Saturday, September 29, 2018

September 30, 2018

"For this reason make every effort to add to your faith goodness, to goodness, knowledge, to knowledge; self-control and to self-control, perseverance"  II Peter 1:5-6

The greatest example of perseverance EVER was Jesus! His horrific suffering inflicted Him with unimaginable pain and shame. But somehow, He was able to endure it and redeem us from the penalty of our sins. What can we learn from Him about perseverance?

I think the first thing we can learn from His suffering is:

The attitude of perseverance:

When I think of perseverance I think of David Livingstone, the pioneer missionary to Africa, who walked over 29,000 miles. His wife died early in their ministry and he faced stiff opposition from his Scottish brethren. He ministered half blind. His kind of perseverance spurs me on. As I run, I remember the words in his diary: "Send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever me from any tie but the tie that binds me to Your service and to Your heart.

The attitude of perseverance is essentially this - "life is not about me"! For the Christ follower life is about Him not you or not me! That means EVERYTHING is about Him! My success is about Him. My ambition must be toward Him. My strengths will be surrendered to Him, so will my weaknesses. My joys will come from Him and my suffering will be shared with Him and endured for Him.

I have been privileged to preach and teach in the David Livingstone Memorial Presbyterian Church in Livingstone, Zambia. What a thrill that was! But there would not be a Livingstone or a Livingstone Memorial Church except for the perseverance of Dr. David Livingstone. In the true spirit of the word "hupomone" - "enduring hardship in a way that turns hardship into victory".

 Like Jesus, David Livingstone modeled the attitude of perseverance - "my hardship is not about me, I will not allow it to be about me! I will endure it for the glory of God and use it to strengthen my faith."

Are you struggling to endure your suffering?

Will you remember that your suffering is not about you?

Will you invite Him into your pain and give you His endurance?

September 29, 2018

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey So he invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Moral: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!
That's perseverance - "hupomone" - "enduring until you conquer the bad with good"

Here are a couple of verses that express this idea:

"Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21

 "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

Woody Allen has said, "Eighty percent of life is showing up."

That is the point of this virtue called "perseverance" - show up and come to stay and come in faith and expect God's power to meet you there until He turns the pain into gain! The same God that turned the tragedy of the crucifixion into the triumph of the resurrection will do the same for you if you endure!

What's the next right thing you need to do?