Tag Archives: perseverance

Endure with Joy

I’ve long been inspired by the vibrant faith of believers in China’s underground church. No one is sure, but some think there may be over 60 million believers in these secret house churches. Astounding when you consider all the forces over the years that have tried to stamp out the Gospel in China!

Chinese believers are known for their steadfast and joyful faith in the face of intense persecution. A man who had just returned from visiting members of an underground church was asked how the believers were able to cope with the continued trials.

“These brothers and sisters know this is not the end of the story,” he explained.  “They EXPECT God’s glory to come at the end of their trial.  They believe the trial will end. And they expect to be victorious.”

Are you wrestling with a tough problem? Maybe it feels like your trial will never end. Perhaps we don’t suffer the same kind of intense persecution as Chinese believers, but we fight the same devil. James urges us to “resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7).

Peter also challenges us to join the “resistance:” Resist him [the devil], standing firm in the faith because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8).

We can draw strength from the example of Chinese believers. They remind us that our trial “is not the end of the story.” They inspire us to “expect God’s glory.”

We strengthen our own faith when we encourage each other to stand “firm in the faith.” Joy in our journey comes as we team up with other believers.

The Christian life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured.  So daily, let’s ask the Lord to help us find joy while we endure!

Training for Trials-Day 18

Trials are the food of faith. –George Mueller

The Olympic Trials will be held this summer. They’re sure to be spectacular events, with young athletes from all over the United States competing for the few coveted spots on the 2016 US Olympic team.  These athletes have endured strenuous training regimens–sacrificing a normal life–all for the chance to compete in these trials.  Some will even make it to the Olympic games.

As believers, we, too, should train for our trials.  Have you thought about how your daily routine of prayer, reading and obeying God’s Word, day after day,  prepares you to stand strong when faced with a trial?  Training for trials prepares you in advance to fight the fight of faith.

Friends, do you love the fight?  Paul calls the fight of faith a “good fight.” It’s been said that we should love the contest of faith in the way an  athelete loves his sport.

I can’t say I love trials.  But there is something invigorating about approaching each day on the offensive, strengthening myself in God’s Word and being intentional about prayer. Thus, the reason for  21 Days of Strength.

I should walk away from my time in prayer and study each morning armed and ready.  Expectant and watchful.  Alert to signs of God at work and opportunities to step out in faith.  Ready to share the Gospel, to meet a need, to take back territory from the enemy.  Prepared to stand strong in the inevitable trials that are part of daily life in a broken world.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).

Let’s reflect on these verses.  We challenged to consider trials as an opportunity for  joy.  The same kind of joy awaits us when we prevail in our trial that the athlete experiences when winning his race.  Another great reason to grow strong and train for our trials!

30 Days of Hopeful-Day 4

We wait in hope for the LORD (Psalm 33:20). 

I’m glad you’ve joined us for 30 Days of Hopeful.   I am always on the lookout for secrets when it comes to learning to persevere with hope.  My greatest lessons have not come through discipline or fervor—but rather through weakness. I’ve often shared how I learned to hold onto hope when my husband and I battled through years of infertility before our children were born.

Waiting for the deepest longings of our heart is not what I’d call fun. Many of you know what I’m talking about. Perhaps you have prayed and prayed about something. You’ve heard God whisper to you to keep believing. And yet the answer still hasn’t come.

But a time of waiting can become a season when our “hope muscles” have a chance to grow. The Bible gives plenty of encouragement about how to wait with hope:  “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,  even as we put our hope in you” (Psalm 33:20-22).

During my season of waiting, I learned to strengthen myself on the promises of God’s Word. I held tightly to verses about healing—too many to count—day after day, month after month, year after year. I learned to hear God’s whispers of encouragement and trust His character, even when my circumstances seemed hopeless. In short, I gained strength through the secret of what the apostle John called “abiding in Christ” (John 15:7).

If you’re in your own waiting room right now, be encouraged by the words of 19th century preacher, Charles Spurgeon: “The longer the blessing is in coming, the richer it will be when it arrives. That which is gained speedily by a single prayer is sometimes only a second-rate blessing; but that which is gained after many a desperate tug and many an awful struggle is a full-weighted and precious blessing.” 

So wait with hope, dear friend.  Your blessing my be nearer than you can imagine.



Day Twelve: Nothing is Impossible with God

Some of you may have received Day Twelve a day early by mistake. Here is the “real” Day Twelve of our 21 Day Fast. So sorry for the confusion.  

I’m glad you’ve made it past the half way mark in our 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed.  Good for you!  Let’s continue to believe for a breakthrough for Saeed!  I’ve been so encouraged by Naghmeh Abedini’s perseverance throughout her two year ordeal.

When you’re in your own “waiting room” of faith, it helps to draw inspiration from others who have stood firm in hard places.  I think you’ll be inspired by another example of perseverance by my friend, Kris.  She shares her nearly two-decade “fight of faith” for the  life of her son,  diagnosed as an infant with leukemia.

GUEST BLOG: By Kris McBride

Growing up in church I had always heard, “Nothing is impossible with God.”   As I grew in my faith, I began to grasp the magnitude of these words.  Little did I know that after our son Andrew was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia as a nine month old,  I would eventually see the truth and power of this Scripture.

It was a week after our son’s bone marrow transplant, and he developed a strange rash. At this point he had no immune system so everyone was trying to determine what it was so treatment could begin. Within hours he began to run a low-grade fever , which was extremely serious. As I rocked him, I prayed that the Lord would protect and heal him.

Suddenly, it was a though someone turned on a stove in his little body and heat began radiating out of him. His temperature began a steady climb. I called for my husband to get the nurses but all the alarms started going off. In a matter of minutes his temperature went from 101 to over 106. I knew he was dying.

As they worked on him in my arms I remember praying Luke 1:37  “Nothing is impossible with God.” I prayed in the name of Jesus that Andrew would be healed. As I kept repeating the verse over and over again I also felt led to pray, “Lord, I know you can save Andrew, but even if you don’t may you give us grace and mercy to praise You anyway.” As quickly as his temperature began to climb it dropped and leveled out around 100. To everyone’s amazement, Andrew stabilized and was not moved to ICU. The doctors where perplexed and could not understand what happened. We told them, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

We were so grateful for God’s grace.  But that was not the end of the journey. A year and a half later Andrew had a toxicity to a medication and went into shock and suffered brain damage. Once again we prayed for healing.  Then, a few months later, his graft vs. host disease became so severe he could hardly move because his skin was so tight. He began extensive physical therapy and we prayed for healing. After almost of year he regained almost 90% of his mobility and we were thankful.

A year after that episode,  his blood pressure began to increase and every two weeks we were either increasing one of his medications or adding a new one. By the time he stabilized, he was on sixteen medications–six were for blood pressure.  They gave Andrew less than two years to live. We prayed like crazy for healing.  Six months later he was put on a medication that began to heal him. We prayed for complete healing for the next twelve years.

When Andrew was eighteen years old,  he was finally taken off his last medication. Although it took many, many years, the Lord healed Andrew completely. Today he is a twenty one year old junior at Liberty University and in good health.  Andrew’s story is an example of how sometimes God’s healing is not instantaneous but happens over a long period time. We are so thankful there is healing power in the name of Jesus.

Day Ten: A Breakthrough Story

Sometimes prayer feels like hard work.  But if we press in and seek God’s heart, we may see our problem with new eyes.  As we have walked alongside Naghmeh Abedini during the 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed, I’ve been inspired by how she keeps turning her eyes back to Jesus.

God sees our situation from all sides and knows things we can’t possibly know.  But persevering is hard.  Especially when we carry the weight of prayer for someone we deeply love.  As one friend  discovered,  the person who is most impacted through perseverance in prayer might just be us.  This friend has given me permission to share the following story with you.  Her hope is that it will encourage you to stand firm in your prayers until you see your breakthrough.


By:  A friend who will remain unnamed

For three years I watched my son become increasingly addicted to drugs and alcohol. My husband and I preached, pleaded, disciplined, and of course prayed, to no avail. When I finally realized he would not listen to us, I asked God’s will to be done.  I simply asked God to lead my son to quit for his own reasons, not mine.  (I asked that God please just protect his health and not involve law enforcement!) I wondered how long I would have to wait but I surrendered him to the Lord.  I still prayed for my “pothead” son, but with increasing peace that God would eventually intervene and change my son. Instead, He changed me first!

God made it very clear to me that I was to pray not for the son I was seeing, his character and behavior being veiled by addiction, but rather for the precious child of God he is.  A loyal people person with a loving heart, the gifts of encouragement and leadership, sweet affection, and a fun sense of humor.

It was only after I began to pray for my son as he was created, as God designed him to be again, that God intervened. Was the journey out of addiction painful for him, and for our family? Oh yes, but it could have been so much worse.

Today I am rejoicing that God has led our son through a time of brokenness and out of that valley into a place of freedom, peace and joy again. I am also thankful that God guided me to a place of breakthrough in my prayer life and taught me a lesson about seeing others through His eyes.