Saturday, June 1, 2013

Courage and Perseverance

Courage and Perseverance

Perseverance: To pursue, persist, to strive for, not to give up.
Courage: to be strong, alert, courageous, brave, stout, bold, solid, hard
    1a) (Qal) to be strong, brave, bold
    1b) (Piel) to strengthen, secure, harden (heart),
        make firm, make obstinate, assure
    1c) (Hithpael) to be determined, to make oneself alert, strengthen
        oneself, confirm oneself, persist in, prove superior to
Courage is when a person stands up for something they believe is right against a stronger foe. True courage is rarely found, mainly because it comes from God to His people who stand up for truth against Satan and his agents. There have been courageous men in the history of the world in biblical history and American history. Courage can be noble and yet humble.
To have courage is a noble gesture no matter what you stand for, but there is little courage in men who stand for the wrong. The men who stand for wrong are usually under the wrong influence by a great majority of money or people who are all influenced by Satan.
Gods people get their courage from God and stand up for the truths of the bible and hold fast to that which they know is correct. Even in the face of death many men stood for God and Practiced the Commandments to their fullest ability. Steven was the first martyr in the history of the world. All of Christs disciples had courage to stand before death for what was right. All but one died a martyr for our Lord Jesus.
At the beginning of American history, there were many courageous men who stood for freedom of men and religion. Our founding fathers during the Revolution stood against the British government even though it could mean their fate in hanging for treason. However, God Blessed with success and we are a free nation today with freedom of conscience, religion and of men though it is soon to be taken away by present powers of evil.
Courage isn't always bold and boasting, in fact it should never be in such a manner. Men can be courageous and still humble and righteous. God leads His people and gives them strength, courage and guidance. If we are courageous and stand for what we know is right, we will be rewarded in heaven if we stay true to Gods commandments and keep the faith of Jesus.

There were three men going on a journey. The first was named Jesus. The second and third were named John and Samuel, who were two men who desired to follow and work for Jesus. Along their journey, Christ asked the two men to pick up stones and carry with them. John picked up a small rock but Samuel picked up a medium sized rock and thus carried with them. As the journey progressed it came to about midday and the men became hungry. Jesus took the stones that the two men chose and turned each into the sizable portion of bread to the size of the rock the men chose, and gave for them each to eat. Because John's rock was smaller than Samuels, he did not have enough bread to suffice for his hunger and so Samuel broke his bread and shared with John.
After this, the men arose and continued on their journey. Again Jesus asked them to pick up a stone each and carry it. Samuel chose the same sized stone as his first one, and John chose the same size as Samuels. Again they resumed their journey until they had come to a river. Jesus asked them to throw the rocks into the water and so they did. After all the trouble to carry these stones for several hours, why should they throw them away? What was the reason for this?

Lets look at another example: 2Kings 13:14-19
14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.
15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands.
17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the Lord's deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.
18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed.
19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.
The dying prophet bade the king, “Take bow and arrows.” Joash obeyed. Then the prophet said, “Put thine hand upon the bow.” Joash “put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. And he said, Open the window eastward”—toward the cities beyond the Jordan in possession of the Syrians. The king having opened the latticed window, Elisha bade him shoot. As the arrow sped on its way, the prophet was inspired to say, “The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.” {PK 261.3}
And now the prophet tested the faith of the king. Bidding Joash take up the arrows, he said, “Smite upon the ground.” Thrice the king smote the ground, and then he stayed his hand. “Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times,” Elisha exclaimed in dismay; “then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.”2 Kings 13:15-19{PK 262.1}
The lesson is for all in positions of trust. When God opens the way for the accomplishment of a certain work and gives assurance of success, the chosen instrumentality must do all in his power to bring about the promised result. In proportion to the enthusiasm and perseverance with which the work is carried forward will be the success given. God can work miracles for His people only as they act their part with untiring energy. He calls for men of devotion to His work, men of moral courage, with ardent love for souls, and with a zeal that never flags. Such workers will find no task too arduous, no prospect too hopeless; they will labor on, undaunted, until apparent defeat is turned into glorious victory. Not even prison walls nor the martyr’s stake beyond, will cause them to swerve from their purpose of laboring together with God for the upbuilding of His kingdom.

The story with Jesus, the two men and the stones is a lesson in the two types of Christians. They each carryout what our master has asked, but one does it to the least degree he can to get away with, the other does to the fullest extent he can and eagerly, with Courage and perseverance, because of his love for the Master.
John was carrying out without question, willingly his masters wish, but he did so halfheartedly, and nary had enough food to suffice for his lunch. So out of the generosity of his heart, Samuel shared his bread with John. Now when the Master asked again to choose a stone and carry it with them, John chose a larger stone, thinking the same pattern would occur as previously, and Samuel chose the same stone as he had the first time. When they came to the water, Jesus told them to throw the stones in.

How do the actions of these two men pertain to us? What should our reaction be in similar instances? Do we have the courage to pick up a large stone in faith, and the perseverance to carry it with us? Or will we be weak and lazily in doing what our duty is. Even though John did as the master said, He suffered from the consequences. Samuel chose each rock, not knowing the consequences.

This is my prayer for us all, that we would have the courage and perseverance, as well as faith, to carryout complete heartedly, the masters plan.

As it has been said before, Christianity is not a crutch, it is a cross.