“How can my dream possibly be from God when I keep meeting so much resistance?” My friend’s question hit home. There are times in life when we sincerely believe God has placed a special hope or dream in our heart–only to face merciless opposition. Surely God would make the path to our dream a little easier if it’s truly from Him, right? Maybe not.
A wise and godly man once said this to me when I asked him why my dream seemed to be such an uphill climb: “What if God has called you to this mountain top—this dream you hold so dearly? Perhaps He knows you must be trained by the difficult climb up the mountain so you won’t be crushed by the weight of the glory when the dream comes to pass.”
I had to admit, his words rang true. And through the years, I’ve observed some whose dream came true before they had built their character to hold up under the “weight of the glory.” More than one has fallen into pride or defeat. It’s no wonder the Bible teaches us about the wonderful blessing of hope within the context of both character and suffering:
“We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5 ESV).
It’s wonderful to have hopes and dreams—even lofty, world changing ones. But let’s remind ourselves: Humans aren’t built for glory–it doesn’t “agree” with us. So as we experience the glory of a dream that finally comes true, let’s remember to rejoice and enjoy the moment; to be thankful to God; and to give Him the glory.
And when we bump headlong into those inevitable times of suffering along the path toward our dream, may we dare to rejoice and thank God that the suffering is training us to endure, which produces character, which gives birth to hope. His glorious promise is that “hope doesn’t disappoint us” (Romans 5:5 NIV).
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We’re on Day Twenty of the 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed. Naghmeh Abedini has seen significant breakthroughs in her battle to bring Saeed home. Some of you have experienced breakthroughs of your own in areas where you’ve felt stuck. Perhaps you’ve gained spiritual insight, now able to see your problem from God’s perspective.
But I must admit. Prayer and fasting are still something of a mystery to me. I wonder why the Bible encourages us to pray and fast when we encounter stubborn resistance. Could it be that some battles are harder than others because the enemy knows the stakes are so high?
My epiphany came the other day in a parking lot, of all places. I was heading home after a quick run for coffee with my husband. From a distance, we saw what appeared to be a very aggressive bird battle under some nearby cedar trees. As we got closer, we saw the target of this assault was a very large hawk. His noisy attackers appeared to be about half a dozen black crows. The angry birds darted in and out, fiercely attacking the hawk. Continue reading
1 Comment | tags: endure, fasting, Pastor Saeed, prayer, spiritual battle, testimony, the devil | posted in Arm Yourself with Spiritual Strength, Pray with Authority, wait training, Wake Up and Pray! Be Alert
It’s Day Nineteen of our 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed. So glad you’ve stayed with us for the final lap! Lots has happened during our time of fasting and prayer. Naghmeh calls her unexpected meeting with President Obama a “miracle.” I agree and rejoice with her. Now we need another miracle to bring Saeed home! Many of you are fervently praying that our President will not be able to forget their faces, nor rest until he brings Saeed back to his family.
Some of you have shared your own stories of how this 21 Day Fast has opened doors and given you fresh perspective into your problem areas. Now it’s important to remain alert and watchful to guard the ground we’ve gained. The enemy is always looking for a breech in our wall. No wonder we bump into trouble at times.
It’s not like Jesus didn’t warn us. “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart,” He reminds us. “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Friends, we need to stay connected to Jesus if we hope to stand our ground when trouble hits.
To stand one’s ground is to endure . The word endure comes from two words: hypo or “under”, and meno, “to remain.” Meno is the same word Jesus uses when He tells us to abide in him (John 15:7). So to endure is to “remain under” a painful trial with grace. It’s bearing up under a load of trouble with a peaceful mind.
Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen Naghmeh and Pastor Saeed so they can continue to stand their ground. To abide in Jesus daily. To endure until he is released.
That’s also my prayer for all of us during these last three days of our fast. May we be strengthened to stand our ground,. We can’t endure apart from Jesus, so we must abide in Him daily. Rely on the Holy Spirit. Stay filled up with God’s Word.
And remember: If we abide when it’s light, we’ll be able to endure in the dark.
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Remember those earlier days…when you stood your ground in the face of suffering (Hebrews 10:32 NIV).
Life hurts. It’s not like Jesus didn’t warn us. “In this world you will have trouble.” But “take heart,” He reminds us. “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). I need to stay connected to Jesus if I hope to stand my ground in the spiritual fight.
To stand one’s ground is to endure . The Greek word for endure is hypomeno. It comes from two words: hypo or “under”, and meno, “to remain.” Meno is the same word Jesus uses when He tells us to abide in him (John 15:7). So to endure is to “remain under” a painful trial with grace. It’s bearing up under a load of trouble with a tranquil mind.
Will you be able to stand your ground when trouble hits? You can’t endure apart from Jesus. Abide in Him daily. Rely on the Holy Spirit. Stay filled up with God’s Word. Pray always. And don’t travel alone.
And remember: If you don’t abide in the light, you can’t endure in the dark.
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