Thursday, March 30, 2006

Don't QUIT! Finishing STRONG! Let's ENDURE!

by Max Lucado

Remain. Hang in there. Finish. Stick to it until it is done. Unfortunately, very few of us do that. Our human tendency is to quit too soon. Our human tendency is to stop before we cross the finish line.

Our inability to finish what we start is seen in the smallest of things:A partly mowed lawn. A half-read book. Letters begun but never completed. An abandoned diet. A car up on blocks.Or, it shows up in life's most painful areas:An abandoned child. A cold faith. A job hopper. A wrecked marriage. An unevangelized world.

Am I touching some painful sores? Any chance I'm addressing someone who is considering giving up? If I am, I want to encourage you to remain. I want to encourage you to remember Jesus' determination on the cross.

Jesus didn't quit. But don't think for one minute that he wasn't tempted to. Watch him wince as he hears his apostles backbite and quarrel. Look at him weep as he sits at Lazarus's tomb or hear him wail as he claws the ground of Gethsemane.

Did he ever want to quit? You bet.That's why his words are so splendid.

"It is finished."

A cry of defeat? Hardly. Had his hands not been fastened down I dare say that a triumphant fist would have punched the dark sky. No, this is no cry of despair. It is a cry of completion. A cry of victory. A cry of fulfillment. Yes, even a cry of relief.

Are you close to quitting? Please don't do it. Are you discouraged as a parent? Hang in there. Are you weary with doing good? Do just a little more. Are you pessimistic about your job? Roll up your sleeves and go at it again. No communication in your marriage? Give it one more shot. Can't resist temptation? Accept God's forgiveness and go one more round. Is your day framed with sorrow and disappointment?

Are your tomorrows turning into nevers? Is hope a forgotten word?

Remember, a finisher is not one with no wounds or weariness. Mother Teresa is credited with saying, "God didn't call us to be successful, just faithful."

The Land of Promise, says Jesus, awaits those who endure. (Matthew 10:22) It is not just for those who make the victory laps or drink champagne. No sir. The Land of Promise is for those who simply remain to the end.

Let's endure.

Freely Forgive, Can YOU? Jesus did!

Freely Forgive

If anyone has a complaint against another;even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.Colossians 3:13

Studies by a number of psychologists show that it is not great riches that make people happy, but friends and forgiveness. Commenting on these findings in a USA Today article, Marilyn Elias says, "The happiest people surround themselves with family and friends, don't care about keeping up with the Joneses next door, lose themselves in daily activities, and most important, forgive easily."

University of Michigan psychologist Christopher Peterson says that the ability to forgive others is a trait most strongly linked to happiness. He calls it "the queen of all virtues, and probably the hardest to come by."

An unforgiving spirit is often the last emotional fortress we yield to the power of God. Even as Christians, we may cling to anger and bitterness, feeling that those who have wronged us should suffer for their offenses. But when we realize how much God has forgiven us, we are compelled to extend mercy to others. The Bible urges us to "put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;.....even
as Christ forgave you, so you also must do" (Colossians 3:12-13).

Forgiveness is God's command to us and is part of a life of love, peace, thankfulness, and praise (vv. 14-16). Freely we have been forgiven; let us freely forgive. -- David McCasland

Lord, help me be kind and forgiving-Your loving forgiveness You've shown
To me for the sins I've committed; Lord, grant me a love like Your own. - Anon

When it seems you can't forgive, remember how much you've been forgiven.