God hasn’t promised us that our dreams will come to pass overnight, but He has promised us He will empower us to fulfill them. In this message Paul encourages the believer to remain strong and persistent when facing adversity and trials. Sharing testimony of his own struggles, you will be motivated and energized to continue moving forward in this powerful message entitled, “Remaining Strong and Persistent”!
The temptation to give up in times of difficulty can feel overwhelming. The scripture exhorts us in I Corinthians 15:58, “Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” How you choose to respond in a time of adversity will determine your outcome. In this message Paul takes an experience from his youth involving a neighborhood cat and dog to illustrate how we must become unmovable to capture God’s promises for our lives.
In the Old Testament God had his people erect altars to remind them of how He saved them and brought them through great difficulty to encourage them when they faced a new challenge that was overwhelming. Every day we are faced with difficult challenges that are altar creating moments for us. If we partner with God and keep a good attitude we will arrive on the other side and build our altar and give God glory there. Be encouraged by this thought provoking message.
“It’s not the atheist shaking his fist towards the heavens that is a threat to Christianity; by far more dangerous is the Christian, who despite his outward appearance, is a verifiable stranger to the character of Christ he claims to serve. For most of the church’s two thousand year history, Christians understood that faith and Biblical principles infused every aspect of life and existence. No one compartmentalized his life in such a way as to create a “private” sphere for his faith and a Christless “public” sphere for his work and hobbies. Jesus was all, and was in all. It is all too common to be a Christian that believes in Word that is not personally known, a power that is not personally walked in, and a relationship that is void of relating personally.” -Culturally Incorrect by Rod Parsley
Jesus said in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.” My question I have for you is simple, “How’s Your Salt?” Have you kept yourself salty by living pure and sharing Christ with those you encounter daily? I encourage you to be BOLD! Be Courageous! Be Daring! Dare to step outside your comfort zone and share the love of God with someone today. Let them know God sees them and He longs for them to know Him. As far as that goes, He longs to know you too. Are you spending adequate time with the Lord daily? He longs for you too.
I encourage you to remember why you are on the planet and what Jesus said our mission was. Go into the world making disciples and teaching what Christ taught. Are you making disciples? Are you teaching others how to follow Christ and teaching them how to teach others to follow Christ? This is your mission. This must be our priority no matter what we do for a living.
Live the Life!
I would rather see a sermon than to hear one any day
I would rather that you lead than merely point the way
The eye is a more eager pupil than ever was the ear
Advice is often confusing but example is always clear.
The Apostle Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians, “They can see that you are a letter from Christ, written by us. It is not a letter written with pen and ink, but by the Spirit of the living God; not one carved on stone, but in human hearts.
How important it is for us to walk out what we profess. I encourage you today to live the LIFE! Remember, what you say is important, but what you do will give you the right to say it.
Prayer: Father God, help us to live a life worthy of your calling. Help us to represent you in ALL we do. Forgive us of our sins and short-comings. Empower us with your holy Spirit as we pray, meditate your Word, and worship you.
Many people assume that they will not be happy and content until their circumstances change – until their spouse changes, or until they get a better job, or until they move into a bigger house, or until they are in a different location, or until they find their life mate, or until they get rid of all their problems.
Don’t make that mistake. One of the biggest secrets in our walk with God is learning to enjoy our life where we are. You may indeed have some major obstacles facing you right now, but being discouraged isn’t going to make anything better and it won’t make the problem disappear. Know that God is watching over your life. He’s directing your steps (if you are allowing Him to), and He will take you exactly where He wants you to go.
The apostle Paul said it best, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need” (see Phil 4:11-14).
He was saying, “I’ve made a decision that I will live happy and content.” Now content doesn’t mean that we don’t want to see and experience change. We aren’t called to sit in neutral in our walk with God and just accept everything that life brings our way. I like the way the Amplified Bible states Philippians 4:11: “Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.” That is the secret. That is the Key! You don’t have to get upset because your circumstances are not exactly what you want them to be. It’s important to remember that God will not allow difficulty to come into your life, unless He has a purpose for it. You may not understand God’s purpose right now, but that’s okay. God seldom does things the way we expect Him to and He seldom responds to our prayers in the manner we want Him to. If you’ll keep a right attitude and grow in faith, God has promised that He will see you through and will bless you as a result.
We all go through dry seasons in life, times when we don’t feel or see anything happening. Maybe you have been calling out to God in prayers but your prayers aren’t being answered. Maybe you’re tithing but seeing no return or treating people with kindness, but nobody is going out of their way to help you.
Is God a liar? Is His Word not true?
No, these dry seasons are proving grounds. God wants to grow you. What kind of attitude will you have when you are trying to do the right thing, but the wrong thing keeps happening to you?
Remember, it’s during these times that God is preparing you for greater things. When you go through a dry season, a long period of time you don’t see anything good happening, just stay faithful; keep a good attitude and do what you know is the right thing to do. God is preparing you for greater things.
You are on a journey and every journey has a path. My experience has revealed two distinctly different paths. There is what I will call the “Decided Path” and the other I will call the “Conforming Path”. The vital and most critical decision is which path you will choose. The only similarity these paths have in common is they will both lead you to a certain destination.
The Decided Path is a very intentional path. It requires planning and forethought, it takes effort and commitment, it is a narrow path and very few people choose to put forth the discipline to travel it.
On the other hand, there is the Conforming Path. This path requires no planning or forethought, it takes no effort or commitment, it is wide and many people choose to travel it.
Choosing which path almost sounds like a no brainer! The wide, easy path is certainly the most appealing at face value. The problem lies in how you choose the path. The first thing to consider in choosing any path isn’t how difficult or easy it may be to travel; instead, the deciding factor is where it will lead. Will it take you where you want to go? Many people want to walk into peace, blessings, wisdom, influence, prosperity and many other positive outcomes, but choosing the right path will determine where you end up. I want to encourage you to consider your desired destination in every decision you make. Beware of conformity! Every decision you make will take you one step closer to your desired destination or one step further away. God wants to pour out His blessings on you. He has created a path that will lead you to these treasures. You may become weary as you journey and be tempted to take the easy path, but don’t forget that God has great things waiting for you as you travel the Decided Path.
Failure is a universal problem we all experience. No one likes to fail but we all do. No one is sinless and perfect except Jesus. I have met many people, throughout my years of ministry who have failed and seem to be stuck in life. They feel condemned and guilty because of their failure and now they are paralyzed, unable to move forward because they are stuck in life.
If that’s you, can I tell you something? You’re not alone! As a matter of fact, you are in good company. The Bible reveals we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Yet, even though we fail, God still chooses to use us for His purposes. King David is a great example of a person who failed God greatly, yet God still used Him to do big things. You may remember David had an affair with a woman and had her husband murdered. David was stricken with guilt and failure. He wouldn’t eat; he was in deep despair. But let us take a moment and look at the outcome of David’s story. God restored David and used him to rule Israel as the greatest King they ever had.
What was the key to David’s success? REPENTANCE! David fasted, prayed sincerely, turned from his sin and asked God to forgive him. The scriptures say God heard David’s heartfelt repentance and forgave him completely. Proverbs 24:16 says a righteous person may fall seven times, but he will get back up again. God says in Isaiah that even though our sins may be like scarlet, He will make them as white as snow. Psalm 103:12 says that as far as the east is from the west so are our sins removed.
Do you get the point?! If God forgives, forgets, and moves forward in life, shouldn’t we? The point is God wants to help you get back up again when you fail. A lot of people want to hide from God when they make mistakes like Adam and Eve did in the garden. Notice Jesus left the ninety-nine sheep to pursue the lost one. Once he was found, He carried him back on His shoulders saying, “Rejoice with Me, for I have found My sheep which was lost!” (Luke 15:3-7). This tells me that our God is a good, merciful God. He can’t wait to lift you up on His shoulders!
How about you today? Is there something in your life today you can’t get past? Why don’t you allow God to make today your day of freedom? If God forgave David of his great sins, don’t you think He will forgive you of your sins too? If God can use David, Peter, Moses, or me, He can use you too!
Don’t let a moment of weakness become a lifetime of guilt and failure. Rise up and be the person of destiny God created you to be! We are not defined by our mistakes; we are defined by Almighty God. It’s only when we stay in guilt and shame that we allow our mistakes to define us. You may stumble and fall, but when your hope is in God, when you receive His love and grace, you will mount up on wings like eagles and soar. That’s a promise!
You have two options when you find yourself in difficult circumstances: you can give up or go on! Only you can make the choice; but if you choose to go on, you can encourage many others throughout your life who are faced with the same choice you once had to make.
One such person who has been an example of courage and raw determination in my life is Alan Sargent. Many of you know Alan, but for those who are not too familiar with who Alan is let me give a small amount of background. In 1988 God spoke to my lost heart and directed me to attend Applied Life Christian College. One of the many awesome leaders there was Alan Sargent. God used Alan to help free me from hurt, unforgiveness, and a truck-load of rejection. It was an incredibly freeing experience. Throughout the years to follow, I have had the opportunity to observe Alan live his Christian life out in front of me. A couple of years ago, Alan had a couple of severe strokes that left his incredible intellect fully intact but greatly affected his physical body. Tasks that used to be as simple as lacing a shoe or eating breakfast became extremely difficult and frustrating. There is one thing that you must understand about Alan before he had these debilitating strokes; the man lived his life like a man with his hair on fire. Alan has always been extremely active and busy. If it was happening, Alan was a part of it. This season of transition following his strokes has been very humbling and difficult for him and his family.
The way to find out what is inside of something is to squeeze it. If you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice. Squeezing a person is no different. I have watch Alan being squeezed and I have seen the fruit of the Spirit pour forth. Instead of making a companionship with sadness, defeat, and depression, Alan has found a friend in hope. Alan has published two books since his strokes and has four books more waiting in the wings. You see, when things don’t work out the way we wish they would, we can either be sad about what we did not get, or we can be creative and look to see what we can do with what is left. Alan has pressed through the temptation to be defeated and he has chosen to stand on God’s awesome promise found in Galatians 6:9.
Like Alan, you may be facing a situation that seems utterly hopeless. I urge you today to ask the Lord to restore your hope. Hope simply says, “I believe something good can and will happen.” Sadness, disappointment, and despair have to flee in the presence of hope. As long has you have hope, you will not be able to give up.