Archive | Persistence RSS feed for this section

Success: It’s a Lot More than Good Genes

1 Apr

Delve into the area of “genetics jokes” and you’ll find some doozies! (I have to admit, I didn’t understand most of them.) But here are two:

Question: Where would a person find genes that are retired from the human genetic pool?

Answer: In an old folks genome.

Question: Why did the geneticist go to dental school?

Answer: He was looking for an oral high gene.

I know. Silly.

But speaking of genes . . .

Entrepreneur Darren Hardy, an author, speaker and former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, once said, “DNA has nothing to do with success. Turn your genes into overalls and get to work.”

People have some strange ideas about success. Most are surprised it seldom happens automatically.

Success has more to do with faithfulness and perseverance than our genes and even exceptional gifts.

History is full of people who failed and later succeeded. Here are only a few examples among many:

  • Abraham Lincoln “failed” in the military, in business, as a lawyer, and initially, in politics. but he went on to become President of the United States.
  • Inventor Thomas Edison, labeled as “stupid” as a child, made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb before his invention was deemed a success.
  • Henry Ford went broke five times before he succeeded in building a productive car manufacturing enterprise.

Failure is often the training school for success.

As in the business and scientific world, in the Christian life, success also has more to do with faithfulness and perseverance than genes and gifting.

Faithfulness is steadfastness. It’s being reliable, unwavering. God is faithful (Psalm 89:8; Hebrews 13:8), and He wants us to learn faithfulness.

We see examples of faithfulness in the Bible in Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21), Epaphras (Colossians 1:7), Onesimus (Colossians 4:9), Moses (Hebrews 3:2) and Silvanus (1 Peter 5:12).

Though they are not well-know to us, they made the “faithfulness headlines” with the Lord.

Faithfulness will always be rewarded (Luke 19:17; Matthew 25:23). Why?

Faithfulness is God’s definition of success.

God wants us to be faithful to read scripture and pray; and to live by faith in every aspect of life (Habakkuk 2:4b).

Combined with perseverance, faithfulness allows us to serve the Lord in powerful ways. Perseverance makes us overcomers. We can become people who are holy and above reproach (Colossians 1:23).

It’s like pulling on spiritual overalls and getting to work for God and His Kingdom!

We work and persevere not to earn right standing with God, but rather out of our secure position with Him. We are already redeemed and accepted in the Lord (Ephesians 1:3-14).

It is the Lord who begins and completes His good work in us (Philippians 1:6); but believers–especially those in leadership–must also persevere in godliness and sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16; John 8:31; Romans 2:7); because, again, there is great “reward” (Psalm 19:11).

There may be many walls and hurdles to overcome in our walk of faithfulness–including deep persecution and afflictions–but the Lord encourages us to stay faithful and persevering, and the Holy Spirit will help us. Those who persevere in suffering, James says, will receive a “crown of life” (James 1:12).

Be faithful to the Faithful Father, and don’t give up pursuing His purposes for your life.

Put on your spiritual overalls!

Can you think of an area where you are not being faithful? Not persevering? How can you turn that around today?

 – Dawn

Graphic: Overalls are from Sears

 

Advertisements

Redouble Your Efforts

15 Oct

Somewhat skeptical of his son’s new found determination to become Charles Atlas, the father nevertheless spiritualexercise_lolwithgod_weights_jeltovski_morguefilefollowed the teenager over to the weight-lifting department, admiring a set of weights.

“Please, Dad,” pleaded the boy, “I promise I’ll use ’em every day.”

“I don’t know, Michael. It’s really a commitment on your part,” the father pointed out.

“Please, Dad?” the boy continued.

“They’re not cheap either,” the father came back.

“I’ll use ’em Dad, I promise. You’ll see.”

Finally won over, the father paid for the equipment and headed for the door.

From the corner of the store he heard his son yelp, “What! You mean I have to carry them to the car?” *

LOL.

That kid sounds just like me! In fact, some time ago, I broke up with my gym. We were just not working out. **

I don’t naturally “take” to exercise, but I know it’s good for me, so I persevere to find time for short spurts.

I take short walks, or exercise in a jacuzzi, or spend time (only 15 minutes) on a recumbent bike, or vacuum my house. For me, that’s manageable and it works.

The truth is, I don’t naturally “take” to spiritual exercise either. But there’s no question it’s good for me.

There was a time I was content to sit back as a Christian and not “work out” the salvation (Philippians 2:12) the Lord was “working in.”

I reasoned,

“It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

I was good at accepting the first part—allowing God to do His sanctifying work in me—but the second part was tough! I really didn’t have the desire for spiritual disciplines, and frankly, I didn’t think too much about doing things for God’s “good pleasure.”

In Philippians 2:12, Paul told the Philippian Church, “Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but even more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

What was Paul saying?

We’re to keep on doing what we did at the beginning, when we first trusted Christ. We’re to fear God (reverence Him) and know the Lord is evaluating our behavior.

There are some who say we’re not to work at all at becoming more Christ-like, but that’s not what scripture teaches. It might be natural for us to sin, but on the other hand, a child of God is called to respond to grace.

Remember what it was like when you first met the Lord? Remember the fire in your heart to show the Lord how much you loved Him because of His great sacrifice for you?

  • You couldn’t pray enough.
  • You couldn’t read the Bible enough.
  • Your heart poured out praise and worship.
  • You couldn’t wait to obey God.

Until you got busy with other things… distracted by lesser affections. And then, the prayer, Bible study, worshipful gratitude and responsive obedience just seemed like too much work!

But Paul was saying, “redouble your efforts!”

“Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God,” it says in The Message. “That energy is God’s energy, and energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.”

God rescues us, and then He works in us and gives us the energy to work at what will please Him!

Verses 14-16 give us a glimpse of what can happen if we follow God and work for Him. We will shine out like beacon lights in a dark and corrupt world! (v. 15) We will model the life-changing power of the Word of Life.

In verse 16, Paul essentially told the believers, “You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.”

Wow!

If I “redouble my efforts” to practice the spiritual disciplines, it’s going to be obvious to the world, and it’s going to bless others who have poured their time and energy into helping me grow too!

Our salvation is not of works, but that doesn’t mean we get lazy in pursuing the Lord once we know Him. As my Grandpa Parks used to day, “Don’t sit around like a bump on a pickle.”

Some might need the admonition, “Take time to rest,” but others need a “Get busy!”

In fact, Redouble Your Efforts!

* from Cybersalt Digest, Issue #3980, 10-30-13

** OK, I borrowed that from Cybersalt Digest, Issue #3981, 10-31-13

~ Dawn

Dig a Little Deeper

28 May

A pirate captain was out to retrieve his buried treasure. After months of hard sailing his ship caught site of land, the land to Pirate_DugganArts_Morguefilewhich his treasure map had been leading. He and his first mate disembarked on the island to search out the buried treasure, which was supposed to lie hidden deep with in a swamp at the center of the island.

Sure enough, at the center of the island was a swamp, and the Captain and his first mate bravely entered the swamp. Soon the swamp began to get deeper, and the pirate’s feet, then ankles, and finally entire leg below the knees was covered in swamp.

It was at that time that the Captain banged his shin against something hard. He reached down, searched around, and pulled up a treasure chest. Prying the lock open, the chest revealed gold and jewels beyond imagination.

The Captain turned to his first mate and said, “Arrrr, matey, that just goes to show ye—booty is only shin deep!” *

LOL!

I am forever indebted to my Chemistry teacher who inspired me when I, as a high school sophomore, told him I “hated” chemistry.

“Dig a little deeper, Dawn,” he told me. I doubt he’d remember that quick statement, but it sure stuck with me!

At this point I can’t help but sing Disney’s catchy tune, “Dig a Little Deeper” from Disney’s “Princess and the Frog.”

But I digress.

Back to chemistry … I DID dig a little into my chemistry book and actually learn to ENJOY class—well, except for that time I almost blew up the chem lab.

I carry my teacher’s wise advice with me to this day.

Whether I’m struggling with trying to understand something about my computer, or trying to figure out how to conquer my gardening “black thumb,” I’ve discovered “digging” into the subject not only gives me answers and new strategies for learning and applying knowledge, it also deepens my appreciation for the topic.

In other words, I’m digging for hidden treasure, and loving what I find.

Case in point. One of the tough things for me has always been trying to figure out what made the Old Testament prophets tick—why God had them write such tough words, and if they had any meaning at all for me. So I plodded through Ezekiel and Micah and the other prophets, wondering why I struggled so much understanding them. In fact, at one point I gave up and started avoiding these prophets and their tough messages.

Big mistake. God wants us to know ALL of His Word.

But remembering my chemistry teacher’s words, I dug a little deeper, looking for the buried treasure in these Old Testament books. What did that look like?

  • First, I had to ask myself, “Do you even understand what prophecy means?” That was enlightening.
  • Then I started examining related history and geography. (I checked out some archaeology and looked at maps.)
  • I considered the different cultures represented.
  • I trudged through the boring repetitiveness in some chapters—they don’t all have a smooth “story line”—and eventually realized some texts were poems, conversationssermons or warnings to God’s people.
  • And I also asked if these books were all just “ancient history,” or if God had messages for ME in these books. (Yes, He did, especially concerning sin.)

As I read, studied and “dug in,” I realized I often had the same issues God’s people were judged for: phony religious attitudes, a rebellious heart, idolatry (things I put before the Lord), hard-hearted disobedience, ingratitude, selfishness, etc.

(Here are just a few examples of God’s “issues” with Israel: Exodus 32:2-10; 2 Kings 17:7-8; Nehemiah 9:13-17; Psalm 78:39-42, 59-62; Ezekiel 16:15-59; Hosea 1:1-2; Amos 9:8; Hebrews 3:8-11.)

And I found, God doesn’t take any lack of repentance lightly—theirs or mine.

I also discovered God calls His chosen ones to return to Him, be revived and restored, and enter into His rest (Nehemiah 1:9; Isaiah 55:7; Jeremiah 4:1-2; 15:19-20; 24:7; Hosea 6:1, 14:1; Joel 2:13; Zechariah 1:3)

Part of the treasure I uncovered in comparing scriptures:

Many of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus (with others to be fulfilled in the future Kingdom).

And that is what amazed me and brought me new JOY! As I was digging deeper in the Old Testament, I kept seeing the Lord—I kept seeing Jesus. He is the Redeemer, the great King, the mediator of a better covenant and more.

I would have missed deep treasures if I’d decided studying prophecy was too hard … if I hadn’t started “digging.”  

  • Is there something physical you hate to do? — Would digging into benefits of exercise or better nutrition help?
  • Is there some emotional struggle or mental confusion? — Would digging into the “why” of your feelings and thoughts—with the Word of God in hand—clear some of these things up?
  • Are there any spiritual questions that put you off a bit? — Would digging into some apologetics (in a book or online) give you a better foundation for thinking biblically?

Try to dig a little deeper. Ask the Lord to show you amazing treasures you might not find otherwise.

– *Buried Treasure Humor – Cybersalt 

– Graphic: Pirate, DugganArts, Morguefile

– Dawn

%d bloggers like this: