When Things Get Tough, Consider Jesus

Good morning. It is Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Do you know where your taxes are?

Today’s Word of the Day is adultescent. No, I am not making that up. It means, “An adult who has retained the interests, behaviour, or lifestyle of adolescence.” I’m sure most of us can think of some great examples. I might be one, myself.

Today is Bookmobile Day. I sure wish we had one of those around here! That would be awesome!

Stephanie and I went up to the hospital last night. Christi is suffering from a sore throat, and didn’t want to expose my mom and dad to it. There’s not much to say, as things seem to be mostly the same. Dad was pretty tired, and slept most of the time we were there. He did say that they had put a Tylenol drip in his IV, to help with the headache he had been having. Mom also said that they had put some kind of liquid nutrition in the IV, as well, as he continues having trouble swallowing. They had planned on releasing him, yesterday, but the swallowing issues caused them to keep him at least 24 more hours. The plan, upon release, is to take him to the rehab center in Mineral Wells, close to the hospital out there.

Christi will be working from home, today, as her throat is still hurting pretty bad. We also have a dryer repair man coming between noon and 3PM, because our dryer quit spinning last Saturday or Sunday. She was already planning to be at home around noon. She doesn’t think she has fever. It was low, last night, 99.5. She tried to go to a Minute Clinic, but they stopped taking patients at 6:30, even though their website says they don’t stop until 15 minutes before they close, which is 7:30.

The Red Sox and Rangers both won their games, last night. The Sox squeaked by the Nationals, 8-7, while the Rangers dominated the Angels 8-2. It seems that Nick Martinez (Rangers pitcher) may be the “real deal,” having gone 12 consecutive scoreless innings before finally giving one up in the 7th, last night. The Sox are in first place, while the Rangers are a game behind the hated Athletics.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Psalm 32:3-11

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus, the Epitome of Perseverance.”

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Hebrews 12:3

I’ll be honest with you. This is not exactly the reading I want to see, this morning. The word perseverance is frightening. It is frightening because it conjures up images of suffering. No one ever has to “persevere” through awesome, successful times. But there are inspirational stories, galore, about great people who have persevered through hard times, struggles, and disabilities. Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Lindbergh, Temple Grandin . . . the list goes on and on.

Jesus could fit into this group, as well. The Gospels are full of stories of how he kept going “in the face of opposition and misunderstanding.” He fasted for 40 days, after which Satan tempted him. He endured physical hardships and attempted spiritual manipulations.

He never quit preaching and teaching the Gospel, even though the “miracle-hungry crowd turned away from his discipleship demands.” He navigated through the clever traps of his enemies. He endured the taunts of demons. Even his followers had pathetic knowledge of Scripture and the love and power of God.

He persevered when his cousin, John the Baptist, was beheaded. When his family tried to get him to stop the madness of what he was doing, he forged ahead, refusing to give up. Even when his own home town people tried to kill him, he kept going. He was accused of being a drunkard, of being a friend of “sinners,” and even being in cahoots with Satan.

And he persevered, in spite of knowing that the cross loomed in front of him.

So, the writer of Hebrews encourages us, when things get tough, we need to stop and look at Jesus, and what he endured. “You haven’t suffered anything like that, so keep going. Don’t quit. Don’t give up on your faith. Don’t complain. Hang on. Persevere. Endure. Be steadfast. Pray that God will direct your heart to his love and Christ’s perseverance.”

Father, lift me up to this level of perseverance. I don’t like that word. I don’t like the images it conjures. Especially right now. But I realize the truth that, just as Jesus persevered, so must I. So must we all. We have not come close to suffering as Jesus did, at least not in this country. There may be a time when we do. I hope and pray that, should that time come, I will persevere and endure whatever comes in the name of Christ. But for now, I must simply persevere through the hardships of this life. My mother needs me to be strong, and to be there for her and my dad, for however long this trial lasts. And I am willing. I praise you that you have given me that kind of heart.

I pray for this day. May you bring healing to Christi, this morning, that her throat would feel better, and that she would continue to not suffer with fever. I pray for Stephanie, that you would show your great love to her and help her understand. I pray for healing and recovery for my dad, and strength for my mother. Keep Rachel and Justin safe, and give them whatever they need for this day. Draw them to your love.

I lift up our brother Brandon, who is having surgery to have a stent removed this morning. I also pray for Kevin and Jacque, as they will receive biopsy results today. Bring peace to Kevin, as he is barely able to function due to anxiety over this. May the results be favorable, Father.

Your grace is sufficient.

I didn’t want to hear this today. But there it is, and hear it, I do. God is faithful. I will persevere.

Perseverance

Grace and peace, friends.

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