Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Get Up, Persevere, and Fulfill the Call

When circumstances beat you up, what do you do? Lie down in defeat or get up. Persevere or quit? God has a call on your life. Are you moving toward and walking in what He’s called you to do?

GET UP

Acts 14:19-20 NIV

Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Paul and Barnabus have been out preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. They witnessed the power of God through Jesus Christ heal a crippled man. This stirred up hostility with the Jews. So the Jews from Antioch went to Lystra to incite a riot. They ganged up on Paul. They beat him up, took him out the city and left him for dead. What kind of reception is that for going out to share the gospel that Jesus saves?

I just wonder if at this point if Paul, in agony and full of pain, just wanted to lie there and die. If in his pain he just wanted to be left alone. I wonder did he even let the “why me?” thoughts enter his mind. To see such a great victory in Christ and then to experience such a low point, do you think that would be disappointing? How often do we think like that? Be disappointed? Honestly, I know I have had those kinds of thoughts. We don’t know what Paul’s thoughts were at this moment.

We do know this—the disciples gathered around him. When he was beaten, his trusted, godly friends were there for him. They protected him. Perhaps they encouraged him too. We need godly friends to encourage us to press on. We need godly friends who will gather around us as we get up. Paul’s friends took him back into the city for the night and they left the next day. Then Paul and his disciples went right on preaching in the next city, Derbe.

PERSEVERE

Acts 14:21-22 NIV

They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.

After winning a large number of people to the Lord in Derbe, Paul and his disciples go right back to the place where he was stoned. Crazy! Wouldn’t you think they’d find another way home? No, he didn’t. Paul wanted to encourage the new disciples in their faith. He wanted to let them know to remain true and faithful.

As disciples for Christ we will face many difficulties. He was an example to the people who witnessed his stoning by getting up and going on about what the Lord called him to do. As believers in Christ we need to walk out our faith in hardships as examples to encourage other believers.

Later Paul tells Timothy (who by the way is from Lystra), “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:10-12 NIV)

Let us be encouraged! The scriptures tell us we’ll have persecutions. James tells us to “consider it pure joy” because when our faith is tested, it produces perseverance. We need perseverance to that we can be mature and complete. It’s how we learn and grow. The other night when my friend came over to encourage me, she told me, “God uses our circumstances to shape our character.”

FULFILL THE CALL

Paul clearly knew his purpose to preach the gospel of Christ. He did not let circumstances beat him down. Paul had been imprisoned, flogged, lashed, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked and more (complete list in 2 Cor. 11). He never quit. As believers, we need to know our purpose. It needs to be clear and evident in our lives or else it will be too easy to quit.

The purpose the Lord has for me is becoming more and more evident (other than being a wife and mother which is my first ministry). God is revealing this call through people and circumstances that He places in my life. Opportunities have recently opened for me in the area of teaching, speaking, and writing. On May 5-7, I am registered to attend a speakers and writers conference by CLASServices. I’m taking advantage of additional services CLASS offers and submitted a book proposal and sample manuscript for critique. I haven’t done anything like this before, but felt deep in me I had to do it. That was the deadline I had to meet this past weekend. It had to be in the mail on time. After I receive this training, I have already been asked to speak at a women’s event on May 17. May God receive all the glory!!

I thank all of you who prayed for me this past weekend. It meant a lot to me as you were the friends who gathered around me when I was “beaten down.” In spite of the hardships, I feel such a burden to press on with what the Lord has put on my heart to do. I can’t quit, but must persevere!

What's your calling? Get up, persevere and fulfill God's plan for your life! Let's encourage one another and...

Luke 18:1 (NIV)

“…always pray and not give up.”

Blessings in Christ--

7 gracious comments:

littlerad said...

I love this message... Never give up, contuine with what God has in store for you...
Thank you
Connie
GBU

Becoming Me said...

Thank you for this my friend. It spoke to my heart.

MrsProverbs31 said...

Thanks for sharing about perseverance. I needed to hear that. This is your year, my friend. God bless you and have fun!

Karen said...

Shonda,
Wow - I didn't know you submitted a book proposal and manuscript! That's awesome!!!! This was a wonderful post. I really like your quote from what your friend told you: "“God uses our circumstances to shape our character.”" What a wonderful and true statement!

I hope that you are doing okay and I so hope that you are able to get your work published!!!!!!!!

Take care,
Karen
www.homesteadblogger.com/tagblog

Shonda said...

For clarification, I submitted a proposal and sample chapter for critique at this seminar. This is only a step in the journey. I will wait on the Lord.

Blessings in Christ--

HIS daughter said...

I feel honored that you posted that my little simple blogpost about fear helped you.

You are a beautiful writer and I'm sure teacher/speaker as well. GOD has a calling on your life and you just keep doing the next thing.

I just told a friend that my life could be written down, but I have no idea under which genre! I'm only kidding because it would definately be Christian because of GOD'S amazing grace to a former pit dweller, pit seeker, and just plain old hanging out at the pits!

I pray that whatever GOD has purposed for you, you will see it clearly and when the enemy attacks you will know where to run immediately! Mountaintops to valley has been what GOD is working with in my life at this season. I know it's to become a warrior not a wimp. We weren't told to put on the whole armour to sit around and file our nails!

This is a battle and we will overcome!

Blessings and prayers as you serve Our Father,
Teri

littlerad said...

Shonda,
My eamily would never go through so here is my email, plus I wanted to let you know I wrote a small portion of my Testomony on my blog...

Shonda,

Thank you for sending this email, I was a mormon for 41 ones years, and now looking back at all the things that I new as truth was so far from the truth, it is a cult and I didn't see that until I got out, even the mormons that don't follow that teachings of the FLDS, are the one that follow just the LDS and they believe the same things, they just don't all practice them... The mormons are so complex to understand, I can help you to understand if you want, just ask away, my hubby and I speak about coming out and what the mormons believe... Have a great Sabbath...

I hope you are having a great week...
Connie
GBU