Don’t give up!
1st of May
Patience is not my strongest virtue and I am therefore writing this to myself just as much as for you. I do hope that we will all be blessed by what I am writing. I am as usual asking the Holy Spirit to help me.
I would like to start by quoting Paul and writes from 1.Cor.9:24-27: “Do you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” Do you know that you became part of a race when you got saved?Everyone is a runner. We might run different distances and with different obstacles, but we are all running toward the same goal. Everyone who is called a child of God and is washed by the blood of Jesus is looking forward to meet Him and the Father in Heaven. That is our ultimate goal, but we have a lot of smaller goals here on earth.
I am not very interested in sports, but I become very patriotic when great competitions are taking place and Norway is winning. Paul talks about discipline and in my Bible he says that he gives up a lot of things in order to obtain the prize. I believe that great sportsmen must give up a lot of things. They must eat the right food, sleep well, must renounce lots of alcohol and other drugs and they need to train a lot. They might not have so much time left for their friends and family then. They are eager to beat their own records and the records of others. They know what they want to obtain and they are very zealous. Paul is quite often using sports as an example of the Christian walk or the Christian run. He talks about self-control and self-denial. That might be very unpleasant and even painful. I believe that great sportsmen have endured a lot of pains, but the joy of winning makes it worth it. Do we think the same way? Are we willing to suffer for the sake of Christ?
The Bible says that we should crucify ourselves and at the same time it says that God wants a good life for us. Aren’t these two things inconsistent? If I have a wrong picture of God, it can be very difficult for me to follow Jesus when the price is high. If I should be willing to suffer for Christ, I must look upon God as my good daddy. I have been obedient and suffered for Christ with a wrong picture of God, but the yoke was un-necessary heavy. It is also important to see all the good things that are waiting for us when we arrive home. We are supposed to live an eternity in glory and joy. What is a short time of self-denial compared to that?
I have known some people who had a call for mission, but they chose house and money instead. Their life was far away a success. Obedience is followed by blessings. Seek first the kingdom of God and all your other needs will be met.
Many people are living without any specific purpose. They live one day, maybe months without walking towards a certain goal. This sermon is not for you then. You must first get your life right and work for specific goals.
I am writing to you who is seeking God and praying, but is waiting for answers for your own needs as well as those of others. You might have waited for a long time. I recently listened to teachings from a well-known preacher. He mentioned many of the times when he had prayed for sick and very hurt people without positive results. He has experienced signs and wonders in great numbers, but this time he talked about the failures. Why did he do that? In order to encourage others not to give up. He could not always explain why the power of God worked and why it didn’t seem to work, but emphasized the importance of continuing to pray for people. The Word of God says that we should lay hands on the sick and we should continue to do that. The Word doesn’t change. God and the Holy Spirit doesn’t change. Jesus said on the Cross: It is finished! We must therefore do what the Word says we should do. Many hesitate to pray for the sick since they are afraid that the sick will continue to be sick. That is not our responsibility. We are according to Mark 16 called to lay hands on the sick. God is the healer and we should only do what the Word calls us to do. If we do not believe in the Word and in the command of Jesus, we should naturally not do it, but I really believe that He meant every word He said. We might speculate for years and ask questions: Why didn’t it happen? Why did so and so person die? Do not waste to much energy on these questions. We do not need to understand everything. We are not God, but humans who are supposed to obey God.
Maybe you are praying for an un-saved relative for years without a visible result. You might become discouraged and is tempted to give up. Have you done anything for this person? Have you testified to him or her what Jesus has done for you? Is your life an example for this person? If your answers are yes, you can start thanking God that the Holy Spirit is working on this person, convincing him or her about sin and grace. We are called to preach and to be God’s witnesses. Don’t give up before the Holy Spirit says so. We are supposed to be led by the Spirit and always ask the Spirit when your part is over.
I quite often meet people looking for a partner. They might have been praying for years, but they are still alone. I do not have all the answers to this situation, but I do know that he or she does not come through the chimney or a closed door. If we want a partner, we have to come out where there are people. If you want a Christian partner, you do not seek in secular places. Many are to-day meeting each other on the internet. Many are unfortunately still alone and some of these become bitter and discouraged and not easy to be around. That decreases your chances enormously. It is not good to be alone, but do not make this problem so big that the feeling of loneliness becomes bigger than God. Relax! Live with your God daily! Go out among Christian sisters and brothers or invite them home. Trust in God! Are you willing to give up some of your own flesh or are you making strict rules that you expect God to follow? Some people say that they are desperate, but they want to live exactly the way they do to-day. As I said, I do not have all the answers, but I leave the case to HIM.
How strong are our desires for change? How much do we desire a partner, another job, better health, economy etc? I have earlier mentioned the widow from Luke 18. She never gave up. Many say that we cannot trouble God too much, but He encourages us to become persistent. We can come to Him and we can use the Word of God: “You have said in Your Word……“He has also said that we should thank Him before we see the answer and He will honor our faith. We read in James about one who doubts. He cannot expect an answer to prayers. This is not always the reason, but sometimes we do not receive since we do not know our rights or we doubt. When we pray for others we must remember that neither God nor you can violate their will. When it comes to you, remember: God is a good God. He does not want you to suffer. He is for you and with you. Fill yourself with His promises!
TRUST IN HIM AND HIS WORD. DO NOT GIVE UP AND BECOME AS THE PERSISTENT WIDOW. THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL HELP YOU TO ENDURE. THE ANSWERS ARE ON THEIR WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!