Confident Endurance

Hebrews 10:35,36 (NKJV) Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:35, “do not cast away your confidence”.  Webster defines confidence as, the feeling of being certain that something will happen or something is true.   

Confidence can be found in many forms, degrees and applications.  One can have confidence in the counsel of a close friend.  A bowhunter can be confident in his preparation and ability to execute a precision shot.  A pastor can be confident in his understanding of God’s word and his ability to convey it. Confidence is important.  It is born from knowledge and experience.  It guides our thoughts, that lead to action.  It can aid in creating and/or reinforcing our identities.  When confidence in oneself, someone else or something is shaken, the effects can have devastating results.

The confidence Paul speaks of in this passage is the belief and truth of the Risen Christ.  This confidence is the belief in the truth of His sacrifice for us and the truth of His promise of eternal reward for our faithfulness.  Despite what we see, hear, experience or think, it is imperative, no matter what, that we resolve in our hearts and minds, our very souls, to hold tightly this confidence.  “The just shall live by faith”.  This is accomplished by our confidence in the word of God and the promise of Jesus Christ.  Truth.

The ability to execute our resolve to hold firmly to this confidence, will require endurance.  Webster defines endurance as, the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.  Paul is telling us what is required will be difficult and will need to be sustained over a great period of time.  

Think about your life and accomplishments to date.  The accomplishments I am most proud of, required effort, extreme effort.  How many of you have things in your life that you came by easily and hold a significant space on the timeline of your life?  The things that bring us the most satisfaction and sense of accomplishment were hard won.  After all, if they weren’t, they would be common, rather insignificant and certainly not noteworthy.  

Our confidence in Christ is most assuredly noteworthy, anything but common.  In truth, this confidence is the most spectacular, monumental, exquisite thing beyond imagination or comprehension.  And here’s the astounding part, Jesus offers His confidence to us freely.  It will require from us some hard traveling, some tough choices, and perhaps the passage through some refining fire.  So, endurance is essential, however, endurance is provided for by that very confidence!  

Hebrews 10:39 (NKJV) But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,

Scott Pace

Lost and Found

I misplace things almost every day.  Some may think this is an early sign of dementia, which it can be, but for many of us, it is just a way of life.  The other morning, I was rushing to get ready and took the truck across town to do some work, but left the keys to the building I eventually needed back in my other vehicle.  Frustrated, I drove back across town to get them and headed back again.  In doing this, I misplaced another set of keys and thought I should maybe start my day over.  When I found them a short time later, I rejoiced a bit, but was still frustrated at myself for the extra running around.  Often, when I misplace something, I look around in the most logical places, but when that doesn’t work, I often turn to God in frustration and humility and ask for direction.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.  Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.  Psalm 25:4-5

The world is full of stories of people who got bad advice or unclear directions and ended up in trouble.  Each of us probably has similar stories.  Most of us have probably heard of the Donner Party, primarily because of how some survived the difficult Winter they faced.  The reason they ended up in this situation was because of some bad direction and advice that caused delays of weeks and days along their trek to California.  These along with some other mishaps led them to a point of a few hours from crossing a pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains when the snow started falling.  Unable to make it over the pass at this time caused them to be snowed in for months, ultimately leading to starvation for many.  It was not just one thing that caused this demise, but a series of unfortunate events. 

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  Matthew 7:13-14

At some point, we have all been lost.  We all try to find our own way, wind up at a lot of dead ends, and even get a lot of bad directions from those who think they know the way.  Fortunately, God gave us a road map in His Word on how to find forgiveness, true love, and salvation.  He showed us the way that leads to life, and that way is through Christ.  When we find out about this path, it often seems too good to be true, but it is true.  Truth found in grace and forgiveness, which is contrary to the demands of the world.  When you have a chance to show others this way, they may be a little cautious when they start down this path, but one day will be thankful that someone was kind enough to show them The Way!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6

Strength and Courage in Christ,

Clark

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,Was blind, but now I see.                           John Newton (1725-1807)

How to Change

Have you ever wanted to do something good and then lacked the will power to stick with it? Maybe you wanted to get in shape, or save for a big purchase, or prepare for a promotion.  At first you are all in and disciplined.  That lasts for like one day then you lack the will power and do not finish.  Have you ever wanted to change something in your life and once you tried you did not have the power to bring change? Maybe it was doing pull ups, confronting a friend, or trying fix something in your house only to find you could not do it.

photo-1470342495351-a5f90c5011cdI think this describes our relationship with God at times.  We want to wake up early and then the snooze button wins.  We want to read His word and then that text comes in.  Or we want to go to church but we are behind in homework, projects at the house, or life happens.  Then there is our relationships with other people.  We want to call them once a week and we do not.  We want to spend quality time but we have two jobs.  So often we lack the will and the power to change the things we really want changed.

Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

This is one of the most encouraging verses in scripture.  The God who gave His son for our salvation also gives us the desire to do what pleases Him.  We all know we cannot please everyone, but we can please God.  He gives us the desire the will power to do it. Desire is not enough.  We also need the power.  I have the desire to change our nation but I do not have the power.  President Obama is not in my contacts on my phone.  I also need the power for change.  So God also gives us the power for change.  This power is not of this world or something we can make happen on our own.  It is only found by the Holy Spirit. 

 What I have just described is grace.  In scripture there are two kinds of grace.  There is the grace that covers our sin.  Before Jesus people would do sacrifice to receive forgiveness, then Jesus made a way to cover all of our sin by being our sacrifice. Then second kind of grace is by the Holy Spirit who enables us by giving us the desire and the power to live where we are called to live.  

So how do we change?  We go to God in prayer in the secrete place and we ask God to give us give us the desire and the power for change in our lives.  So where do you need change and you are trying alone?  Go to Him now and ask for grace to live in His desire and His power for change.

Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus

Brandon Sereg

Following In All Things

hot-tubSix years ago my wife and I purchased a hot tub. The store we bought it from offered to send out certified experts to install it for $85, an offer I immediately refused . Why?  Because I’m a guy! We don’t need anyone to install things for us right? Since it was a used hot tub they did not have the owner’s manual, but offered to quickly order me one, an offer I also refused. Why? Because I’m a guy, I don’t need no stinking owner’s manual! So, the hot tub was delivered and I went to work installing it in our basement. I got everything hooked up quickly and efficiently, so efficiently in fact that I had five pieces left over when I finished. We filled it up with 300 gallons of water and everything worked perfectly. Needless to say, I was quite proud of myself. When I returned to the hot tub later that night, however, do you want to guess how many gallons were left? Yes, that’s right, ZERO! Let me tell you, its really fun to call your insurance company to explain you flooded your basement because you refused to get help installing a hot tub.

We’ve bought into a worldly mentality that we have to accomplish things on our own, or in a certain manner defined by our society. Its a mindset that often leads us away from closely following God in our daily lives. Instead of listening to the expert on all things, God, we try to do our own thing, with results often not unlike my flooded basement. Jeremiah 17: 5-8 does a terrific job of laying this out.

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes.They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.” “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”



I think most of us have discovered that trying to do our own thing, or listening to the siren call of the world around us, seldom works out the best. Yet, we continue to do it out of the belief that somehow we’ll discover some type of extreme euphoria. The reality is friend that there is nothing better then the joy that comes from God. Nothing can ever surpass the gift of eternal life He gives us, and there is no better plan for life then the path laid out by the architect of the universe. Stop going it alone and/or listening to the world, and start closely following God in all things.

Focus

Psalm 3:4-5New Living Translation (NLT)

I cried out to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude

I lay down and slept,
    yet I woke up in safety,
    for the Lord was watching over me.

Have you ever spent time with someone who makes time with God a priority? They have a shine upon their face, an incredible outlook on life, and a prayer life. They take time to invest in focusing on Jesus instead of their circumstances.

When a man has inspired focus, his purpose in life has direction. Would you agree with that statement? I am realizing in my life as I enter the later years of my life that focus has to be intentional. It is easy to lose focus when you lack direction.

There is a quote from Zig Ziglar that that hits the nail on the head with it comes to focus, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24 hours in a day.”

I am realizing that my focus is first on Christ. He is the founder and finisher of my faith. My life has complete focus when I have chosen to keep him first.

My wife is my next portion of focus in my life. I love her and want to be with her. It is how I love her is how much I love Christ. It is focus to sacrifice my life for her.

The next part of focus is family. I love my children and their spouses. My grandchildren bring great treasure to my life. I am fortunate to have 4 sons and 3 daughters. They keep my life with focus.

I hope my life of focus is driven by seeking after God first. Which in turn brings precision-like focus on his presence. When my life on earth is complete, my wife, children, and grandchildren will say my life was focused on Christ.

Strength and Courage

Michael

 

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