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Don’t Give Up – Part Three

Let this profound thought ruminate mentally.

All that the Father was to the Son —
the Son wants to be to you.

Once you trust the Son
as the Son trusted the Father, then 
He becomes to you what the Father was to Him.

Once this happens then the believer has an internal, eternal supply of extraordinary strength.

Everyone faces three foreboding opposing giants that must be confronted.

First, is insecurity. Feeling our own personal limits we tend to think so does everyone else. Unchecked it grows to the point we feel we have a sign hung around our neck listing our liabilities. In reality nobody knows your liabilities like you.   

Strange as it may seem they don’t care. Being preoccupied with your liabilities you put greater limitations on yourself. Break the bonds of your limitations. Remember, “… God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1: 7)

Competition is the second giant confronted. Expect competition. Let it motivate you to be and become your very best. Don’t let your competition set your standards. Be the genuine you, the one and only you. Don’t be a cheap blurred copy of someone else. 

Disapproval is Goliath, the foremost giant. No one likes it, everyone gets it sooner or later. Most often sooner than later. Be candid, if you deserve it learn from it. If you don’t deserve it, learn to love more because of it. Don’t let the fear of it freeze you into inactivity. If you fear to try you have because of the fear of failure you have cast yourself into an inoperative role.

Understood and properly responded to, it can be one of the best things to happen to you.

An older administrator said to a younger staff member he didn’t know a thing about administration and if he didn’t learn he wasn’t going to make it. Years later he related how he went back to his office, pounded the desk, and said, “That man, that man …. was right.”

He related this in his office. Turning to the bookshelves behind him he said these are books on administration. He had grown to be known as the dean of his profession …. and a very good one. He was smart enough to learn from criticism.

Learn to never let criticism defeat you. Let it nudge you to better performance.  “Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Don’t Give Up – Part Two

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3: 23, 24)

You, too, can be productive. You can enjoy the euphoria of knowing what you have done you did to the best of your ability. Most failure is not caused by a lack of ability but because of distractions resulting in giving up before finishing. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of being distracted before finishing a project.

Most people who give up, give up on themselves before they give up on the project.

It was said of Joan of Arc, “She set her course and went down it like a bolt of lightning.” First, she set her course. She planned and strategized before acting.

Prayerfully plan your activities and once a specific course of action is decided on, commit yourself to it without reservations.        

Former President Calvin Coolidge wisely encouraged, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Education will not, the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” He is saying persistence is more important than talent or education. Not everyone has talent and education, but anyone can manifest persistence and determination.   

That is code language for will power. Don’t tolerate yourself with the excuse, “I could have done it if I had wanted to.”                                                    

Choose for yourself a project manager, a supervisor. Having chosen the Lord for this role, do what you do “as to the Lord.” Seek to please Him, not others, not even yourself.

After complying with these concepts and you still fail at a task, you can know you did it heartily. Therein is gratification.

Post these truths on your job site.

“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” (II Thessalonians 3: 13)

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6: 9)

“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” (Hebrews 10: 36)

Keep the faith factor fresh in your mind for “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.”

Don’t Give Up – Part One

 “I didn’t see that coming.” Do you ever feel like that? We are not futurists with the ability to see what is coming. There is a pattern in Scripture to aid our foresight. Knowing it we can prepare us for the inevitable. 

There is a cautionary adage: “Into every life some rain must fall.”

God loves you and wants you to succeed. Therefore He wants to companion with you at all times. That is a fact even when it does not feel like it. We are assured of this:

“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. (Deut. 31:8)

Establish the pattern: He goes before you, He will be with you, He will not leave you, and He will not forsake you. Let those postulates serve as mental signposts on the road of life. Let this be a giant led jumbotron along that road: “do not fear or be dismayed.”

Dismayed translates the Hebrew “h?tat” which means don’t give up.

The children of Israel were on the banks of the Jordan about to enter the promised land when these words were spoken to them by Moses. They were to cross the Jordan and enter this foreboding land, and have to engage in combat against the fortress city of Jericho without their trusted leader Moses. If these words were reassuring to them under such dreadful circumstances, you have reason to be assured by them under your circumstance.

Later at an ominous moment in their conquest Joshua was God’s mouth of reassurance saying: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

There is that word again “dismayed.” By this time their fear had a new companion, fatigue. We are often at our worst when fatigued. It is then we are inclined to make bad decisions and even give up. Let that word dismayed, that is give up, resonate in your mind. Don’t consider it an option.

In the New Testament is found this encouraging triplet of truth.

“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 16:33)

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (II Corinthians 4:17)

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” (II Corinthians 4:16)

The application of these truths can give reassurance amid tribulation and prevent you from being, are you ready for this, dismayed. Don’t give up.

The Royal Order of the Towel

On my desk is a trophy for which I am grateful. It was given to me when I was inducted into the Fellowship of Christians National Hall of Champions. It is not the typical trophy. The 3-D brass figure depicts Jesus washing one of the disciples’ feet. The inscription on the base reads: “… Jesus… If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9: 38) There is a lesson for life.

To be the servant of Jesus it is essential to understand what that means. It means you change your way of thinking from a “me” centered mentality to a “He” centered way of thinking. It is not about me, it is about Him. Your life must become Christocentric. 

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”    (Matthew 10:24)                                                                       

To be a servant of Jesus one must be resolute. That is, to determine to be a servant and be resolute in doing it. A good servant is not a herky-jerky, hot or cold one, but a consistently full time resolute servant. A secondary “How may I serve you,” is replaced by a “How may I serve Him” by what I say or do in this situation.

To be a good servant of the Lord you must be a true disciple, that is a learner. It is simple, do what He says. To do so you must know. To know you must study His word.

“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!” James 1:22 (MSG)

To be a good servant of the Lord bloom where you are planted. That means to start serving others right around you now. Let them see Jesus in you.

In the “class” where Jesus taught His followers by using an in class example of washing others dirty feet, He did not say do what I have done, that is wash others feet. He said do as I have done, that is humble yourself in whatever way possible and serve others. To simply ceremoniously wash someone’s feet is to miss the message.

As further evidence this is the meaning of what He was teaching He said, “What I am doing you do not understand now….” They understood He was washing feet, but they did not understand He was teaching humility and service to others. Then came the maximum example of humility” 

“He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”  (Philippians 2: 8)

In a fine restaurant waiters often have a towel draped on their arm indicating they are there to serve. Using that imagery of a servant joining the “Royal Order of the Towel.”

God, the Sandman

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.”
Psalm 139: 17, 18

Many passages in the Bible are directed to specific people and incidents, but are applicable to all of us. This is one such passage.

Imagine a child playing in a sandbox. God’s thoughts of you are more numerous than all the sand in the box.    

Reflect of a broad sandy beach. God’s thoughts of you are more numerous than that.

The Psalmist’s imagery is even larger than that. He was in the vast Judean sandy desert. The point is God thinks of you— a lot, actually always.

What He thinks is like that expressed by Jeremiah, “My thoughts towards you are good, not evil.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

As a child it often scared me to think God sees, or knows, what I was doing. Wow! Then one day it dawned on my childish mind, that’s good. It means He knows when I am in danger, or need, or am downcast. Being a loving God He knows and cares.

As an initiation right into some youth groups there is a test for courage. A rope was suspended from a tall water tank. The initiate was blindfolded and instructed to take a hold on the rope to be pulled up to the tank. The person holding the rope was pulled up a few feet. A strange thing is a person blindfolded can’t tell the difference between going up or down. The process involved pulling the person up a few feet and then lowering them. The sensation was always the same, up. The person would hold on to the rope for dear life, but inevitably would become exhausted, turn loose of the rope and think they were falling a great distance only to find they were just a few feet from the ground which was right there all the time.

Our sensation at times may give us the feeling God is going to let us fall, and He has been there all the time, our sure foundation.

God is the supernatural multitasker. He can think of all of us all the time.

There is a song with this line: “He knew me, yet he loved me 
He whose glory makes the heavens shine So unworthy of such mercy 
Yet when he was on the cross I was on his mind. 
Yet when he was on the cross I was on his mind.”

God thinks of you all the time. How often do you think of Him? A person can’t go around thinking about God all the time, but we can think His thoughts about what we are considering. That is, think like you think He would think about whatever you are thinking.