So We’re Not Giving Up!

Have you ever…

…done what you thought was a good deed, only to discover that what you did was considered offensive and resented by the recipient?

…said something that you truly believed was kindly-stated only to be shocked to learn that many people considered it insensitive and inflammatory?

…gone the extra mile in order to help a friend or serve a worthy cause only to learn that your intentions are questioned and your motives maligned?

…felt that you were slipping into a frame of mind that would best be characterized by words something like: I just don’t care anymore?

…wished that you could just wiggle your nose or click your heels and magically escape the crushing burdens that currently weigh you down?

…wondered why it is that being a Christian isn’t easy; why it is that the moment you were raised to live a new life in Christ you were not awarded a certificate exempting you from all of life’s struggles?

I imagine you’ve done, said, felt, wished and wondered similar things. If you have, would you mind sharing how it is that you found your way through times like these? Your insights would, no doubt, be a blessing to many.

If you are there right now, then I’d like to offer these words of encouragement from the inspired pen of the Apostle Paul:

[5-6] Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

[7-12] If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!

[13-15] We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!

[16-18] So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

—2 Corinthians 4:5-18, The Message

Blessings to all,
-bill

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Christian Living, Following Jesus, HOPE, Life. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to So We’re Not Giving Up!

  1. jel says:

    thanks!

    You’re welcome!

  2. Dee Andrews says:

    As long as I’ve lived and been a Christian, Bill, I’ve probably gone through every one of those trials and tribulations you talk about in your post today. I don’t know that I handled some of them all that well at the time, but then again, I never gave up (at lesat permanently – maybe temporarily a couple of times, I have to admit), but kept persevering.

    The biggest thing for me was to always retreat for a while into myself to reflect on things and to turn to God for comfort and hope, knowing that the world and people around me in the world, even fellow Christians many times, can be very hurtful and mean. I have consistenetly and sometimes constantly sought out God and God alone, to sustain me and lift me back up to where I needed to be.

    In fact, through each trial and hard times I enduared, in the end I was able to conquer them because I DIDN’T ever, ever give up on God. I’ve always kept my faith, even when many questions were in my heart.

    My advice, if you are looking for advice on how to conquer the bad tims, is to turn to God in pray, seeking out the Word and to try to find good friends who are spiritually minded to help you on your way.

    Many blessings to you all today! Dee

    Great advice, Dee! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  3. Maggie says:

    …the value of chocolate, good friends, my Bible, and my soft blankie can never be over-rated.

    Very real thoughts, Bill. Thanks!

    Four very good suggestions, Maggie, especially if you have time to snuggle up in the soft blankie and take a little snooze, huh?

  4. Steve says:

    Been there and done all of that! Missed you at Pepperdine. I’m assuming it didn’t work out. Hope the sermon seminar at Rochester goes well.

    Peace.

  5. John M. Kenney says:

    Hi Bill,
    I miss reading your blog and responding to it.
    I’ve been there where you’ve written about-it sometimes seems like most of my Chrsitian life. I believe that age and maturity is a major factor in resolving this conflict. I finally got to the point where I do exactly what the Spirit impresses upon my heart. If it is received well-fine; if not-I have complete peace about what I’ve done or said as long as I know I have pleased the Spirit Who lives within me. That was brought home very uniquely one Sunday at church. God directed my attention to a man on the front row. I didn’t know him-had never met him or his wife. God said,
    “Tell him that I love him and I am giving him another opportunity to make peace with me. I am weary of this war raging within his heart against me when I am not his foe. His foe is the enemy who desires to destroy his life and his family.”
    I introduced myself to this man, and said “God wants me to give you a message from His heart.” I proceeded to speak exactly the words God had given me. He did not receive it well, but I knew I had done what I needed to do and walked away. The very next night, he called and he and his wife came to our house. After soem awkward conversation, he asked me why I had told him those things. I repeated what God had told me. His wife broke down first, then him. As they wept, they confided that he had been having an affair with his wife’s sister, and his wife had found out. She, being a strong Christian wife did not ask for a divorce but an answer from God. This was her answer when God spoke to him about his sin. He confessed his sin, asked forgiveness of God, his wife, family, and his wife’s sister, and all concerned.
    To this day, he is one of my closest friends, a God-serving man, and the husband of the brave wife he had been given from the start.
    Most of what we are told to do for God will not be received well in the beginning, but God’s Word will always accomplish His purpose, and why does it matter how the package looks as long as the treasure inside is safe and sound. By that, I mean that we are merely empty vessels until He fills us with the treasure of His heart. If His treasure arrives safe and sound and accomplishes His purpose in someone’s life, why sound it be important how the package looks or feels!
    Sorry for going long, but this is a passionate thing for me.
    God bless you, brother.

    I am so glad you went long and deep, John! Thank you for sharing this little slice of your life with us. I had goose bumps as I read it. Grace and peace to you, my friend. -bill

  6. Donna says:

    I was stricken last night while watching Spider Man 3 of the power of saying “I forgive you”…..of course that assumes that we are the injured party….the harder part is saying “I am sorry” and truly meaning it.

    I wish I could say I have outgrown sticking my foot in my mouth….truth is as I get older it is just harder to get it back out!

    Who was it that said the three hardest things to do are: 1) Love the unloveable; 2) Include the excluded and 3) Say, “I’m sorry.”? Whoever it was, I believe s/he was correct. BTW, Donna, you’re not getting older; you’re getting funnier! -bill

  7. Kathy says:

    Single parent ministry is probably one of the most challenging when it comes to ‘telling it like it is.’ One has to take time for trust to be developed before jumping in and, as Donna says, firmly implanting foot in mouth. It is so difficult to call one’s attention to God’s moral law to a hurting, injured single parent. What they most hunger for, so many times, is the comforting cuddle of ‘loving’ arms. It’s so difficult to bring the LORD and His will back into their minds and hearts. It seems at times to add more hurt to the pain they’re already going through. But in all gentleness and love, it still must be said. Tough ministry, tough!!

  8. Neva Cooper says:

    The only way that I have found to stay on track and combat those feelings above is to force myself to remember that “though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we FIX our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen, For what is seen is temporary BUT what is unseen is eternal”

    Life is but a breath—we stay faithful during the breath and we have all eternity to . . .sigh.

    Peace and prayers
    neva

  9. Rachel says:

    My husband is struggling as he is still young in Christ. Lately, there have been many “stumbling blocks” that Satan has thrown out there to trip him up. The biggest one has been that of believers who don’t live Jesus in their talk or walk. I keep reminding my husband of the words to my favorite hymn…”Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will go strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” I also remind him that people will fail you and disappoint you, but God will NEVER fail us! Yesterday, Bill, you shared what God put on your heart in an encouraging message to both myself and my husband. “LAF”…Love/Acceptance/Forgiveness! That is exactly what Jesus was all about, and He is the example which we are to live by. I told my hubby before heading to work this morning that we need to remember to LAF today! Most importantly we need to be involved in reading and studying the scriptures and pouring our hearts out to our Father in prayer and listening to hear what He has to say to us. He wants to lead us, but we need to be willing to follow!

    Thanks, Rachel. I’m glad to see that you picked up on the message embedded in the message!

  10. Charlie says:

    Bill – Great questions — and very real to any Christian — or at least this one. I have to say that I fall a long way short of the ideal when I feel this way — but I’ve also seen that as I live longer and longer in my Christian walk — going on 50 years now — the one abiding source of comfort in difficult times has been what my wife of 40 plus years has taught me — her line is “I’m not in control – God is in control”

    I believe whether I can explain it or not– whether or not I live it in a given day that his will is being done and he is good even when bad things happen to me — even when my faith wavers – even when Satan plants anger against God and depression into my life– I trust in Him — I know there is good to be found and I “keep on keeping on”

    Blessed be the name of the Lord.

    God Bless

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