Wednesday, April 9, 2008

You are NOT alone (Refuse to hang up your Cleats #3)

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! You will never get TODAY back, or get to do it over again, so make the most of it. Enjoy the special moments that you have, fulfill the potential of this day that God has planned for you. Walk under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit! As you do that, understand that difficult times may come, but keep your mind FIXED on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. He ALWAYS finishes what he starts!

The past two days we have been looking at a baseball term that is used when a player is retiring or quitting for whatever reason. The term is, "hanging up my cleats." God has burned within my heart this week that the enemy wants to do whatever he can to try to get you to give up because of discouragement, despair, desperation, depression, frustration, aggravation, or a number of other reasons. But we must make up our mind that we will not hang up our cleats! God isn't finished working on your behalf just yet:

Philippians 1:6 (AMP) And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

At times you may have wondered, has anyone else ever experienced the kinds of problems I'm experiencing right now, or am I out here all alone?

No, you're not alone! Hebrews 11 records the remarkable feats of faith accomplished by various people in the Old Testament. I encourage you to go back and read Hebrews 11 today. These were people who had to fight and struggle as they waited for the object of their faith to manifest. Their walk of faith was a great, great challenge.

Because these Old Testament saints stayed with what God had told them to do and never gave up, they eventually saw His blessings begin to operate in their lives. Nevertheless, nearly all of them endured great, difficult hardships and challenges before their victory came.

To let us know that we're not alone in our own walk of faith, the writer of Hebrews 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" (Hebrews 12:1).
I have mentioned several times on this blog that my favorite book is "Sparkling Gems from the Greek" by Rick Renner. Today, I want to share with you some of his thoughts on this verse.

Notice that it says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses...." The phrase "compassed about" is taken from the word peikeimenai, which is a compound of the words peri and keimai. The word peri means around or to be completely encircled by something. The second part of the word keimai means to lie down. When these two words are compounded into one word, they mean to lie around, as if something has been piled high and is lying all around you on every side. This is the portrayal of being completely encircled by something that is stacked high on every side!

Therefore, this verse carries the following idea: "Wherefore seeing we have lying all around us on every side." "Wherefore seeing these biblical examples are piled up and lying all around us..."

The Bible is piled high with examples of people — people just like you — who stood in faith and endured difficulties in order to do the will of God. You are surrounded on every side with powerful examples of people who were challenged in their faith, yet who held fast to the Word of God. They absolutely REFUSED to hang up their clears! And as a result, these godly people saw God's promises come to pass in their lives!

You are not alone!

  • Look at Noah and the fight he endured.

  • Look at Abraham and the fight he endured.

  • Look at Sarah and the fight she endured.

  • Look at Jacob and the fight he endured.

  • Look at Joseph and the fight he endured.

  • Look at Moses and the fight he endured.

  • Look at Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets and the fight they all endured.

Take some time today to read some of these examples from the Old Testament — and then turn to the New Testament to see the many examples of faithful people who are also listed there. The Bible is packed full of examples of those who heard from God, who took His Word deep into their hearts, and who refused to stop until they saw the fulfillment of what God had promised them. Like you, they faced hardships and challenges. But no matter what obstacles stood in their way, they kept going and never stopped until God's plan for their lives was accomplished. Can you imagine what would have happened if they had given up, quit, hung up their cleats? They would have missed out on the many victories that God had in store for them.

According to Hebrews 12:1, there are so many people who fit this description that they are literally lying all around you. And don't think you can only look to the Bible for these godly examples. If you look closely, you'll see that there are huge numbers of these "never-give-up" kind of people living on this earth right now as well. You are not alone in your walk of faith!

Don't let the devil tell you that you're the only one who has faced this kind of circumstance, because many have gone before you who have faced the same battles and won great victories. If you'll commit a few minutes of your time to read Hebrews 11, I believe you'll find that your battle isn't worse than the battles these saints fought and won. Reading these verses will encourage your heart!

Don't give up and throw in the towel! Don't hang up your cleats! Hard times will pass, and you will see the Word of God bring you the victory you desire. When you're tempted to get discouraged, just remember the many examples piled up all around you of people who endured and later won their prize!

I asked God as I wrote today's blog, to supernaturally encourage anyone who reads it today! I know that He will honor my prayer, because He always honors His Word! Blessings!

Pastor Rusty

Today's "Through the Bible in a year" reading: Wednesday-April 9, 2008: Ezra 3:1 – Ezra 6:22

This weeks' memory verse to "Hide in my heart": 2 Timothy 1:12

2 Timothy 1:12 (KJV) For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.