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Perserverance & Endurance

DirectionsThe other day, I shared a current frustration with someone. They responded that I should not “claim frustration or stress”. I replied that frustration and stress were facts at that point and time, so it wasn’t a matter of claiming anything. She then commented that if she were in my situation she “would not be stressed because she would just let everything go and give it all to God. What is for me is for me. If I keep coming up against adversity, then it’s a sign to me that that thing or situation is not for me and God has something better in store for me.”

I looked at her with a befuddled squint and said, “If I thought like that, I would never have anything. Absolutely everything I have in life has come with adversity. Each situation has strengthened my character and my faith. I don’t give up until God removes me from a situation.”

Long after she walked away, I continued to think about her “advice” and my rejection of it. Then I looked up my favorite verse on perseverance, Romans 5:1-5:

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Here are some more words of encouragement for others who may feel they are nearing the end of their hope and their rope. People in your circle may give you platitudes (empty words) meant to lift you up, but if those words don’t line up with the Word of God, you will soon fall flat again. No where in God’s Word are we told to give up when we are confronted with opposition. No where. But in all things we are to count the cost of our pursuit to make sure it’s something we can sustain and succeed in.

Be blessed. And know that your blessings won’t always look like the next person’s blessings.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”  ~ Luke 22:31-32

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.  ~ James 1:2-4

“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”  ~ Mark 13:12-13

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  ~ Romans 12:1-2

After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.  ~ Acts 14:21-22

This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:  “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.  ~ Revelation 2:8-10

This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”  ~ Revelation 14:12-13

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,

“My child,don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”  ~ Hebrews 12:1-6

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Seduced by the Enemy, Part 1: Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy

Can one born in sin truly recognize sin?
If all of life is a thought, then what is death?
If faith is an alignment of mind, heart and will, then what is doubt?
If no weapon formed against a believer can harm them, then how can a believer be destroyed?
If nothing can separate a believer from the love of God, then what can possibly turn a believer away from God?
If Jesus Christ died for me, why is it so hard to live completely for Him?

These questions may sound philosophical, but they have very practical answers.


Part 1: Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy

1. to lead astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; corrupt
2. to lead or draw away, as from principles, faith, or allegiance

“Seduction” has a romantic connotation in world culture, however, synonyms for the word “seduce” include decoy, lure, deceive and tempt. None of those words have a romantic ring to them. The word “enemy” can also be misleading, in that it leads one to look outward for danger instead of inward. The spiritual attacks aimed at knocking believers from their walk with God targets the believer’s internal organisms of belief, faith, heart and thoughts. Even though the perpetrator of the attacks is the spirit we know as Satan or the devil or the god of this world, our most dangerous potential enemy is our self. The self that can be seduced into believing something other than the truth. The self that can be beguiled into a change of heart and led astray from their faith. The self that can be deceived into thinking they are less than they are. In a very real sense, a believer can seduce their own self away from God.

We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.   ~ 1 John 5:18-19, 21

If we believe God’s word, nothing Satan/the devil/the evil one attacks us with will harm us. We have only to stand and resist his attacks. Faith is our shield and the Word of God is our sword. The Word of God says that our faith will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:11-17). Above we read in 1 John 5:18 that the evil one cannot touch us. So if the evil one, aka Satan aka the devil cannot breach our faith, how can he harm us?

He can only succeed against us when we are without our faith – when we have set aside our shield.

Does one not become one’s own worst enemy if one is assured of victory, yet chooses to forfeit said victory?

We are our biggest enemy because we have the ability to choose between life and death – every day, every step, every thought. Satan can’t do that for us, he can only camouflage death (choices leading to death) to make them look like life (or rather the type of life we seek in the world).  

It’s important for a believer to know who they are in Christ – saved, delivered, anointed, more than a conqueror, ambassador of Christ, minister of reconciliation, a priest, and a king seated in heavenly places. It is equally important to know who we are when we are not in Christ. When we operate in the flesh (seeking to satisfy our SELF) we are on a slippery slope leading to sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Believers who are susceptible to seduction by the enemy are those who think they can accept Christ, God’s saving grace, and still operate outside of Him, outside of God’s grace. Those who believe they can praise the Lord in the morning and still speak death to their life in the evening. Those who plant a fruitful tree yet starve it at the roots. Their left hand is not aware of the doings of the right. And their thoughts are not expressed by their actions.

I am such a susceptible believer.   

I am the most dangerous and destructive enemy I will ever encounter. I need to know that about myself.

You need to know that about yourself.

There is nothing that comes against you that can do more damage than what comes from within you. So the true battle is getting your SELF under control. Once you are in control of your SELF (or every time you regain control of your SELF), submit your SELF under the authority of Christ. It is through Christ that we have the power to continue to walk according to the Spirit of God and it is through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God that we are convicted and corrected of our errors during our walk.

I thank God for His firm hold on me and His persistent voice within me.    

The Holy Spirit communicates with our spirit, not with our flesh (our SELF, our sinful nature). So don’t be seduced by SELF (by your flesh, your sinful nature) into seeking temporary worldly pleasures over God’s eternal promises.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.    ~ Galatians 5:22-26

 Q:  How many times must I die to self in order to live in Christ?

A:  As many times as it takes to REMAIN in Christ.

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My Greatest Enemy

Rather you want to believe it or not, the Word of God guarantees our struggle here on Earth. There is no promise for an easy life in Gods’ word. He tells us to put our burdens on Him and promises us rest. He assures us He will never leave us nor forsake us, and everything we go through will work to our good. However, He does not promise us a life free of trial, tribulation, struggle and strife.

We’re told the enemy is combing the land in search of people to devour. We’re instructed to resist the devil and in doing so he will flee from us. We are admonished to bring even our thoughts under Christ as our imaginings can be our downfall. Our Heavenly Father sent His Word to fortify us. We’re told we will win the struggle if we persevere, endure, and continue in patience and faith. In fact, we are already victorious.

The enemy is indeed a powerful adversary. Cunning and scheming. His greatest weapon is the power of suggestion. What does he usually suggest? Something really subtle. Your mind takes over from there. When is the enemy successful? When you act on his suggestion and ignore God’s direct instructions.

What image comes to mind when you think of the enemy (aka satan, devil)? What image do you envision when you think of your deadliest combatant? Your most lethal foe?

Here’s an exercise: grab a mirror; take a look. View your greatest enemy. Weapon of choice: doubt. No one can shut you down as completely as you can shut yourself down simply by doubting who you are and what you know to be the true in Christ.


1. To be uncertain about; consider questionable; hesitate to believe

2. To distrust

3. To be undecided in opinion or belief


Doubt is a wicked word. Mostly because it’s so unassuming. It’s a synonym for disbelief. During my study of doubt, I’ve become intrigued by the theory of doubt as the original sin, which then made way for disobedience. The question that led to the fall: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” That’s basically how the enemy operates, misrepresentation and exploitation of our desires.  Temptation itself is not sin, yielding is.

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. ~ James 1:14-15

Though we are victorious conquerors through Christ Jesus, we can forfeit our victory. Doubt can nullify your faith when you take your eyes off of God, remove your focus from His Word and allow your faith to diminish. You  can render yourself ineffective. Doubt can cripple your walk. Entertaining doubt can destroy you. Belief and obedience are basic requirements to prosper in God’s Kingdom. Your thoughts are precursors to your actions. We are admonished to not only be hearers of the Word but to be doers also (James 1:22). If you doubt the Word, what are you going to do? Truly? My guess is… nothing. And right there, by your continued inaction due to your unbelief or uncertainty your victory is lost. Or, at the very least, compromised. We deceive ourselves when we think believing by itself is enough to grow in the Kingdom. God always requires action – obedience to His instructions.

Here’s another exercise: look in the mirror again. View your strongest warrior. Weapon of choice: faith.


1. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1  

2. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. ~ Hebrews 11:3  

3. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. ~ Hebrews 11:6

I will stand before you today and tell you I fear nothing and no one. There’s nothing I can’t do, if I put my mind to it. There’s no obstacle too great. The bigger the challenge, the greater my determination. Two verses eliminated fear from my life.


For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. ~ Colossians 2:9-10


For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

For the past few years I have been learning to walk in my dominion. Wherever my feet tread is space God has provided for me (Joshua 1:3). I belong wherever I am. Whatever He has given me is mine to keep. Whatsoever I desire is mine for asking. I have only to think, speak, and walk in the name of Jesus. Then consider it done. That’s a powerful faith. A faith that has allowed God to move miraculously in my life.

How then does my enemy stand a chance of manipulating me? He gained an opportunity to get me to doubt myself. This strand of self-doubt sounded like: Have I applied God to my own selfish desires? If I was wrong about this pursuit, what else have I been wrong about? How can I trust my judgment in other areas, if I can’t trust my judgment in this (a thought I had been committed to for years). If I can’t trust myself to hear God correctly, then I certainly can’t trust myself to act on His behalf. One doubtful thought slipped in and spawned so many others I became incapacitated. I, through self-doubt, became my greatest enemy, capable of stopping my forward motion.

How did I leave that door open and unguarded?

I made myself vulnerable, which isn’t a sin within itself. However in my vulnerability I sought reassurance from others. So that seed of doubt took root and spouted from neglect, silence, lack of communication, the well-meaning criticism of friends and the not-so-well-meaning venom of others. Suddenly, my thoughts were in full-fledge war. You’re stupid! No, I’m not! You were wrong! How can I be? Remember this? Yes, but I also, remember that. Back and forth the argument went with plenty of evidence supporting both sides.

Somewhere in this struggle, I realized I had looked to people walking in the flesh to support my walk in the spirit. How had my thinking gotten so off?

I had taken my focus off the Word. I was concerned about my situation and sought to console myself with other peoples view point. My defenses were weakened and the enemy wouldn’t be the excellent enemy he is if he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity I provided.

Shield of Faith

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  ~Ephesians 6:10-17

I am equipped to withstand attacks. However, when this last attack of self-doubt came, I wasn’t ready. I had grown weary. Tired, listless, anxious. Lonely. I didn’t think I had put God to the side, but perhaps that’s implied when I began to focus on my shortcomings instead of His amazingly abundant provision. I know a truth I can’t explain even when breaking it into tiny nuggets of understanding. Perhaps my righteousness started to sound too much like unwarranted arrogance. My idea of being ready was chasing the bull down, grabbing the horns and jumping on its back, then rubbing its neck to sooth its agitation. But to do all that, I had to set down my sword and my shield. Where did that leave me?


I was so busy doing that I crossed the line into doing too much. At some point, I had stopped exercising my faith and started laboring in the flesh. God is never glorified or honored when you look to your own hand rather than His for results.

The Word of God says FAITH will extinguish/put out/destroy ALL flaming arrows/attacks from the enemy. (Ephesians 6:16). As long as I am standing firm in my faith, I’m protected. As long as I’ve done all I’ve been told to do; all I know to do, I am free to stand on faith that the outcome will be according to God’s perfect will.

As difficult as doubt can be, it can also be a strengthening agent to your faith and an energizer to your walk – once you overcome it. Keep up the good fight of faith! When you work through the labyrinth of screeching, halting, careening doubts tossing you to and fro in your mind, you re-enter the peace you have in God through our Lord Jesus Christ because of your faith (Romans 5:1). When you work through a difficult case of “doubts” you become more firm than ever in your faith and reliance on God. And that, my people, is why we are guaranteed struggle and should consider it a joyful process. Without struggles we would just be; with them we become… better, greater, more Christ-like.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~ Romans 5:2-5


Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. ~ 1 Peter 5:8-11