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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

Friday, January 6, 2012

Let Your Praises Ring !

     For some this New Year has brought more of the same... and although you have a New Beginning you can't see that anything but the calendar has changed.  I understand that because I've only gotten six days into the new year and already had my first pity party .... but... God hasn't changed... He's the same yesterday, today and forever.  I'm the one that changed.  I got my eyes off of Him and put them on my circumstances.  I found it impossible to praise Him.  It was impossible to lift my hands in worship.  A friend ask me "What do you think God thinks about you?" ... and I answered without thinking that as far as God was concerned 

I was the junk that he'd just scraped off his shoe and thrown away.  

     Wow!  Right about then I realized just how bad off I was because I wasn't feeling that way just a few days before.  Right then I began to see it... I had no Joy.  I had fallen so quickly into a dark place.  My circumstances had come crashing down around my head and I hadn't been able to breathe.  They were sucking the life right out of me and taking away any hope I had.  Then I found something that made me laugh.  It was amazing to realize my circumstances hadn't changed but my attitude was changing. I was starting to feel a little better.  The more I found that brought joy back in the better and brighter my attitude and outlook.  I don't know what you're going through but I can tell you that we are going through some really bad financial times right now.  It's hard when you don't know when you're going to be able to pay the bills and you have to deal with bill collectors calling 10-15 times a day.  It's tough when you have to make decisions about what you can and can't do according to whether you have money to put gas in the tank.  It's frustrating when it seems like every time you take a few steps forward that something happens to take away all your progress and put you further behind than you were when you started.  I know because we live it but God is still in control.  He hasn't left.  He hasn't walked away.  Don't let the circumstances take your eyes off of Him.  Remind yourself of what He's done for you and what He's done for others. 

Encourage yourself !
Let Hope and Joy come back...
...and then Let Your Praises Ring!

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