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Let Perseverance Finish its Work

“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 (NIV)

In Arizona there is a scientific research facility called Biosphere 2. It is an enclosed miniature version of earth’s biosphere, but this one is about the size of three football fields. The facility includes a rainforest, desert, ocean with reef, and farmland, complete with plants, animals, and insects. Its original purpose was to study whether an entirely self-sufficient ecosystem with human habitats could be built on another planet. While the scientists carried out their original research, they discovered other curious findings. One was that the trees would grow faster in Biosphere 2 than trees on the outside, but these trees would fall over before they matured. The scientists realized that the problem was a lack of wind. Regular trees grow something called stress wood in response to the wind, and this is what allows them to grow tall and strong. The trees inside the research facility had no wind, so they were unable to stand.

            God created the earth’s ecosystems as part of his plan, and as a result, everything works together perfectly, including the wind and the trees. And since we know that humans are also part of this plan, we can know that God created us the same way. Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV) explains that “as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Just as God has a purpose for the rain to water crops, he has a purpose for us humans to achieve his plans. Everything works together for His glory.

            So just as trees need stress to mature, we too as humans must endure trials in order to grow strong. We may wonder why we have hardships and temptations, but if we did not experience any stress, we would be too weak to stand, just like the trees in Biosphere 2. James 1:2-4 (NIV) says “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.” While in the midst of trials, we need to remember that we are living in God’s plan, and that we could be growing perseverance now so that we can stand strong later.

Walking with you in Christ,

Erin Tabor

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.freeimages.com/photo/tree-1174007

Stand Firm in Your Faith

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”
Isaiah 7:9 NIV

What you stand firm in is where you place your identity. For Christians we can tell ourselves that our identity is rooted in Christ, but do we act that way? We need to remember that our actions speak louder than our words. What have you done lately to show that you are standing firm in your faith? Sometimes it’s not a “ready for battle attitude”, but instead it’s more of “circling back around to the truth.” After you feel like you’ve exhausted all other options, so now it’s time to pray. After you allowed anxiety and worry to consume you, you remind yourself of God’s love.

Reminding ourselves:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  2 Corinthians 4:8-10

We are human and sometimes we want to try to make ourselves happy or try to fix things ourselves. Standing firm is not in our own power, but in the power God gives us. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. The Holy Spirit is our super power! He is where our supernatural strength comes from. He is where our perseverance comes from… But only if we activate our power through Him.

If you are wondering whether you’ve been standing firm in your faith or in something else, I encourage you to ask yourself what is it that most people see when they look at you? Are you living as such that people can see Jesus in you, or are worldly worries and idols take over your heart?

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me

Psalm 51:10-12

This is my prayer for you today, friends.

Stephanie Miller

 

Photo Credit: image created via wordswag

GET’ER DONE!

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21

I didn’t know much in my early Christian life, but it didn’t take long to realize that I needed a power greater than myself if I was going to truly be Jesus’ disciple.  Change was hard! (And by the way, it still is!) Somehow, I understood that any accomplishments made for eternal purposes would not happen unless I had help. 

I read the Bible, but had a hard time understanding it. I searched every self-help book I could get my hands on, and listened to hundreds of sermon tapes. I asked other Christian women to teach and mentor me, but help came like a very slow dripping faucet. Like a sponge I listened to anyone who would teach me. 

After a while I began to understand that man and his manual tools could only help so much.  To illustrate, think of a man who needs to drive a three-inch screw into concrete. Using a manual screwdriver, he is going to struggle, pushing hard with all his might to get the job done in his own strength. Or he can pick up an electric power drill and sink that same 3-inch screw in seconds!  By using his outside power source, he can get the job done without zapping his own strength, and can get much more done in the process. 

After we have accepted Christ and have His power living in us through the Holy Spirit, we too can accomplish a lot more in this life. More than we could ever accomplish in our own strength.

So today – let us plug into the power source that God has already given us. His power source, His Holy Spirit, that lives inside us 24/7, but which we so often ignore. He is stronger that we will ever be.  And then watch him work through us, getting more done that we would ever have imagined!  

Until Next Time,

Your Traveling Partner,

Brenda

 

Photo credit: https://www.freeimages.com/photographer/unknowme-67461