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Grace to Persevere

This year are you needing God to intervene for you in a particular situation? Have you been praying hard and waiting anxiously?  Are you struggling to fight the doubt that creeps up when God seems to be delayed in His response to your need? I think we’ve all been in this place in certain seasons of life.

This week I was reading in Matthew Ch 10:37-39 where Jesus is telling His disciples that they must love Him more then anyone in this world (even the closest of family) and take up their cross to follow Him. Those are extremely challenging words since the cross was such a severe and revolting punishment. Immediately after this teaching, the disciples tell Jesus that John the Baptist has sent a message from prison.
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Earlier in Matthew we are told that Jesus is aware of John’s imprisonment (Matt 4:12) In prison John sends a message to Jesus asking if He is truly the Messiah or if he should keep looking?  John had dedicated His life to the cause of announcing His coming and apparently was looking for some verification. Perhaps John began to doubt and question as he waited from his prison cell– wondering why Jesus had seemingly neglected him in such a time of need. Undoubtedly, Jesus could have very easily came to him in person, done a miracle, rescued him, sent an angel– showed off big. Instead, he simply sent the disciples back telling of the miracles that they hear and see  (as eyewitnesses) and offering these words of encouragement “God blesses those who do not turn away because of me.” (NLT)
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Jesus can always rescue us from our circumstances, but sometimes (often) he chooses to give us the grace to persevere instead. Over and over again the Bible tells us that those who persevere under trial will be blessed. (James 1:2, 1 Peter 3:14)   Jesus didn’t send a miracle to John, He sent His WORDS to encourage and strengthen Him instead. He promised him a blessing, a greater reward for staying in the faith.  Friends, the Bible is God’s word to us as followers– structured to encourage, strengthen and grow our faith, especially during difficulties.
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While it is true that God is completely capable of changing hearts, healing diseases, granting opportunities and provision, sometimes– God’s answer for us doesn’t mean immediate relief. God’s remedy for weary hearted believers is His word. Christians often feel God is silent to their requests simply because they don’t take the time daily to allow God to speak to their heart. This year, if you find yourself struggling with the wait through trials and times of need, please know that the word of God is a valuable source of fortifying strength. And the most awesome part is– you can “hear” as much as you are willing to listen to.
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