This week, Michael writes that joy and hurt are both experienced in the Lord. Grace is given through the suffering when we need it. God's grace is sufficient for me ...yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Through the pain of the moment, He will comfort our hearts as we experience the fellowship of His suffering. Walking in close proximity with our Lord requires obedience to His will. Oswald Chambers in his devotional "My Utmost for His Highest” asks "What is it that God requires?" God says, "I require extreme service from you with no complaining on your part and no explanation on my part." Within the will of the Lord, His grace is sufficient through the pain and suffering.
Hebrews 10:32 - 40 says, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazing-stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have”“done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
There are three things in order to walk faithfully with the Lord: Perspective, Perseverance, and Admonition. These three themes of Perspective, Perseverance, and Admonition continue in Hebrews 12:36-40: “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
The great cloud of witnesses is “the witness of the believers” in Hebrews 11. The cloud of witnesses continues today with the Coptic Christians who have been tortured and martyred for their faith today around the world. We run the race with endurance, not to see the results every day, but to build a foundation of faith every day. The journey is the daily walk. If we run the race with endurance we can stand. Consistence is the key to running with endurance the race set before us. In due time you shall reap if you faint not. The apostolic faith was inherited through the blood of the martyrs who proceeded us. Perseverance is finishing well, to hear our master say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."
Millennials often get a "bad rap." The Admonition is to consider one good thing about this generation: that they will try anything. Sometimes the traditional church has under-challenged them by giving them a watered down Seeker-sensitive gospel of easy-believism. They need to be challenged to be "all-in." Many of them risk their lives to accomplish feats of extreme physical accomplishment. Extreme sports are popular with these athletes who are all-in to push themselves beyond previous physical limits. According to the Word, physical training profits us for a short time, but godly training is profitable for eternity. Our admonition to these Millennial is, "Where would you be today if you did in the spiritual realm what you're doing in the natural realm?"
Perspective from God's point of view shows us the benefit of perseverance and the admonition to push ourselves to be “all-in” ... to commit ourselves to follow Him day by day upon the journey of life with purpose, knowing that Heaven is at the finish-line.
May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,