The Perfect Life

April 15, 2019

So, you are in perfect health.  You have no family or friends that need your constant care or attention.  You may not be rich, but you have everything life can offer, and are doing fine.

But, what about the rest?  While people do not have the same problems, and everyone’s life is different, there are generally challenges that everyone must face, and sometimes endure.  Sometimes they endure it for a season, and in others they endure for a lifetime.

Is this unfair?  Well, only God can answer that question.  Is it unequal?  Often, yes, it is.  Do the people that suffer deserve it?  Often, not.

Then, how do we make sense of it?  What makes the unendurable endurable?

For one – the idea of a ‘perfect life’ is a myth.  Money can’t buy it.  Position and fame can’t make it happen.  Perfect health is good, but it is not the only thing we have to deal with.

There is an answer.  It’s not an answer that eliminates problems or situations or distresses.  But, it is an answer that makes those things endurable and worthwhile.  The answer – a life dedicated to living for Christ and God the Father.  A life yielded to His master plan.  A life dedicated to fulfilling His perfect plan for us.

But, let’s not be fooled.  A life lived under God’s master plan may not be a bed of roses and luxury.  In fact, there may be many unpleasant and unwanted events.  This has been true from the beginning, and is true today.

Take the problem of pain.  Pain may come in many forms:

  1. Physical pain in the body
  2. Mental pain
  3. Emotional pain

Those are personal pains.  But, there are also pains we endure on the behalf of others.  Caregivers, and those who feel the pain of those they love are also sources of pain.  In fact, it is sometimes the case we would rather feel the pain ourselves than see our family or friends go through their own pain.

In general, there is little to be gained from these pain experiences.  But, there is an exception – when we are yielded to God’s master plan, then every experience of life becomes part of the plan, whether that experience is good or bad.  Of course, it is easy to see how good experiences help us, but a bit more challenging to understand how bad experiences are beneficial to us.  In fact, some experiences we may not fully understand in our lifetime here on this earth.

So, as far as this earthly existence is concerned, what is the ‘perfect life’?  It is a life yielded to Christ and Father God, and lived within His master plan for our life.  That, my friend, is as good as it gets.  In this plan it would be rare you would get everything you want or desire.  It would be rare you experience no pain, weariness, or fear.  It would be rare you experience no loss, grief, or sorrow.  But, it would still be the best possible plan for your life.

In this plan you cannot always do the things you want to do.  You cannot always take the simple and easy path.  You cannot side-step or ignore those things that are unpleasant.

But, where is the payoff?

There will be payoff in this life, and in the life to come.  You will receive benefits here, and more benefits later.  In many cases, you will be gathering ‘treasure’ that will only be revealed when you get to heaven.

Let us remember a few basic things:

  1. God will not do those things you are capable of doing for yourself
  2. You cannot do the things that only God, Himself, is capable of doing
  3. You and God are working together, to fulfill the plan for your life
  4. You need God’s guidance and help everyday of your life, not just when crisis comes
  5. We should position ourselves to be obedient to His guidance and instruction, and correction when it comes our way

 

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Courage

April 14, 2019

Courage means many things to many people.  To add to the confusion it’s not enough to say one person has courage, and another does not.  It’s not an all or nothing type of thing.  Sometimes we exhibit courage, and other times we are afraid.  But, regardless of your definition, or degree to which you have it, courage is still a human gift from God that needs to be exercised.

Although courage is hard to define, it might be best put into the category of exhibiting character in the face of challenge or opposition, that may even cause us harm or damage, but we feel is worth the cost.  In other words, it often implies doing or saying something that is not in favor, that is not popular, that goes against the grain.  It often implies personal risk, whether physical risk, emotional risk, or risk of being separated from the mainstream of society.

Courage means taking a stand when that stand may have little support, or even no support.  When an individual exhibits courage, they may, in fact, be alone.

Courage is often exhibited when the outcome of a decision or action is uncertain or unknown.  There are no guarantees things will work out favorable.  Courage is not for the feeble, or timid, or those who avoid every appearance of risk.

Courage is a God-given gift, but cannot reach it’s full potential without frequent exercise.  To some degree, everyone is gifted with courage, but it is often left unused, and withers over time.  To exhibit true courage requires the individual to overcome their ingrained fears and apprehensions, and stick to their convictions, without waver or compromise.

Courage is applauded and recognized, but generally only after the fact, and after the battle is already over.  In some cases, personal courage is only recognized after one dies.  For some reason (known only to God) we must wait until a person is no longer with us to truly recognize their courage, ability, or character.

Courage is not about forcefully exerting one’s will, or domination.  It is not about boasting or arrogance.  It is also not blind.  Courage is about making the tough decisions that we have been entrusted with.  Generally, the decisions are hard, having no easy answers, but they must be made.

The most difficult examples of courage are not when our decisions go against popular opinion.  Those are tough, but the tougher examples of courage are when we must be willing to put our own beliefs, and personal risk, on the line.  Win or lose.  For that to occur one must master their own fears, apprehensions, and reservations.  That is the toughest of all.  One can face down 10,000 opposers, and exhibit courage, but to face one’s own fears and apprehensions may take all the strength we possess.

Don’t be fooled.  If courage was easy everyone would be doing it.  But, courage belongs to the brave, and they are few in number.  I encourage you to exercise your ‘courage muscle’…

The Moral Dilemma

April 6, 2019

One definition of “dilemma” reads something like this – a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially equally undesirable ones.

Christian leadership is faced with many such dilemmas, but very little is talked about or written about.  Probably, because there are no easy solutions, which is why I chose to use it as my subject for this brief posting.

To keep the topic short I’ve only chosen one particular area where Christian leaders may face a ‘moral dilemma’.  As churches grow so does the need for shifting from pure volunteerism to paid staff grow, as well.  It may start as part-time staffing, but can quickly reach the level of full-time staffing.  Regardless of whether it is part-time or full-time there are many dilemmas facing leaders.  Who deserves to be hired?  At what salary?  And, one of the more sticky issues – how are terminations handled?  While hiring can be exhausting labor, it is with emotional upheaval that terminations are completed.

To add to the problem, terminations are complicated by personal situations.  The person being terminated may be handicapped.  The person being terminated may have few other employment options.  They may be faced with family crisis’ and situations that can obscure the leader’s decision making responsibility.  The leader may, in fact, be faced with the question:  “Do I terminate this individual and be a responsible leader, or do I terminate this person and destroy their confidence, their income, their livelihood?”  This question faces leaders outside of Christianity, but the compassion and moral obligations imposed on Christian leaders make these choices even harder.

This question also is related to the question: “Do I run the church as a business, or do I run it as a charity?”  Of course, the answer is both play in the responsibility a Christian leader must take on.  Yes, it is the responsibility of the leader to not throw away God’s money, but it also the role of the leader to show compassion and charity.

To give further food for thought – consider this – “Is it compassionate for a leader to keep someone employed, simply out of charity?”  Note, this implies there are situations where showing charity is actually the wrong thing to do.  Wrong for the church, and wrong for the individual.  How could showing charity be wrong for the individual?  It might remove the requirement that the individual show initiative and drive.  For why would someone continue to labor if they can receive charity for doing nothing?

While there are no easy or pat answers (that is why it is called a dilemma), I have seen some basic common themes that have played out during my years of experience:

  1. Charity is a good thing, but should not be the sole reason for keeping an individual on the payroll.
  2. While it doesn’t always work out this way – it is generally best if the individual can make the choice that they need to ‘move on’.  To foster this decision the Christian leader can lay ‘hints’ that some change is inevitable in the near future.
  3. Terminations are hard.  No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, but as part of the responsibility of Christian leaders it is sometimes a necessary task.
  4. No job should be seen as a ‘permanent’, or ‘forever’ job.  Change is inevitable, and must be recognized by both employer and employees of any Christian organization.
  5. We are not in the job or destroying people’s lives.  However, not terminating an individual may be destroying other lives, or depriving them of opportunities.  In fact, not terminating an individual may not be helping that individual, and may be causing more harm than good.

Bottom line – being a good steward (or leader) requires the hard decisions (terminations) be done, as well as the easy ones (hiring or giving raises).  It never becomes easy, but must be weighed as something that is of overall benefit to God’s church, and the stewardship position He has entrusted us with.

The Sword that Divides

March 31, 2019

All worldly religions attempt to define God, or the absence of God, in their own way.  Sometimes they use the things of nature to define who God is.  In others, they believe their leaders were given revelations into the divine nature of God.

But, if God determined the world could only know Him through His Son, and that He (the Father) had placed all authority in His Son, and that only through the sacrifice of His Son the world would be redeemed from sin and death, then all arguments and theories would become mute.

But, for the most part, the world refuses to accept those things.  Even during Jesus’s earthly ministry there were those who refused to accept Him as the Messiah.  They believed in a Messiah, but refused to accept Christ as that Messiah.  They were looking for another.

It was as if God had sent a Sword to the earth and divided those that would believe from those who would not.  And so He has.

The salvation that Christ purchased on Calvary is available to all men, women, and children.  But, in order for the salvation to become effective it must be accepted by faith, and not all are willing to make that choice.  God has placed into each individual’s account a ticket for salvation, but you must show up in person to collect your ticket.

We think this is something new, but really faith has been at the heart of believers from the very beginning of the human race.  Even before Abraham (the Father of Faith) was born, Noah believed God and built the ark, to the saving of himself and his family.  It was all by faith.

Moses crossed the Red Sea by faith.

David conquered Goliath by faith.

The more we learn about the Universe, and how it works, the more it draws us to an understanding that things don’t ‘simply happen’, but that a Master Designer designed and built it to operate a certain way.

The more we learn by looking through the microscope, and study biology and the human body, the more it points to the fact that there had to be a Master Designer who designed and built things to operate a certain way.

While man has progressed in his knowledge and understanding, we can say with some certainty, that we know less now than at any time in history.  How is this possible?  Because as man unravels the layers of life and the universe, the more layers are left unexplored and unknowable.  In other words, the details built into the tiniest of atomic particles, as well as the massiveness of the most studied stars in the heavens are all designed to show us the Creator’s handwork.  The ‘smart’ person pulls back from the microscope and telescope and declares, “Surely, this was created by God.”

But, it still requires a leap of faith to accept God.  And God has placed the path to salvation and relationship with Himself solely in the hands of His Son, Jesus Christ.  This was God’s doing, and not man’s.  This is not the work of man’s imagination or dreams, but is the plan of God.  There is no plan “B”.  There is no alternate option.

So, What Should He Have Done?

March 18, 2019

Ever wonder what God’s plan for your life is?  Ever wonder where He will lead you next?  Ever wonder what your future will be like?  Ever wonder if your life makes an impact or difference?

At some point, I suppose everyone has those thoughts.  They are questions with no easy answers.  In fact, only God can answer those kind of questions, and He is not talking.

While I do not have an answer for that question I can refer you to some examples of how God dealt with individuals in the past.

When John the Baptist was thrown into prison he sent two messengers to Jesus to ask the simple question, “Are you the one we are looking for, or should we look for another?”  This is not a lack of faith on the part of John, but is a simple question that could be reworded as something like this, “I did what God told me to do and now I’m in prison, and you are not doing anything about it.  Why?”

Jesus did send back word to John, but He didn’t change John’s situation, nor did He try and explain the future to John.  A short time later John was executed by Herod, and apparently had no prior notice of this.  Why didn’t God let John in on His plan?

When Stephen was evangelizing and preaching the Word the religious leaders of the time got infuriated.  Stephen then preached them a message that made them so mad he was stoned to death by those same leaders.  Did Stephen know this was going to happen?  Probably not.  Why didn’t God tell him ahead of time?

There are many more such examples, too numerous to count.  But, it is clear God doesn’t tell us everything.  Why?

While we may not be able to supply an adequate answer to this question, we can make some determinations that probably make sense, as to the question “Why?”:

  1. God’s plan for our lives includes a lot more than just what happens to us.  In fact, His plan could be considered so vast and immense it would be impossible for us to grasp, even if He told us.
  2. God’s plan for our lives may include some unpleasant things, that should we know ahead of time it could alter our thoughts and actions.  In other words, it’s best to not know everything about the future.
  3. It is apparently part of God’s plan for man (including women and children, of course) to be taken one step at a time.  Too much information regarding the future could distract us from what needs to be done right now.

While God may not reveal our future, He does tell us the things we need to know.  He may tell us directly, through an angel messenger, or through a human messenger.  He may also tell us through the things we experience and live through.

You cannot change the past, and the future is beyond our ability to predict.  We are, therefore, instructed to live for the day at hand.  Some things ‘appear’ to be safeguards for our future – money, position, education, power, etc… but this is an illusion.  The only safeguard for our future is faith in a loving God, who has our best interests in mind.

The final score of our life, and the work we accomplish, will only be tallied after we have made the journey home.  And in some cases, those tallies cannot be totaled up until the end of the age.  As an example of this, the tally for Moses, David, Paul, John the Baptist, and countless others are still being added up, as their lives, as recorded in the scriptures, are still having an effect on the lives of people today.

So, don’t concern yourself with what God’s plan for your future might be.  We must continue to take one step at a time, as he gives us the ability to do so.  Our tasks, small or great, are measured to us as He sees fit.

Antioch

March 11, 2019

After the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and following the Day of Pentecost, the birth of the early Christian church began.  It consisted of Jews who were primarily located in Jerusalem.  The things we take for granted now, where not a given in those days.  In fact, the very early Christian church modeled itself much after the traditions associated with Judaism.

In order for the Christian church to become what God had intended, there were at least three primary things that had to occur:

  1. Doctrinal shift from the Law to Faith and Grace supplied by Christ, as means of salvation and reconciliation to God.
  2. Allowing Gentiles to have the same status, rights, and association in church and society as the Jews.
  3. Expanding the evangelistic reach of the church beyond Jerusalem to the rest of Israel and eventually the world.

While we take these things for granted these concepts were mind-bending to the Jews of the early church.  There were several things that occurred to push the early church into these reforms.

For one thing, there arose a great persecution of the believers in Jerusalem and surrounding areas.  This persecution was so intense it caused believers to be dispersed and to flee Jerusalem.

The second thing that happened was a revival breakout that occurred in the Christian church at Antioch.  This church exhibited several key characteristics that marks it as the real beginning of modern Christianity as we know it today.  Antioch was the first Christian church of note, that had more Gentiles than Jews.  It was the first church of note, that had an outpouring of the Spirit, along with the gifts and fruits of the Spirit.  It was the first church of note, that sent out missionaries into the Gentile world to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The fact that Antioch had a large contingent of Gentiles meant that Jewish traditions had little hold on the membership, and made the concepts of moving from the doctrine of Law to the doctrine of Faith and Grace easier to accept.  We must remember that one of the biggest threats to the early Christian church was not from outside persecution, which was at times severe, but from inside where orthodox Jews wanted to revert back to the traditions, customs, and laws of Judaism.  This was perfectly natural, as they were raised from birth with these traditions and customs, and it only seemed natural to live them going forward as believers in Christ.  However, as Paul so distinctly pointed out it is not possible to live in both worlds at the same time.  One is either saved by keeping the Law or one is saved by faith and grace in Christ.  You cannot live in both realms at the same time, and must at some point choose one or the other.

The early church had great problems in this area, and it took great courage for Jewish leaders, who lived primarily in Jerusalem, to move into the new area of faith and grace as our foundation for the future.  Additionally, they had to accept the new idea that Gentiles were also granted equal status with Jews when it came to God’s plan for saving the world.

Of the many accomplishments of Paul the Apostle, perhaps one of the greatest was his constant and persistent promotion of this new concept that Gentiles were a part of God’s plan for the church.  Often, he was alone in this quest, and was often rebuffed and rejected for his pursuit of this idea.  But, Paul was convinced that what Christ had created was something that was born out of Judaism, but would be different in its nature, traditions, customs, and future.  The God of Judaism was not abandoned, abolished, or changed, but instead God’s fuller plan for including the Gentiles was brought to light.  There were definite references to the Gentiles in the Old Testament, but it was only the birth of the Christian church that these ideas were brought to full fruition and fulfillment.

And, so, the church at Antioch was the prototype for the modern Christian movement, without which the Christian movement and birth of the early church might have died before the end of the first century.  At best, it might have reverted back to some form of Judaism, which would have rendered the work of the Cross powerless.

 

Your Key Unlocks Other Doors

February 22, 2019

If this title doesn’t grab you nothing will.  What a strange concept.  We certainly expect our key to unlock our door, not someone else’s door.  Apparently, some explanation is required…

Let’s start with my definition of these terms.  The term ‘key’ or ‘keys’ refers to your prayers you make to God.  The ‘doors’ refers to the needs you, or someone else has.  So, we could rephrase the title to this blog posting to something like this, “Your prayers should be directed to the needs of others, not to your own.”

This concept goes against the grain, as it is common to think we would prayer first for our own needs, and then if time permits prayer for the needs of others.  After all, we all have needs we need God to meet.

But, there is a problem….

My experience has been that the more I pray for my own needs, the fewer answers I seem to get.  In fact, it might be said that my prayers only go as high as the ceiling and no further.  What is going on here?

The answer lies in our ability to train ourselves to look beyond our own world and see the needs of others.  I do say ‘train’ as it is not a natural thing to put other’s needs above our own.  We are born with a sense of self-preservation, and looking out for our own needs comes naturally.  It requires discipline and training and self-denial to think of the needs of others.

All of this is great, but what happens to us if we spend our time praying for others?  How are our own needs going to be met?  Aren’t they important, too?  Yes, they are, and as we learn to practice the effort to pray for others God will meet our own needs, Himself.

Does this mean we should not pray for our own needs?  No, not at all.  It simply means that if you want achieve the greatest success in your own life, the majority of your prayers need to be directed to the needs of others, and let God take care of your own needs.  If everyone does this, then we have others who are praying for our needs, just like we are praying for their needs.

But, what if we don’t know what their needs are?  That’s ok, God knows, and as you grow your prayer life He will provide guidance into what to pray for.  You don’t need to know the specific items.  There are basic needs every human being needs – health, strength, mental stability, emotional stability, employment, security, the means to provide for their families, relief from fear, stress, and comfort during times of grief, loss, and relationship difficulties.  There needs of feeling accepted, feeling wanted, feeling useful, feeling loved.  There needs that require miracles, and needs that require wisdom and understanding.  There needs for people in despair, loss of hope, and have feelings of giving up.  There are needs of being over-worked, under-worked, and indecision.

There are needs for those individuals who are suffering pain, who are facing disease, or who are enduring war, famine, or being tortured.  There are those who have no future, no opportunity, who have no reason to keep putting one foot in front of another.

Spend your time praying for those, and I think you will find God will find a way (or make a way) for your door to be opened.

In closing, let me finish with two prayer items I do think are appropriate for you to pray for yourself, and often:

  1. Forgiveness of our own sins – I suggest this to be your first prayer item, as it is important to be on right terms with God, before we begin asking Him for things.  We must gain a status of holiness in order to gain an audience with God, and there is really only one way to do that – we must be forgiven.
  2. Thanksgiving – in the midst of our requests and petitions we make of God, we sometimes forget to be thankful for what He has already done, and what He is currently doing.

 

The Natural Order

February 17, 2019

I’m not sure I can explain in a few short sentences the concept of what I’m calling ‘Natural Order’, and how Natural Order can be changed or altered.  But, once again, here we go….

First of all, I need to put a definition to what I’m calling ‘Natural Order’, as I think there may be all kinds of different ideas about what that term means.  In this blog, I define ‘Natural Order’ thus – “Natural Order is a system of rules and laws that have been put in place by God, that largely govern how things work in our earthly existence.  It describes the normal rules of nature, physics, how we are born, how we age, and how we die.  Although, there are differences in individual lives and experiences, overall the Natural Order God has put in place prevails.”

In other words, God has placed certain things into a sphere of operation that has changed little from the beginning.  For example, gravity doesn’t come and go on a random basis.  Seasons generally follow certain basic rules.

Now for the interesting part….

For the most part God does not alter or change the Natural Order of things.  But, there are exceptions.  These exceptions create what we call ‘miracles’.  When Jesus walked on the water, this act changed the Natural Order of things, at least for a short season.  When Jesus raised the dead, this act altered the Natural Order associated with disease, age, and death.  When Jesus healed the blind, this changed the Natural Order.

Now more than ever we need God to change the Natural Order of things.  We might even call this ‘intervention’.  We need God to change the Natural Order of things, in order for miracles to continue to take place.

Now, I believe God doesn’t just change the Natural Order on a whim, or without reason.  I also believe it is the fervent, effectual prayer of the righteous that engages God in changing the Natural Order of things.  In other words, someone somewhere is praying for God to intervene and change things.

Yes, it is a mystery that it appears some prayers are answered and some are not.  I say ‘appears’ because we do not yet have all the answers as to why God seems to answer some prayers and not others.  We may yet find that all prayers of faith God answers, although the answers may not be what we want or expect.

Without God’s intervention we can expect the Natural Order will continue as it has for thousands of years, and thousands of generations.  But, with God’s intervention the Natural Order of things can be changed.

The Bible is full of examples of where God changed the Natural Order of things, and He did it mostly by the prayers of His people.  I have every confidence He is still in the business of changing the Natural Order, but it is not going to just happen because we wish it to happen.  It will happen through our persistent and fervent prayers, and the exercise of our God-given faith.

Relationship

February 12, 2019

There are as many views about God, who He is, what He does, etc… as there are people in the world.  But, if we use the Bible as our baseline then there is really only one way to ‘know’ God, that is by having a relationship with Him.

It is quite different knowing about God, and having a relationship with Him.  To make matters more interesting, everyone’s relationship is unique and a bit different, although there are some common characteristics.

To add even more to the conversation, it is clear you cannot have a relationship with God that contradicts the Word.  Of course, that doesn’t stop people from saying something different, or believing something different.  In fact, there are people who claim to have a close relationship with God who want nothing to do with the Word or with Jesus Christ.  But, according to the Word this is impossible.

In the Book of John there is quite a series of arguments and disagreements Jesus had with the religious leaders of the time about this very subject.  They did not accept that Jesus was the Christ, the Savior of the world, the Son of God.  Jesus tried to tell them that if they did not accept Him they did not know the Father, either, because Jesus was sent by the Father to the world.  If we take this as our base then it is clear a rejection of Jesus as the Savior also means a rejection of the Father who sent Him.

Look at it this way – God had a plan.  The plan was to send His Son to be the Savior of the world, and to be the supreme sacrifice for sin.  When we reject Christ we are not rejecting only Christ, but the Father who put the plan into action.  There is no Plan B, or Plan C, or alternate option.

Actually the plan is quite old.  After Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden of Eden, there was only one way to gain access to God, and that was through faith.  We see this in Noah, and we see it in Abraham who was the Father of Faith for all who would follow.

Faith has always been the blade that separates believers from unbelievers.  It is also the basis on which a relationship with God can be established.  Since the Father has put all into the hands of the Son, the first step is whether we accept (believe) God’s plan of salvation that involves His Son.  Rejection of this first step, or trying to insert some sort of substitute (good works), is simply not going to work.  It is fundamental.

Of course, not everyone believes this.  But, we shouldn’t be surprised, because they didn’t even believe it when it came straight out of the mouth of God.

The world is moving in a general direction of a ‘universal God’.  A God who accepts all religions and beliefs, and puts no boundaries or rules between people or their belief systems.  In this ‘universal world’ there are many paths to God, and to heaven.  While this sounds quite good, it is not borne out in the scriptures.  They actually say something different.  They say God had a plan for the redemption of mankind, and that plan included sending His Son to die for the sins of the world and to reconcile man to Himself via this sacrifice.  He (the Father) did not set up alternate plans.  One plan.  One Savior.  Period.

This seems harsh to some.  It also puts fundamental Christianity in conflict with the prevailing world view.  But, understand, at some point it will be the prevailing world view the Anti-Christ will use in controlling the world and pushing the world to war with God in the final conflict that is revealed in the scriptures for the end times.

Believing in Christ is the ‘beginning’ of the relationship, and doesn’t stop there.  It must continue through prayer, reading the Word, and service.  It is the beginning of a journey that will only be completed when we pass from this life to eternal life.

Patience – Persistence – Pursuit

January 20, 2019

We finally get to talk about 3 subjects I know very little about.  Or, should I say 3 subjects that I have not yet mastered.  Why would someone want to talk about something they are not expert in?  Good question, but it has never stopped me before, so here we go…

Patience is not an easy word.  For one thing patience doesn’t come as a neatly packaged gift ready to be opened and put to work immediately.  It’s a bit more complicated than that.  Patience is gained through trial, and tribulation.  In other words, hard times, unpleasant times, times we’d rather skip over.

Persistence is an interesting word.  It speaks of a certain stubbornness, unwillingness to give up, the ability to keep going when everyone else says its time to quit.  Persistence in some matters may be the only thing that can turn certain failure into success.  Persistence may trump wealth, brilliance, strength, and other attributes.

Pursuit is a daring word.  Pursuit implies stepping out, taking a risk, and doing something.  Pursuit involves effort, work, and sometimes danger, with no certainty of the outcome.  Pursuit requires one to step up, and to sometimes fail.  Pursuit is an action word, not filled with flowery prose or promises.

Patience, persistence, and pursuit are brothers, and work together towards a common purpose.  They don’t always win the battles, but they will win the war.  If we look at the antonyms for these words it tells us what we don’t want to be:

Patience – Impatience.  Unwillingness to give God time to work out a solution.  A lack of faith that God knows what time it is.

Persistence – I tried once, and that is enough.  If it doesn’t work the first time I’m through with it.  I will never do that again.  I simply can’t do it.

Pursuit – I won’t go.  Too much danger, too much risk.  Not only that it takes too much work.  And even if I pursue my goal and get there, what guarantee will there be that I’ll receive my just reward?  The road is not clear, the path seems uncertain, and there are bound to be pitfalls, I think it safer to stay home and watch another episode of Golden Girls.  Better yet, let someone else do it.

Teddy Roosevelt said it better than I can say it….

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt