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Posts Tagged ‘quitting’

Breaking Points

April 11th, 2014

“We should trust not in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9 NKJV.

A breaking point may actually become your breakthrough.

My thoughts and comments today are about “breaking points.”

Breaking points are times when you come up empty – no further resources, no fresh ideas, no better options, and you are left with nothing in reserve, financially, mentally, emotionally, or physically. At the end of yourself, you will meet God there. You are not alone. The prophet Elijah was at a breaking point – in fear for his life, fleeing from an angry monarch, drained physically, feeling alone and abandoned, and wishing to die. Read 1 Kings 19:1-20 NIV. Elijah was empty and exhausted – disappointed with people, discouraged by threats to his safety, and depressed about the future. That’s what a breaking point looks like – until you meet God there. Let’s consider some practical truths for such moments.

Quitting is not an option. If you think giving up is a viable option, you will eventually find an excuse to do so. My dear friend, Kenny, often reminded me and others, When you find yourself at the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hold on tightly till help comes. The Bible says, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NKJV. Perseverance is a virtue. “Let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us . . do this by keeping your eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish . . so that you do not become weary and give up.” Hebrews 12:1-4 NLT.

Don’t pick up what is not yours to carry. Over-involvement in too many things or assuming too much responsibility for too many people soon becomes an unbearable burden. Keep the load light, and remember, As your days so shall your strength be.  Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV. Jesus will give you wisdom and daily strength if you, “[Cast] all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV.

A breaking point may become a breakthrough. Paul found the renewed strength and assurance he needed, when at his own breaking point God said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT. That discovery is life changing when embraced in faith. Read Hebrews 11:32-35 NLT. In God, your breaking point may be preparing you for a breakthrough. When you can’t be strong, let God be strong in you.

With a future dire and uncertain, Paul affirmed this practical, liberating truth, “We were burdened above measure, beyond strength, so that we despaired even of life. We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should trust not in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in Whom we trust He will still deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NKJV. Think about your Heavenly Father as, “God who raises the dead.” If God can do what is impossible, the most extreme circumstance can still be alive with hope. “What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you are always preparing yourself for a breakthrough.

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Too Soon to Quit

May 11th, 2011

“We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” 2 Corinthians 4:9 NLT

“What happens to you is not what matters most; what happens after that matters more.”

My thoughts today are about, “too soon to quit.”

Everyone feels like quitting sometime. If you haven’t yet, you will; just don’t quit permanently.  That’s not negative or pessimistic; that’s just reality. Things don’t always go well. Things won’t always go in your favor. It’s not always what happens to you that matters most; usually, it is what happens after what happened that matters more! Don’t give in to your feelings to give up. Dust yourself off, and get ready to resume the journey. You will heal. Neither your frustration nor your failure is final, just inconvenient bumps in the road. Wow; that sounds like a lot of clichés. But I think that’s good and practical advice.

Do you wish your situation had happened differently? Of course you do, but it didn’t; deal with the reality. Examine your situation honestly but positively. Lay it out before the Lord, asking His wisdom and direction. Don’t waste the experience; learn something useful to help you in the future. Resume life quickly; continue forward as soon as you feel capable of doing so. Expect things to be better not worse. If Paul, writing from prison, was able to say “the things that have happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the Gospel” (Philippians 1:12 NKJV), then you and I can trust God to rule in the events and circumstances of our everyday lives.

The Bible puts disappointments, disruption of schedules, and minimal inconveniences in perspective by comparing your experiences in contrast to Jesus’ sacrifice for your salvation: “Let us run with perseverance the race . . fixing our eyes on Jesus . . who endured the cross, scorning its shame . . consider Him that endured such opposition from sinful men . . so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Hebrews 12:1-4 NIV. That clarifies the context for times when things don’t go well for you. Jesus didn’t quit on you; don’t lose hope in Him. I guess my Dad did not support quitting. He said, “It is always too soon to quit, especially when you feel like it.”

Resisting reality won’t change it. Sitting in the midst of a mess will not make anything better. Everybody struggles occasionally; not everybody quits every time. Some people don’t quit anytime! Paul describes such fateful moments of decision this way, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down be we get up again and keep going . . that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NLT.

Pressured, perplexed, pursued, or punched? Whatever your situation right now, you are in a good company of overcomers. “To Him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation 3:21 NIV. Overcome or overcomer? I choose the latter for both of us.

My prayer for you today is: don’t give up on yourself or on God, however tough the moment.

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Too Soon to Quit

December 3rd, 2010

“’Strike the ground.’ He struck it . . and stopped” 2 Kings 13:18 NKJV

“Sometimes, winning just means not quitting.”

My thoughts today are about times when it’s “too soon to quit.”

Today’s verse comes from an obscure but interesting Old Testament story. The King of Israel consults with the prophet Elisha about the threatening Syrian army. Elisha instructed the king to shoot an arrow to represent the “arrow of the Lord’s deliverance from Syria.” Then he was to strike the ground with the arrows. He struck the ground once, twice, three times, and then stopped. Elisha rebuked the king for stopping after three times, indicating he would also stop short of fully defeating Syria. Inwardly, he lacked resolve to persevere however long victory would require.

In the San Antonio Spurs’ locker room, Coach Popovich displays a quote to remind his team to never quit when competing: “When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” Jacob August Riis, 1849-1914.

Remember, in life it is always too soon to quit. You never know the moment or action when all your past efforts will bring you the success you intend in your endeavor. The Bible says, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9 NKJV. Sometimes, winning means just not quitting.

The first place you may be tempted to give up is on yourself, then with others, and finally God. It’s too easy to do and  sad when it happens; you quit dreaming, quit hoping, quit trusting, quit believing,  and quit expecting. Life feels smaller and  the future seems darker, less possible.

Anyone can feel like quitting; you are not the first to consider doing so. Moses gave up on himself even before he had begun, when he pleaded with God to send someone else. Exodus 3:10-13 NIV. Elijah wanted to quit so badly, he prayed for God to let him die. See 1 Kings 19:4 NIV. But you can’t afford to quit, especially when you most feel like doing so.

What makes you quit? Weariness, discouragement, failure, hopelessness, wasted effort, lack of help, inadequate resources, discouraging words, negative thoughts, or opposition – and any or all can ­combine to dishearten your continued effort. Sometimes, but not always, identifying the origin of your feelings can help you regain the desire and will to continue your task steadfastly. Always, you will not have to do so alone; God will strengthen your resolve. “For God is working in you, giving you the power to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13 NLT. When your strength fails, draw from God’s ample power and indiscouragable will. Read Isaiah 40:27-31 NLT.

Highly value persistence, determination, perseverance, steadfastness, and patience in yourself. Others do! Develop a stubbornness of faith in God and yourself. That’s the attitude of the Kingdom of God. Jesus modeled such determination when He “set His face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem” – when He agonized alone in Gethsemane, yet resolved, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done!” – when He is described as, “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising its shame and is not set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2-3 NKJV. The conclusion? “Consider Jesus . . lest you become weary and discouraged in your soul.”

My prayer today is that you find encouragement from God always.

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Exhausted?

November 2nd, 2010

“Gideon . . crossed over, exhausted but still in pursuit.” Judges 8:4 NKJV

“When your strength wanes and you grow weary, let God be your strength.”

My thoughts today ask, “Exhausted?”

Life is sometimes tiring, to say the least. You can easily become exhausted, giving in to what seems inevitable or giving up on what appears unchangeable. It has been said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” (General George S. Patton). When you are exhausted, you want to quit. Everything feels more difficult. Responsibilities weigh heavier than they are; tasks seem more complicated; schedules are more burdensome; problems seem bigger, less manageable. You just “don’t feel like it,” whatever it is. Sometimes you just have to keep on keeping on. There are things you can’t just quit; there are some things you must not quit. When I feel like giving up on something or someone, I can hear my Dad’s voice softly saying, “Allen, quitters never win.”

Solomon observed, “The race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise, or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 NIV. I would suggest that oftentimes success is reserved for the one who doesn’t quit when others do, who doesn’t stop running before crossing the finish line, or who fights after others give up because the battle seems lost. “Don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up . .” Galatians 6:9-10 NLT.

Long before you get to such a place or moment, recognize and replenish. “God . . gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak . . they that wait upon the Lord will find new strength.” Read Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT. When your strength wanes and grows weary, turn to the One who “never grows faint or weary.”

After Gideon, with only 300 men, routed the thousands of Midianites who came against them, the battle was well begun and miraculously accomplished just as God had said, but there was still work to be done. Read Judges 7:19-22 NIV. Gideon was not content to win a battle; he wanted to eliminate an adversary. Never settle for temporary relief instead of lasting release.

The Midianites who did not kill one another in their confusion fled for safety across the Jordan. Gideon, with a growing army of others now willing to join in time for the victory parade, pursued the fleeing army. “Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it . . thus Midian was subdued and . . during Gideon’s lifetime, the land enjoyed peace forty years.” Judges 8:4/28 NIV. What a description: “exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit.” Half measures never bring you total victory. Keep pursuing! 1 Timothy 6:11-12 NIV.

Accepting second best results in settling for mediocrity. I want it to be said of me that I was intent on the pursuit of everything God had for me, and the family I lead, and the church I serve – personally, pastorally, and professionally. Let your soul’s cry be as the Apostle Paul’s, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me . . but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 NLT. Exhausted? Yes. Quitting? No!

My prayer for you today is that you pursue Godliness with tenacity.

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