Tag Archives: Endurance

Patient Endurance

Hebrews 6:13-15

13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,

14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.

15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

Our salvation does not come overnight.  It does not magically appear in the instant we accept the sacrifice of Christ by saying a few words at an altar, or wherever we are.  There are some who say that once we are saved, we are always saved.  Nothing can change that, they say.  I disagree.  Let me share my thoughts on this today.

I came to Christ through the fervent prayers of a friend.  He prayed for me, sent me scripture verses in letters, and gently urged me closer and closer to the cross.  I was living a despicable lifestyle of drugs, sex and booze to go along with my foul mouth and corrupt speech.  I was happy in my sin, and really did not want Christ, or any type of religion in my life.  When I came to visit my friend in Iowa and he took me to his church, God grabbed my heart.  I confessed my sin later that week and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord.  I was saved that night.  My sins were washed away and I was made a new creature in Christ.  There is no doubt, and no disputing that fact.  I never spoke another swear word, I started going to church and reading the Bible, I changed my lifestyle to some extent, and I started walking with God and seeking His counsel.  Two years later, I visited Iowa again and met the women who would be my wife.  God definitely had a plan, and I moved to Iowa a couple months later, married that girl and now we have been married for 44 years.  Tomorrow, I will share the story of how we met, so tune in.  It was surely by the grace of God.

So, now I am saved.  I am walking with the Lord and trying my best to put all my past failures behind me.  I am trusting in His Word that His love will never leave me (Romans 8:35-38) and I know he has forgiven me.  I am a completely different man than the one that first came to Iowa.  I have changed and there is no way anyone can deny that.  My life is full of God now, and I am learning more about Him every day.  There is a zeal that surpasses any zeal I have had for anything in the past.  But as time goes on, that zeal subsides a little, and I start to drift away from Him.  He never moves, but I do.  I stop reading so much in His word, and some of my worldly ways start to invade my life again.  I find myself like Paul in Romans 7:19-25 where he talks about doing the things he doesn’t want to do and not doing the things he does want to do.  His is a perplexing place to be, and one we can all associate with (I think).  It is in these moments I am in danger of losing that salvation that I once enjoyed.

In yesterday’s post, I talked about the prodigal son.  When he was feeding the pigs, and only hoped to have the husks of the ears of corn to eat because he was so broke, he was outside the love of his father.  Not because His father ever stopped loving him, but because he walked away from that love. He decided there were better things in life than his father’s love.  It is true that God will never stop loving us, and that He is always there, waiting for us, to take us back in if we return to Him.  But we can walk away from that love and move outside its protection.  We can come to the place where we are no longer doing the will of the Father, but doing our own thing.  We can reject the salvation we have received and walk back into the world of sin we came out of.  We can be saying Lord, Lord, and still not be known of God (Matthew 7:21-24).

This is where patient endurance comes in.  We are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13).  When we are saved by accepting Christs atoning sacrifice, we are saved in our innermost being.  The Holy Spirit coms in and starts to clean up our heart and mind.  But that all takes a lifetime to work itself out to the rest of our flesh.  It takes a lifetime of following Him to truly bring our salvation to fruition.  We don’t just go to the altar, accept Christ, and then walk away and do whatever we want.  We are not saved so that grace may abound toward us (Romans 6:1-2).  We are saved so that we can then present ourselves to God a living sacrifice and be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2).  This is not a passive salvation; it is an active salvation.  God is continually drawing each of us closer and closer to Himself, and we must be willing to be drawn.  Despite all the trials we face, He is still working within us to bring about our salvation.

Seven times in the book of Revelation, God makes a promise to those that overcome.  Overcome what?  Jesus said that he overcame the world (John 16:33).  What is there left for us to overcome then?  We have to overcome ourselves, with His help.  We have to allow God to change us, renew us, transform us, sanctify us into the perfection He desires for us.  Not a perfection that never does anything wrong (although wouldn’t that be nice), but a perfection that knows all things work together for good and that He is always working within us to bring about our salvation.  I have not arrived until I walk through those pearly gates.  My salvation becomes complete when I cast off this corruptible body and put on incorruption (1 Cor 15:31-33). Until then, I am a work in progress. And to get there, I must have patient endurance.  Patient with God to bring me to that place, and patient with myself to allow God to give me the strength to work out my salvation within me.  Only He can provide that kind of strength.  Remember what James says?  I shared this yesterday, but it bears sharing again today.  James 1:4 says we must let patience have its perfect work, so that we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 sums it up nicely also “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”  It is so essential that, once we are saved, we continue in His word, learning, growing and changing so that we too can be thoroughly furnished, which means fully equipped, to do the works that God has intended for each of us.  These works are the way our salvation is worked out – by doing for others as we discussed yesterday.  It is a process, not one isolated incident.  And, although that one incident is life-changing, it is nothing compared to the magnificent changes God desires for us (Psalm 37:4).  But it all hinges on us continually working out that salvation that began with our repentance.  Day after day after day, it never ceases, and we must always be diligent and practice that patient endurance that will lead us to the promise of God, just like it did Abraham.

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Philippians 1:29

” For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him,

but also to suffer for his sake.

 

 

Salvation  is a two-edged sword.  One the one side it is a wonderful, life changing event that was made possible by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on a cross many years ago.  He took the penalty of our sin, and freed us from the bondage of sin.  This was foretold in Genesis 3 when Eve is told by God in verse 15 – her seed will bruise the heel of the serpent.  The thread of salvation flows all the way through the Old Testament.  Prophecies in places like Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 tell details of what Messiah will suffer.  And once the events took place, His salvation was available for all who will call on His name (Rom 10:9-10, 13).   guidance

 

The good side of this salvation includes healing, deliverance from addictions and torments, love, joy, peace, fellowship, the Holy Spirit, revelation into His word, grace, mercy, -I could go on and on.  Oh, and it gives us eternal life in heaven with all the others who have called on His name.  We have hope now, a hope that is forever.  Those without Christ are headed for a hell they have not even imagined in their wildest dreams.  We hear jokes about hell all the time.  Things like it’s hotter than hell, or I’m going to party in hell.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Hell is a place of torment forever and forever.  You do not want to go there, for any reason.  Imagine­­­ constantly grinding your teeth to ease the pain (Matt 8:12), eternal punishment (Matt 25:16), fire and worms all over (Mark 9:48), and finally cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:14).  Salvation in Christ is the only way to avoid hell.  Please make sure you do do.

 

But the other side of the coin is that we who are saved will suffer persecution while we still live.  When you get saved, depending on your previous life style, you will probably have to give up friendships or you may lose your salvation.  You may be made fun of for becoming a religious person, you may be cast out of your social circles.  Now, there are new friends to be made, don’t get me wrong.  Betting into a local church will bring people around you who can help you with your walk.  They will be a blessing to you.  Persecution and suffering gets worse if you get into ministry.  Missionaries in some countries risk their lives to preach the gospel.  But it is worth it to them, just like it was to Paul the apostle (Philippians 1).

 

Accept Jesus as your Savior.  Avoid Hell at all costs.  And allow God to walk you through the storms that may come.  He is worth everything!

 

 

Lord, I thank you for your amazing grace and mercy.  You took a lost sinner and saved me from a devil’s hell.  You turned my life around when II need it, gave me a wonderful family, filled my heart with the heart of a worship leader and preacher, and keep me in every storm.  What a wonderful Savior you are.

 

Philippians 1:23

 

“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ;

which is far better:”

 

Paul loved what he was doing despite all the hardships he had to endure to accomplish his mission.  Stoned, beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked – none of it mattered at all.  He would go through anything to preach Christ and Him crucified.    And he approached it with zeal, and did all he could to make sure disciples were being raised up that could carry the church onward.

Yet his heart yearned for heaven.  He wanted it over with, but he did not stop short and say let the end come.  He would work as hard as He could until the day God called to take him home.  Letters were sent to churches by his disciples, and letters were brought back.  He would instruct the churches by what he heard in the letters and through his colleagues.  The new testament was written in large part from his imprisonment in Rome.

I pray that I have this kind of zeal throughout my ministry.  There is no reason to slow down in ministry when we get older, or worn.  The call of God transcends time and age.  Once we are called, it is a lifelong service to reach souls for the lost, make disciples of men, and build His church.  The way we go about it may change, but the calling will never fade away.

And we need our senior pastors and evangelists to help us navigate through this world.  They have wisdom they can impart to us that has come from years of serving God.  Of course, it is most important to listen to the voice of God for wisdom, but He will bring great men alongside to minister to His ministers as well.  I need to be open to hear from both.

And when my years on earth are coming to an end, let me continue to reach out and preach, write the songs of God, sing what He gives me, and witness to those who come across my oath.  Let me never waiver from preaching His word.

 

Lord, I want a lifelong desire to preach your word, not just one I can use on and off.  Give me a greater zeal, and a greater love for souls.  Help me prepare more for witnessing to those around me.  Help me to be a better student of your word.  In everything Lord I desire to do more than I have done before, so that many will come to know you as Savior.­­­