Thoughts, Truth

Bent, Not Broken

This week marks my 16th week of pregnancy. Little Bean is growing right on schedule for his or her September 11th due date. I have found it hard through this pregnancy not to think back to last summer when at 16 weeks we found out the little girl we were expecting had died a week before. So I reminisce, not to grieve, but to wonder at how God has brought us through. Closer. Stronger. More sure of God’s promises and plan than ever.

I find my self pondering on the shepherd boy and future king David—when his father sent him with food for his brothers who were on the front line of battle. As David approached to greet his brothers he heard Goliath—who for 40 days had been berating the Israelite army. As the mocking of the Philistine giant fell on David’s ears, an indignation filled him. In 1 Samuel 17:26 he asked the question, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” We should be just as indignant when anything or anyone seeks to exalt themselves over the word and the promise of the Lord. The Israelites were the army of the Lord, the chosen people. We, however, are literally the children of the one true King. We have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. When Jesus died and rose again He was seated at the right hand of God the Father. Ephesians 2:6 tells us that God “raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand, stand therefore…” (Ephesians 6:13-14 NKJV) When we stand against an enemy, we stand in His righteousness and authority. There is nothing, absolutely nothing—be it sickness, disease, poverty, addiction, depression, or anything else—that has the right to defy us if we dwell in the secret place mentioned in Psalm 91. When David stood he used what he had and trusted God do the rest. Ephesians 6:10 tell us “to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” When we stand—we stand on what God has already done. He has already provided our healing, our provision, our deliverance, our redemption. So we stand, trusting that God has already provided anything and everything we have need of through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus. So, what do we have? We have the promises of God sure and steadfast. He has never and will never fail. So we we stand—bending but never breaking.

Truth

Endurance

Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and you will leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:32-33)

The verdict is in. The end of the story is written. We win. Even in the midst of persecution we can have joyful peace in the certainty of Christ’s victory. We just have to make it to the end. And how do we do that? We endure.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:36 that, “[We] have need of endurance, so that after [we] have done the will of God, [we] may receive the promise.” There are a couple different viewpoints when it comes to endurance. There’s the “if we can just hold on ’til the end” people. These are the people who let life happen to them. Who hold onto their salvation by the skin of their teeth and do nothing to further the kingdom of God. Then there’s the people who charge into their future. The people who run for the finish line. Endurance is not just about surviving. It’s about how we get there.

“My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of The Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by The Lord—that The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” (James 5:10-11) The Greek word for endure in this passage of scripture is hupomeno. Hupomeno means to hold one’s ground in conflict, bear up against adversity, hold out under stress, stand firm, persevere under pressure, wait calmly and courageously. It is not passive resignation to fate or mere patience, but the active, energetic resistance to defeat that allows calm and brave endurance. Endurance isn’t just making it to the end. It includes our attitude as we go.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) My friends, there are generations of saints that have gone before that are cheering us on. But we can’t run with the cares of this world weighing us down. Cast them over on The Lord and run your race! Keep your eyes on God’s eternal purpose and endure.