and yet whose very existance is kept in Him, children that disobey him... the pain of sending his only son to die and take the sin of this whole world.  He had to endure having to turn away from His son as he hung on the cross bearing everyone's sin because he could not look upon the sin.

     When we think we cannot endure for a moment longer we need to realize and accept that we can.  We can endure.  We can walk thru anything He calls us to walk thru because He is with us.  God's word says "Endure until your testing is over then you will be mature and complete lacking nothing."

Don't stop mid-stream.

Don't give up.

Don't throw in the towel.

Whatever you're having to endure.... continue.

Birth that dream --- don't abort it!
  
What is on the other side is beautiful and well worth some suffering now.


There's an old song that says it all ....
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary they shall walk and not faint.  Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait.

3 awesome comments:

  1. Patricia,
    I was amazed at how God used you in a mighty way to deliver this awesome Word......I know it is truly from your heart..thanks for sharing sister/ friend

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great blog post! I never really gave much thought to "endurance" but after reading your post it shines a whole new meaning for me. Thanks for a very informative and great post! I really like your blog and look forward to reading it as you post new things! Happy blogging!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you both for your comments! This was definitely NOT a subject I wanted to write on because of what we've been going thru but GOD knew what I really needed. It hit me too in a whole new way and gave me something to really think about. Praise God he used it to touch you!

    ReplyDelete

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