Category Archives: Perseverance

The Difference between Desperation and Desire

boiling-waterHave you ever wanted something so badly you could taste it? How badly would your faith be shaken if you didn’t receive it in one, five or twelve years?  In the story of the Bleeding Woman (Luke 8:43-48), we see an example of a woman who was determined to get what she wanted.

Backstory of the Bleeding Woman

 “And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.”  Luke 8:43

All we know about this woman is that she had been suffering for 12 years before Jesus came to the scene.  If you have a loved one who has been suffering from a terrible illness for which the doctors have not found a cure, or for which certain medications/surgery would not be an option because of comorbid conditions, you know the frustration of hopelessness and despair.  Yet the woman did not give up hope.

Amidst the crowds, Jesus felt her desperation.

The woman didn’t just desire to be healed.  She was desperate to be healed!  When Jesus came, she was so determined to meet him because she knew in her heart of hearts that He was the only one who could heal her.  Nothing was going to stop her – no sardine-packed crowd, no doubt, no hesitation, no one’s opinion – she was adamant about getting through to Jesus for His healing power.  Amidst the crowd that was packed so tightly that no one could breathe, this woman reached out and her faith made Jesus turn His head.

The difference between desire and desperation is determination.

When you’re desperate for something, there’s a sense of urgency that propels you toward your goal.  The crowds who surrounded Jesus wanted to meet Him, so they followed Him wherever He went, but this woman cut through the masses and made Jesus notice her.  They say that the difference between a winner and a loser is one’s character that will carry one through. Why does one achieve his goal while the other one doesn’t? Character.

  Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

You achieve character first through suffering, then perseverance, and then you get hope from the character that’s forged within you.

“A sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” – Proverbs 13:4

Waiting is part of that diligence. But what about faith?

Without faith, people give up, and therefore they allow their character to soften instead of fervently relying on God.  How long will you wait before you receive the desire of your heart?

I cannot even fathom what it’s like to be in the Bleeding Woman’s shoes, but I do know what it’s like to wait for something forever and never receiving it.  Oftentimes I wonder if I should just give up and chalk it up to “It’s not God’s will,” but if the Bleeding Woman caved into that kind of thinking, she would have never gone after Jesus because she would have believed that Jesus never wanted to heal her. 

Twelve years is an awfully long time to wait for something.  You don’t know the future; you can only hope for the best.  I wonder how many times this woman felt like giving up.  Will a miracle ever turn up?  Will the suffering ever stop?  Waiting year after year, waiting in the dark, not knowing the future – that does something to your soul.  In my despair, many times I have “surrendered” my desires to God with a hint of unbelief.

Will you surrender your desire to God with a spirit of resignation, or will you, like the Bleeding Woman, fight with urgency and desperation to get God’s attention?

#nevergiveup #faith #prayer #determination #God #Jesus #character #hope #perseverance #persistence #healing #miracles #fightofthefaith #keepupthegoodfight #musingz4life #dependonGod

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How to Keep Asking When the Answer Is “No”

dont-downgradeWhen the answer is “no,” do you give up or keep going?

Rejection is one of the main sources of angst for most people. They get so caught up in their frustration with the results that they don’t see past the present moment. Instead of knocking on more doors or trying a different course of action, they dwell on feelings of defeat and continue on a downward spiral of rationalizations about why they “can’t do it.”

Let’s examine, first of all, the reasons why people give up. The following list was derived and adapted from another blog post:

Top 10 Reasons Why People Give Up

  1. “You can’t do it!” If you have been told that over and over, you begin to believe it and internalize it as though it were truth.
  1. Your life is already good enough. You don’t want to leave your comfort zone.
  1. Lack of self-confidence. You shoot yourself in the foot before anyone else does.
  1. Lack of focus. You get too easily distracted by social media, phone calls, etc. that you lose focus and forget to go after your goals.
  1. You don’t see immediate results. We live in an age of immediate gratification but real results require real persistent, consistent and diligent effort.  Long-lasting results are not produced overnight.
  1. Lack of motivation, enthusiasm and inspiration. When things slow down and are not going as smoothly as you thought, it’s tempting to lose motivation.  Remember your initial zeal and passion when you started your project.  Don’t let your fire die out but keep it going until you bring it to completion and fruition.
  1. It’s not your dream. Have you been trying to make someone else’s dream happen rather than following your own passion?
  1. You miss your comfort zone. Remember what initially prompted you to step out of your comfort zone.  Don’t live a life of stagnation and mediocrity.
  1. People think it’s a stupid idea! Don’t let other people’s opinions sway you. 
  1. You think it should be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, but the sacrifices you make will be worth it in the end.

What do we gain from giving up? Do we just chalk it up to “It was not God’s will,” or do we keep on going?

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

Feeling depressed and alone? Afraid to move forward

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 – Emphasis on “at the proper time.” God only knows when that time will be, but the harvest will be plentiful if you don’t give up.

Imagine the harvest that nine celebs would have missed out on if they gave up too soon!  Click here to read their full biographies.  Here’s a little excerpt:

  • JK Rowling, author of Harry Potter, was on government aid and was so poor she could barely feed her baby before she got her big break
  • Stephen King lived in a trailer with his wife and they were so poor they had to borrow clothes for their wedding and they couldn’t afford a phone
  • Jim Carrey bombed his first stand-up gig but remained determined to cash in on his dream. He wrote himself a fat check and visualized his success every single day and night until he fulfilled his dream.
  • Tyler Perry was physically and sexually abused as a child, and he attempted suicide twice. In 2011, Forbes named him the highest paid man in entertainment.  Tyler is a big-time overcomer!!

Even when the odds are stacked up against you, God can still make it happen. Nothing will be impossible for you, as long as you trust in God who makes all things possible.

“With man this is impossible but not with God. All things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

#persevere #persistence #PersistencePaysOff #trustGod #NothingIsImpossible #believe #musingz4life #faith

 

Lifted out of Insignificance

strong“Think of what you were when you were called…” 1 Corinthians 1:26

Gideon’s Story

When God called Gideon, Gideon did not think very highly of his origins: “…but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh and I am the least in my family” (Judges 6:15). Talk about low self-esteem!  When you think about your family, are you proud of where you came from? When you were growing up, were you ever ashamed to bring your friends around your parents because of how you were living? What kind of foundation did your parents (or guardians) lay for you?

I think it’s safe to say that Gideon came from a “broken home.” He certainly was not proud of his heritage and not only that, he felt like he was the WORST person in his family. The black sheep. Have you ever felt like you stood out — but in a bad way — in your “clan”?

Your Story

No matter what kind of upbringing you had, God has amazing plans for your life. I love the phrase “against all hope, Abraham in hope believed” (Romans 4).  As you read on in Judges 6, you will see how God used Gideon powerfully despite the odds that Gideon had to face.

As the saying goes, “It’s not how you start but how you finish.” When God called you, maybe you were not influential or born into wealth or a great family. Maybe you were born with a set of hardships such as congenital health issues, poverty or an impossible relationship with a parent or sibling. You may look at the statistics and wonder, “Is that going to be my future?” However, if you stay close to God and allow Him to mold and shape you as He sees fit (Jeremiah 18), He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn (Psalm 37:6).

It’s natural to feel inferior when you feel like you were singled out to have all the odds stacked up against you. However, your success would bring more glory to God than someone who was equipped with the right parents, the right financial resources and social support.

The longer you stay a Christian, the more you will see how God has been working in your life so that others may stand in awe of your triumph over the odds. How will your story end?

“Your beginnings will seem humble; so prosperous will your future be.” Job 8:7

#God #significance #insignificance #Gideon #selfesteem #musingz4life #perseverance #humblebeginnings #glory #Godsglory #YourStory

Taken for Granted

gods-handsIt’s easy to take people for granted after you’ve known them for a while.  The initial excitement of a new friend or lover wears off after a few months.  The term “Seven Year Itch” refers to the decline in happiness around the seventh year of marriage, but most people I have talked to these days have never had relationships that even made the five-year mark, let alone a year or two!  Divorce rates in Christian marriages continue to skyrocket.  If we cannot fathom what perseverance means in a marriage to another human being whom we can see, how can we understand perseverance in a relationship with God whom we cannot see?

Look at how God pursues us:

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;

I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
All day long I have held out my hands
to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
pursuing their own imaginations—
a people who continually provoke me
to my very face…”

 ~ Isaiah 65:1-3

All day long, God holds out His hands to a people who continually reject Him and choose to pursue their own imagination.  I’m not referring to imagination as in terms of delusions, but it’s more like dreaming of your future without including God in your plans.  When you plan for the next 30, 40 or 50 years until you die, do you consider how your life could glorify God in ever-increasing measure, or is it all about you?  God looks for you even though He never crosses your mind for a millisecond.

 11 “But as for you who forsake the Lord
    and forget my holy mountain,
who spread a table for Fortune
and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,
12 I will destine you for the sword,
and all of you will fall in the slaughter;
for I called but you did not answer,
I spoke but you did not listen.
You did evil in my sight
and chose what displeases me.”

~ Isaiah 65:11-12

 How about those who have already tasted the goodness of God and still choose to forsake Him?  Forsaking God is not an overnight process.  It varies for everyone, depending on how much one compromises with evil.  The more you compromise, the faster and easier it becomes to backslide.

 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

 ~ Matthew 13:3-9

 Some who come to the faith last a short time, while others last a very long time and then they fall away.  Very few last until they breathe their last, and that’s why the scriptures say that the road to destruction is wide but the gate to heaven is narrow (Matthew 7:13).  God reaches out to us every single day.  He reaches out to people who don’t know Him yet and extends the same to those who already have a relationship with Him.  Walking with God means having a loving relationship with Him, not only “till death do we part” but for eternity after death.

Have we taken God for granted and chosen the wider path, or will we pray and ask God for help to be obedient so we can stay on the road less traveled?

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.  And his commands are not burdensome.”   

1 John 5:3

#NarrowPath #PleaseGod #love #obedience #musingz4life

Still in the Fight

joe louis“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” 1 Timothy 6:12

“Do you not know that in a race, all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

It’s interesting how the Bible alludes to sports in reference to walking with God.  Any professional athlete will tell you that preparing for the match, marathon or game takes hours of training, and if you want to win, you have to outdo all the other competitors who have spent equal or more hours than you have in preparation for that moment.

Do athletes compete in privacy? Do runners run so that they can stop just before they reach the finish line?  Of course not!  They’re in it to win it, and they want to win in the presence of thousands of witnesses in the stadium and millions on TV.

In some sports like boxing, your stamina and endurance are especially crucial. If you have fallen to the floor and you don’t get back up before the count is over, your opponent wins.

When you profess your faith in Christ publicly, people are watching you.  They may watch for different reasons – some wait to watch you fall, others watch so they can point fingers and criticize you from their high horse, and others may see your example and try to find an excuse to not go to church because of “hypocrites like you.”

But you see, my friend, you don’t proclaim Christ so you can live outwardly to “show others what a good Christian you are.”  As soon as you proclaim Jesus not only to be your Savior but also your Lord – Lord over your decisions, your emotions, behavior, goals and ambition – Satan is watching you. People should not be your concern; Satan is your true enemy who will do everything in his power to take you down.

“Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  1 Peter 5:8

The battle we wage as Christians is a spiritual battle.  The forces we are fighting against are unseen by the naked eye:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have the divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (emphasis added)

The next time you feel defeated by circumstances, difficult people, or your own negative self-talk, remember that you are the fighter in this boxing match between you and Satan.  Don’t give up!  The Christian race is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.  It’s not swimming; it’s a boxing match!  And when you reach the end of your life, may you be able to say these words:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

#perseverance #endurance #fighter #winner #GoodFightoftheFaith #musingz4life #InItToWinIt #FinishTheRace