Tag Archives: persevere

Perseverance

20 Jun

Writing today’s blog reminds me of a cartoon series I read daily decades ago. The strip told the life of two characters who, like hobo clowns, let life carry them wherever it willed. Sometimes the humor rested in the foolish decisions they made, such as the time they explained the overtime they billed the customer. Their reason made perfect sense to them. They had painted themselves into a corner and had waited for the floor to dry.

The cartoonist sometimes put them as characters in different historical events. One of my favorites had them in ancient garb standing next to a wall. One said he was going to sit this round in the shade against this wall. After all, they had already marched around it six times. The setting is, of course, Jericho just before the Israelites completed their seventh circuit and the wall tumbled down.

I have sat at my computer a number of times to compose a thought intended to be an encouragement, but have been against my own wall. Life’s interruptions, stresses, and lures kept me frustrated and empty. Often I have made the same decision as my cartoon friend. I decided my effort was pointless and turned aside to some other activity.

I doubt any of the Israelites dropped out of line to sit against the wall, but I bet many wondered why seven times. Why not three or five? I wonder how many questioned what Joshua expected to happen. You must agree it was a strange way to conduct a battle. But perseverance in obedience gave them the victory and all questions vanished.

The battle of Jericho reminds me of another event when the number seven was important and didn’t make sense until the seventh time. In 2 Kings 5 we read the story of Naaman, the commander of Aram’s army. He was held in high esteem, but he fell prey to leprosy. When the prophet Elisha told him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan river, he went away from the prophet with his thoughts boiling. Indignant that the prophet did not respect him enough to speak to him directly, but sent a messenger out from his house. Disgusted that he was told to wash in the dirty Jordan when they had cleaner rivers in Aram. And why wash seven times.

His servants pressed the issue and persuaded him to obey the prophet. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to try. He turned again to the Jordan, the account continues, and dipped himself seven times. On the seventh time, he came out of the water with skin restored, fresh and clean like a boy. I imagine Naaman looked at his arms after each dip and saw no change. Did he almost give up and not do the seventh time?


Sometimes God gives immediate answers. Sometimes he tests the strength of our faith. Don’t give up if you are in a period of testing. In his time God will give the deliverance. The blank page in your heart will be filled with his word for you.

Latest devotional published

3 Aug

Do you remember that song about those “lazy, hazy days of summer”? You do know those days are not limited to just suDSC_0128mmer, don’t you? They even creep into our Christian lives. I have a thought or two on those–the first being how much we desire them and how easily they slip in. As enjoyable as they may seem, beware of the hazards.

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Consider the flowers of the field

24 Jun

I love the fact that Jesus really does know what we face on a day-to-day basis. He knows our tendency to worry about everything–especially those things that might affect how others perceive us. But He told us not to worry even over what we wear because Solomon in all his glory was never clothed as gloriously as the flowers of the field. Here are some picturDSC_0129adjust72es I took yesterday. I hope we all can be encouraged by their glory.DSC_0126crop72DSC_0132crop72DSC_0127crop72DSC_0123crop72

When Do I Stop Trying, Let Go and Let God?

19 Sep

A saying we nearly immortalized by having it made into a wall plaque says, “Do all the things you can do and when you are done, God will do all those impossible things you cannot do.” It is a more clever way of saying “God helps those who help themselves.” These are often mistaken as scriptural quotes, but neither quote can be found in the Bible. They’re not there.

Elements of them are in the scripture, and I would say that the former is more accurate than the latter. My objection to the God helps those quote is that it has the effect of putting all responsibility on mankind, reducing God to some ethereal referee. The former quote recognizes our responsibilities: to be faithful, to endure to the end, to work while the day is still with us; but at the same time affirms we will face situations that are impossible with man, but all things are possible with God.

At the beginning of our marriage God arranged circumstances to squeeze us into making a long-distance move in a car that caused me daily anxiety over it making across town. We packed it with all of our personal belongings we would need upon arrival at our destination. We hired a moving company to pack and store the rest until we could send for it. Before getting in the car to start our journey, I placed my hands on the hood and prayed. I stated my faith that God is the God of the impossible, but in my heart I still wondered if that included all the mechanical engineering and mechanical functions that were failing in my car. On the trip with it loaded to the maximum, that car could not have run any smoother or stronger. For those hours covered in my prayer, the impossible happened. After we arrived, it resumed its problematic tendencies, and in a short time we traded it in for something more reliable.

He is the God of the impossible, but he does not want to be a casual observer until called upon. I believe one reason he allows difficulties arise before us is to remind us he is near. Be as joyful and thankful for his fellowship every day as you are for his interventions in your impossible situations. Enjoy him. You will find He will help even when you don’t think you need it. Because of that, you will have more confidence to believe him for the impossible.

Life from a new perspective

4 Jun

Do you ever have those times when you ask the Lord to fill your cup, fill it to overflowing and running over–and He fills your plate instead? Those can be tough times. We know. We are coming to the end of one of those, or at least we think the end is in sight.

We’ve had our times of moaning and, in all honesty, complaining about the pressures and the heaviness we have felt through this time. We would not have called it complaining, but in simple terms, that’s what it was. But in the scattered moments of quiet times my wife and I tried to understand what we were to gain from our experience. We found quiet places when we could get out of the house and take a walk. We talk about things as we walk that we can’t talk about with everyone around us. In that way we sort out our thoughts.

On one walk we agreed that the Lord was teaching us at the beginning of these last three years that He is our provider and that He really can do more than we can ask or think. In the last four months He has been teaching us to serve as our plate went from full to running over.

I shared with my wife that I awoke one morning confessing that it is hard to focus on the needs of others and serve them when our basic needs demand attention. That’s when God’s economic plan made sense: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you,” Matthew 6:33. And Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Most people work with the paradigm that they will do for others after all their own needs are met–after all, charity begins at home. They will have time for others when all their work is done. That is man’s way; God’s way is to begin with serving others. That is what living in the kingdom of God is about.

Lose yourself

24 Sep

Do you remember that saying “Pinch an inch”? When was it popular? In the 70’s? 80’s? It was part of a health and fitness awareness program. It went something like this: Take hold of your waistline with one hand. If you can pinch an inch, then you have excess weight you need to lose.

Well, I am happy to say that I can now pinch an inch. Yes, happy. That’s because I have been able to pinch 4, 5 or more inches! So I am thrilled!

I am not claiming bragging rights. I am not writing to boast and wave my achievements in your face. Actually, this is more about all my failures. Any diet that was not too far out and could adequately convince us that we could logically see that it would work for us got tried in the Huff household. We tried shakes and pills (even the proverbial silver bullet types), strict diet menus, cutting out carbs, focusing on protein, and anything else that seemed to make sense, but all with the same results–weight loss followed by weight gain. If we charted our accomplishments, the chart would resemble those of Dow and Nasdaq complete with each growth rebound exceeding the earlier one.

It was tempting to just give up, to just say that I’m fat. That is just me so accept it and get on with other matters. But I wasn’t happy with that. Recently I ran across another plan. As I read about the basic principles of it, I got excited that it might just be the one. I bought the book. My understanding deepened and I got more excited. We bought the book for the wife and the recipe book, too, and set a date to begin.

The plan is great, but I believe the success for us lies on three points:
1) My wife made me read the book and tell her about it. In the past I totally relied on her. If she was not there to fix the food or at least guide my choices, I cheated. This time I got the understanding.
2) There are no unusual ingredients for recipes.
3) We changed our eating habits not our buying habits. We are totally comfortable with the foods so it was not forcing us to recreate ourselves.

My point is not to sell a product. (If you must know and you contact me privately, I’ll tell you.) My point is to not give up if weight loss is your desire. We know many people who had great success with each of our failures. But we could not maintain. We found one that is working for us; it might not be as successful for you. Don’t give up; find what works for you and make yourself happy.

Now I am looking forward to the day in the not too distant future when I will not be able to pinch an inch. I hope my positive prediction comes to pass…I don’t want to have to eat my words.

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