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Patience and Perseverance

July 14th, 2017

 Perseverance promises blessings but includes trials and trouble.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, Patience and Perseverance.”

Worthy goals and great dreams come true when you determine to do more than endure; choose to thrive! Good things come to those who continue steadfast and faithful. Success comes to those who prevail over obstacles and challenges. When things get tougher than planned and they will, or take longer than hoped and they do, or cost more effort and sacrifice than anticipated and it does, plenty of reasons to give up and quit will be found. Many people won’t persevere, and then they wonder why life doesn’t work as they hoped.

Though the words are used somewhat interchangeably, there is a practical distinction between patience and perseverance. Patience deals with delays. Perseverance deals with problems. Few enjoy waiting through unwanted delays and unexpected difficulties. I have heard it said, “Good comes to those who wait.” I would add this qualifier – if you stay busy, hopeful, and faithful meanwhile. Consider God’s testimony of faithful Job in his travail and triumph. “Even in all this suffering, Job said nothing against God.” Job 2:10 TEV. Patience has to be exercised in the middle of a mess. No whining. No blame. No regret.

It is always too soon to quit. Being patient is difficult enough, but perseverance introduces the added elements of trials and trouble. From experience, Paul wrote, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us. They help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.” Read Romans 5:3-5 NLT. Both patience and perseverance require the added discomfort of enduring some troubling circumstance during an inconvenient time. In such times, don’t lose sight of your goal, nor lose faith in your God.

The Bible tells inspiring stories of people who exemplify today’s verse. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 NIV. Abraham persevered, waiting for God’s promise of a son. See Romans 4:18-25 NIV. Daniel persevered righteously while captive in Godless Babylon. See Daniel 6:25-28 NIV. Paul persevered for years while imprisoned for his faith. See 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NIV. Paul’s example underscored his counsel, “Keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:11-12 NIV. Perseverance promises blessings but includes trials and trouble. Read 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 NIV.

Jesus sacred life and ultimate sacrifice is our supreme example. “Never quit . . keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 MSG. Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15 NLT.

If Jesus could, and would, persevere for you, won’t you do that for Him? His promise is that you will be blessed, when you patiently persevere. “Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person receives the prize. You must also run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to value eternal blessings above earthly difficulties.

Christian Communications 2017-0937

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Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 2

February 3rd, 2016

“Stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV.

With God, there is more than you can see from where you are.

My comments today continue about, “obstacles and opportunities.”

Obstacles are natural events the devil uses to restrict you to the past or impose limits today. Every obstacle also presents opportunities. Opportunities are Godly provision that encourages you into a better and greater future, just over the horizon from where you now are. You fail to progress in your faith if you only see the obstacles but not the opportunities.

The Bible records two similar yet distinct miracles. Moses and Israel’s miracle at the Red Sea was to redeem Israel’s history. Joshua and Israel’s miracle at the Jordan River was to release Israel’s destiny. Allowing God to deal with your history allows entrance into your destiny. There never could have been a miracle at the Jordan if there had not been a miracle at the Red Sea. As with Israel, God sovereignly deals with your past as prelude to entering your blessed future, a place, “with flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.” Deuteronomy 6:10-11 NIV.

But first, Israel faced two insurmountable, natural barriers – the impassable, swollen Jordan River at the worst possible time of year and the formidable, menacing city of Jericho – a sentinel guarding the Jericho valley and entrance to Canaan. Read Joshua 3:10 NKJV. As you read, notice God’s two purposes for the miracle He would provide. (1) assurance of His abiding presence among them, and (2) His guarantee of unfailing victory until every enemy was vanquished before them. If God could dry up the waters of Jordan, He could collapse the walls of Jericho. From what God has done you learn what God can and will do.

The priests, bearing the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders, were to step into the surging flood waters first and, “stand still in Jordan.” (Joshua 3:8 KJV). It required obedience to step into those surging waters and even greater faith to continue to stand there. Read Joshua 3:13-17 KJV. As promised, the miracle began when the priests stepped into the water, but not where the priests stepped into the water.

Miraculously, the waters stopped many miles upstream beyond where the priests stood and could not yet see. As the rushing waters receded, the priests, “stood firm in the middle of the Jordan on dry ground while all Israel completed the crossing on dry ground.” There will be times when your miracle is still upstream and unseen. With God, there is always more than you can see from where you are. In such times, “In prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV. “And having done all to stand, stand therefore . .” Read Ephesians 6:11-18 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to stand strong in the truth of God’s Word at all times.

To be continued . . Part 3

EDL Pix stormy sea

If you did not already watch the video of this teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760.

If you watch the video, would you be kind enough to simply hit “reply” to the email – no comment required. It’s just a simple way for me to know if posting a video teaching is useful to EDL readers. By the way, at the website, allenrandolph.com, this video and three others are available any time. You can go to the website and scroll down past the calendar to the bottom right corner and you will see them listed. Thank you for your support of this ministry.

Christian Communications 2016

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Obstacles and Opportunities, Part 1

January 29th, 2016

“This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV.

The impossible is what God does best.

My comments today are about “obstacles and opportunities.”

I have observed that life presents both obstacles and opportunities. It is unrealistic to presume you will have either without the other. Every opportunity presents an obstacle; every obstacle presents an opportunity. The bigger the opportunity, the greater the obstacles. The greater the obstacle, the bigger the opportunities will be.

You learn a lot about your own character when you experience obstacles. And in every obstacle, God offers an opportunity to learn about His character as well. “This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us be happy. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV. Any day is a good day when you are offered the opportunity to walk and live in His victory.

Take a few minutes to read Joshua 1:1-10 and Joshua 3:1-17 NIV. Joshua and Israel faced serious obstacles; an uncrossable Jordan and an invulnerable Jericho were both impediments to entering Canaan, the land of God’s promise and plenty. Why would the armies in Jericho neither offer opposition to Israel crossing Jordan nor demonstrate any active resistance as they marched around Jericho seven days? I suggest, with such flooded dimensions and depth of the Jordan, they must have assumed it unimaginably impossible for two million people to navigate such a crossing, just as they believed the capture of their city to be impossible. The impossible is what God does best.

Under the cover of darkness, Joshua sent two men went into Jericho to assess the situation ahead. What they heard was that Jericho was more afraid of them than they were of Jericho. Fear creates battles that God has already fought and won. A Canaanite woman in Jericho said, “I know the Lord has given you the land . . all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea when you came out of Egypt . . our hearts melted . . no courage remained in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God is God in Heaven and in earth.” Read Joshua 2:9-11 NIV. Imagine! Canaan’s current and continuing fear began more than forty years earlier, when God drowned the Egyptian army and divided the Red Sea for Moses to lead newly liberated people across on dry land.

Upon return to Joshua, their report was with assurance and certainty, “The Lord has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us.” Joshua 2:24 NIV. But first they still had to cross the treacherous currents of a flooding Jordan. God always makes a way where there seems to be no way. With divine authority, Jesus said, “The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NKJV. But be prepared, God’s way will be what you least expect and never imagined. God said, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV.

Maybe you face an obstacle, feeling uncertain of the path forward. Sometimes the past feels difficult to overcome; sometimes the future seems unsure and concerning. “This is the day of the Lord’s victory. Let us be happy. Let us celebrate.” Psalm 118:24 TEV. Let me remind you that the God Who makes a way where there seems to be no way knows where you are and what you need, and He is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 NIV. Today can be your day of victory. Celebrate!

Today, I pray for you that you will believe God for the impossible.

To be continued . .

I spoke last weekend at the Cathedral of Faith in San Jose, CA. They have posted the video of the teaching, “Seize the Day.” My comments today originate from that teaching. I hope you will take the time to listen . . . https://vimeo.com/153012760

ARR and Screen COF 1-24-16

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Obstacles, Obstructions, and Opposition

November 1st, 2013

“Amid all these things we . . gain a surpassing victory through [Christ].”  Romans 8:37 AMP.

An overcomer is your identity in Christ, not your ability apart from Him.

My thoughts and comments today are about “obstacles, obstructions, and opposition.”

Life can be challenging. Obstacles, obstructions, and opposition impose themselves across your path and into your plans. Such moments require choices with consequences good or bad. Do you look for an easier path, settle for less, waste valuable resource with little progress, or do you seek Godly solutions not previously considered? You have two options; you can overcome obstacles or be overcome by them. For the Christ-follower, the latter is not an acceptable option.

Too easily, you can indulge yourself and be overcome by things such as: worries, doubt, fears, failures, regrets, disappointments, temptations, or habits until you feel overwhelmed and helpless to resist. Be warned, “By [whatever] a person is overcome, by [that] also he is brought into bondage.” 2 Peter 2:19 NKJV. Paul’s counsel is plain and simple, “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 NIV.

Obstacles, obstructions, and opposition can have differing sources. Some obstacles are merely circumstantial, inevitable situations which are common to any of us – things the Bible calls, “the cares of life.” Overcome such obstacles by seeing the opportunity they present, “When trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.” See James 1:2-4 NLT. Read 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV/1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT.

Other obstacles result from a spiritual adversary seeking your harm who will use evil “schemes” to dissuade you or misdirect your life. See 2 Corinthians 2:11 NIV/1 Peter 5:7-9 NKJV. Be wise to his intent and undeterred by his opposition. “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NKJV.

Obstacles may even be providential on occasion, evidence of God’s loving intervention to wisely direct or protect you. The obvious or your preferred option may not always be God’s highest and best. But His love will guide you “in the right paths for His Name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 NIV. God may use an obstruction to prompt you to pause and pray about a decision or direction that would not be His highest and best for you. Discern times when God permits an obstacle, obstruction, or opposition in your path. Ignore an obstacle and God may allow an obstruction. Ignore the obstruction and God might allow opposition to get your attention. Paul expected and embraced God’s providential direction in his life. See Acts 16:5-10 NIV.

“Amid all these things [obstacles, obstructions, and opposition] we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 AMP. God has given you the spiritual authority, as well as a solemn responsibility, to be “. . more than conquerors . . [who] gain a surpassing victory THROUGH HIM who loved us.” Paul viewed himself and every believer as overcomers of the highest order. An overcomer is your identity in Christ, not your ability apart from Him. “In Christ!” What a glorious place to be. Read Ephesians 1:18-23 NKJV.

John echoes Paul’s confidence, “You have overcome . . because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world . . For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” See 1 John 4:4/5:4-5 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that your identity be clear and your confidence strong in God.

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Obstacles and Opportunities

September 2nd, 2013

“A great and effective door has opened to me . . there are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV

Adversaries congregate where opportunities abound.

My thoughts and comments today are about “obstacles and opportunities.”

Opportunities abound; so do obstacles. That’s reality. “What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Your attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.” J. Sidlow Baxter, Theologian, Author (1903-1999). Your attitude has everything to do with your perspective of what constitutes opportunities and obstacles. One person sees a unique opportunity and proceeds despite obstacles. Another person, easily deterred by obstacles, disregards an opportunity. Such  moments define the measure of your future success or failure. Thomas A. Edison correctly observed, “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Opportunities will include some measure of sacrifice and effort?

Obstacles and opposition are inevitable realities. An obstacle is a circumstance you didn’t need or want. Opposition occurs when people interfere with your progress, actively or accidentally. Such adversity should not be surprising, but is rather to be expected. In fact, little success is achieved without your choosing to persevere and prevail when situations or people impede your advancement. Obstacles present opportunity for inventiveness and invite problem solving to discover better paths to success. Opposition provides opportunity to demonstrate grace and perseverance.

When feeling tired or overwhelmed, let Jesus be your example; “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning the shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition . .” Read Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV. His joy to provide your salvation and mine exceeded the suffering and shame He would endure. See James 1:2-5 NIV.

The Apostle Paul was realistic about the reality of challenges in life and faith when he wrote, A great and effective door has opened to me and there are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV. Paul personally experienced adversity and adversaries. See 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 NKJV. Adversaries congregate where opportunities abound. You might as well prepare yourself for the inevitable. Someone – oblivious, jealous, or antagonistic – will be trying to shut the open door God sets before you. Paul was neither dissuaded by obstacle nor opposition. When he saw an opportunity for the Gospel to be advanced, he was single-minded and fearless.

Paul did not flinch even when forewarned that “. . chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear unto myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus Christ, to testify to the Gospel of the grace of our God . . the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith.” Acts 20:23-24 NKJV/2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV. Paul did not resign himself to an unavoidable fate; he embraced his opportunity and destiny. Neither adversity nor adversaries should dissuade you from fully pursuing the will of God in any and every situation.

My prayer for you today is that you celebrate the faithfulness of God in every difficulty.

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