This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you will as well. Have you ever seen one of those inflatable clowns with a round base? When you knock him down he bounces back up wearing a big, cheesy grin! Perseverance: it's a powerful tool! The Bible says, "Blessed is the man who perseveres." Paul was flogged, shipwrecked, persecuted, and imprisoned in establishments without gyms, television and time off for good behavior! He could have thrown in the towel but instead he said, "I have no regrets. I couldn't be more sure of my ground - the One I've trusted in can take care of… me… to the end" (2 Timothy 1:12 TM). Can you say that? God isn't impressed by human ability, dynamic personalities, titles, and designer clothes. He respects people who, when they get knocked down, bounce back with their faith intact, more determined than ever to live for Him. It's Satan's job to attack you - it's your job to fight back. If you are passive he will demolish you! Paul writes: "Resist the enemy… [and] after the battle you will still be standing" (Ephesians 6:13 NLT). Perseverance means staying in the fight and refusing to give up. It empowers you so you stop feeling like a victim of circumstances. It builds your confidence and becomes a tool you automatically use. Somebody said the nose of the bulldog is slanted backward so he can keep breathing without letting go! Plus, your reward in Heaven is determined by your level of perseverance here on earth. "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne" On June 1, 1965, a four meter boat slipped quietly out of Falmouth, Massachusetts. Its destination? Falmouth, England. It would be the smallest craft ever to make the voyage. Its name? Tinkerbelle. Its pilot? Robert Manry, a copy editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper who felt that ten years at a desk was enough boredom for anyone. Manry was afraid, not of the ocean, but of all the people who would try to talk him out of the trip. So he only shared it with some relatives and his wife Virginia, his greatest source of support. The trip? He spent harrowing nights of sleeplessness trying to cross shipping lanes without getting run over. Weeks at sea caused his food to become tasteless. Loneliness led to hallucinations. His rudder broke three times. Storms swept him overboard. Had it not been for the rope around his waist he would never have been able to pull himself back on board. Finally, after 78 days alone at sea he sailed into Falmouth, England. During those nights at the tiller he had fantasized about what he would do once he arrived. He expected to simply check into a hotel, eat dinner alone, then next morning see if perhaps the Associated Press might be interested in his story. What a surprise! Word had spread far and wide. To his amazement, 300 vessels with horns blasting escorted Tinkerbelle into port. And 47,000 people stood screaming and cheering him to the shore. One of the great themes of Scripture is perseverance. No matter how great your calling, your talent, your cause or your goal, without perseverance you won't make it. Hence James writes in James 1:12, "Blessed is the man who perseveres." Most successful people are usually just "hungrier and thirstier." What we desire - they pursue! Napoleon was born in abject poverty. In school his friends made fun of him. But he devoted himself to his books and excelled in his studies. Eventually he became the brightest student in the school. Before he was through he conquered most of the world. If a seedling tree has to fight its way up through stones and hard soil to get to sunlight and air, then wrestle with the storm and the frost to survive, its root system will be strong and its timber valuable. Understand this: it's impossible to succeed without going through adversity. Impossible! If you're successful and haven't experienced adversity, you can be sure that someone else has experienced it for you. If you're experiencing it without succeeding, there's a good chance somebody else will succeed one day because of you. Either way, there's no success without adversity. The true test of your character is - seeing what it takes to stop you! Dr. G. Campbell Morgan tells of a man whose shop was burned down in the great Chicago fire. The next morning he arrived at the ruins carrying a table, set it up in the middle of the charred debris and put up a big sign which read, "Everything lost except wife, children and hope - Business will resume as usual tomorrow morning!" What a spirit of perseverance! We need that same spirit! Blessings! Pastor Rusty
(Revelation 3:21). So, keep persevering.