It’s Always Too Soon to Quit!

Character. It is a critical aspect of each individual. Character is the substance of an individual.  We live in a world which encourages us to indulge ourselves and never give a thought to our inner character. It is a tempting encouragement.  Pleasing ‘self’ seems like a good idea.  Unfortunately, though, character is never grown in a soil of pleasure. Character is not found in a church pew or a book.  Character is built through sacrifice and hard choices. It has been said that life is God’s gift to man; what man does with that life is his gift to God.
God’s Word tells us that character is developed through perseverance. As we trace the source of perseverance, our hearts will tremble—for the source of perseverance is suffering. For the Christian, suffering can be a source of joy BECAUSE the hope of God is a certainty that sustains. The hope of God produces eternal blessing that outweighs and outlasts every heart ache. A character rooted in God’s grace and built on faith in Christ will produce blessing all around!

“It’s always too soon to quit.”  Daniel Baker

Perseverance–pressing on, not quitting–is a trait we must develop!  Our perseverance is not solely fixed on our purposes, though.   In fact, focusing our perseverance on our goals (purposes) can discourage us.  Things don’t always turn out the way we plan; Scripture is full of such stories.
But God’s purposes are never in jeopardy.  The purposes and goals we set are a tool God uses as we travel through this life.   BUT glory to God, His purposes are woven into the journey itself…and His purposes are grander than ours!
God is busy with things we can not even imagine.  Success is trusting Him in the midst of life; the goal is enjoying His presence. Our goals are far too small.  Let’s take and apply the words of William Carey, “Expect great things–attempt great things.”  
We are to set goals that are good and in line with the purposes of God–and then leave the results in the hands of God.  The only way to do that is continually pressing in to see His face, feel His love and being filled with confidence in His plans.
Struggles teach perseverance, perseverance is entwined with character and hope–certainty of God–springs forth.  That is the only worthwhile success.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2 Corinthians 3:18

Persistently seeking the Lord will transform us into His image.  I love the old saying of “Praise God I am not what I was and I am not what I will become!”  Just as God’s changeless nature is a rock-solid foundation, so our transformation is a glorious promise.

Focused on Purpose

Whether we are riding a horse, driving a car or trying to get through the school year, the same truth applies: where your eyes are sets the course of your path. If we spend a lot of time looking at what we ‘can’t do’ or the things that we would rather do or all the terrifying possibilities, we won’t accomplish all God would have us do. We need to fix our eyes on TRUTHS from the Word of God and trust Him to help us over the rough patches.

can't

“Can’t” is a detour with a huge PIT. When our eyes focus on what we can’t do, we miss the path to what we can do. Can’t will keep us from a struggle but it will never strengthen us or accomplish our purpose. Can’t is a word we need to shorten to can. Focusing our eyes on what we can do will help us get where we need to be.

“Want to” is another powerful force; the human will is where most ‘want to’ comes from. God gave us free will. The greatest gift we can give to God is to surrender that will and echo the words of Jesus to our Father, “Not my will but thine.” When we accept the purposes of God as our own, great and mighty things come from our lives.

“Fear” is the last detour we’ll consider how to avoid. Fear goes by many names…sometimes it masquerades as ‘common sense;’ other times it hides in ‘comfort zones.’ F.E.A.R. is often just ‘false evidence appearing real.’ The bottom line of the matter comes straight from Scripture: anything not of faith is sin. Faith and fear don’t live on the same street.

Setting our eyes on the purposes of God will take us beyond our abilities, give us new desires and call us outside of our comfort zones. Let’s choose God’s purpose as our own. Refuse to focus on ‘can’t’ and ‘want’ and see what God will do!

Determined!

“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.”  Proverbs 4:25

Do you ever struggle to ‘stay the course’ when you have begun a project?  I do!  Our bulldog, Barnabas fulfilled his role as “Encourager” this week as he set his mind to a task.  After receiving a new ‘toy’ – a tractor tire – he set his mind on finding a way to bring the toy into the house.  Enjoy this little slideshow and think on Barnabas when you are finding a project daunting!

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While stubborness is as witchcraft according to Scripture, learning to ‘fix our face as flint’ as Jesus did is necessary in the Christian life.  Our great and glorious God is worth every effort!  As Nehemiah admonished those rebuilding the temple, ‘Think on our God, great & glorious and fight for your families and your homes.’

Be determined to do all God puts on your heart!