Dear Church Family,
This month I want to encourage you all to persevere!! Do not give up. We are tempted to quit in so many areas of our lives. We are tempted to quit diets, work out routines, bible reading plans, and we are even tempted to quit on relationships that we are in. But as believers we must be marked by perseverance.
Newt Gingrich says that… Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. We must hang in there. We cannot become weary in doing well. Our goal in this life should be to finish well and live a life that honors God.
Ravi Zacharias says that…"Beginning well is a momentary thing; finishing well is a lifelong thing."
But it is often hard to continue on in life because we often feel as if we are not making any progress. Consider this excerpt out of the diary of John Wesley…
Sunday, A.M., May 5: Preached in St. Anne's. Was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday, P.M., May 5: Preached in St. John's. Deacons said "Get out and stay out."
Sunday, A.M., May 12: Preached in St. Jude's. Can't go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19: Preached in St. Somebody Else's. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19: Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26: Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as a bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2: Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2: Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.
Life is hard for us all. Often we feel as if we are making no progress, but we have got to hang in there and keep living for the Lord. But the reality of life is that it is hard. Consider Romans 5:2-5
2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[a] into this grace in which we stand, and we[b] rejoice[c] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
WE have got to have the right attitude when hard times come our way. If we have placed our faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord we need to remember that we now have access to the unmerited favor of God on our lives. We have been forgiven. We have been made new, and we have all hope for eternity. No matter what comes our way in this life.
So we can rejoice in our sufferings. We can endure our sufferings knowing that God will use them ultimately for our good!! But we must keep our focus on the Lord in life and not the hardships that come our way. You cannot quit!! You must endure to the end!! Quitting is not an option!!
On March 6, 1987, Eamon Coughlan, the Irish world record holder at 1500 meters, was running in a qualifying heat at the World Indoor Track Championships in Indianapolis. With two and a half laps left, he was tripped. He fell, but he got up and with great effort managed to catch the leaders. With only 20 yards left in the race, he was in third place, good enough to qualify for the finals. He looked over his shoulder to the inside, and, seeing no one, he let up. But another runner, charging hard on the outside, passed Coughlan a yard before the finish, thus eliminating him from the finals.
Coughlan's great comeback effort was rendered worthless by taking his eyes off the finish line. It's tempting to let up when the sights around us look favorable. But we finish well in the Christian race only when we fix our eyes on the goal: Jesus Christ
I love you and I love being your pastor!