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Endurance in Our Present Times!

Endurance in Our Present Times!

“And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:4-13).


We all talk about the “Signs of the Times” Jesus warned us about but what does He say that we must do during those times?


One of the main things Jesus commanded us to do is to “Endure to the very end!”


Power Versus Endurance!

The promise of Jesus to every believer is that God will endue them with power: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).


What good is power when it does not last long? There is a danger as we are filled with power that we may also be emptied of our power if we do not sustain it. Endurance is sustaining the power of God from within. Endurance is continuing constantly to keep what God has empowered us. Many (even the servants of God) started right with the power endured upon them but lost it in the long run as they failed to endure in the personality and the principles of God.


We need to look no further in the Scriptures than looking at King Saul who was once anointed and even prophesied (to be considered as one of the prophets?) and crowned King of Israel. But God rejected him for the reason Prophet Samuel outlined to him: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (divination), and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king” (I Samuel 15:22-23).


Samson, a powerful Judge of Israel for 20 years lost his anointing as he squandered it with his weakness until God graciously restored him one last time: “Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, ‘O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!’ Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So, the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life” (Judges 16:28-30).


Endurance is Sustained Power to the Very End!

Endurance is Continuous and Constant Obedience to the End!

Endurance is Continuous and Constant Closeness with God to the End!

Endurance is Not Losing the Foundation in God No Matter the Testing, Trial, and Calamities!

Endurance is Putting God First and Foremost Ahead of our Office, Anointing, Power, and Position!

Endurance is Faithfulness to the Very End!


Even in athletic training, there is a difference between power training and endurance training. Power training demands that we lift heavy weights for shorter reps whereas endurance training demands that we lift lighter weights for longer reps. Those athletes that subject themselves to endurance training last longer in a game without getting fatigued or tired, should the game be extended to overtime. Champions train hard with power training as well as endurance training.


God has called us His champions to endure and endure to the very end. Let us look at the Scriptures that help us with endurance.


Endurance Comes with a Strong Foundation of God’s Word!

“But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).


Jesus shares with us the parable of a sower sowing the seeds: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop (fruit). But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred” (Mark 4:3-8).  Jesus explains the seeds falling on the stony ground: “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble” (Mark 4:16-17).


Our heart is the soil/ground for the Word (Seed) of God to reproduce itself thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold. When the heart is not prepared to receive the Word and keep it, our heart is as hard as a stone that will not endure during tribulation and persecution. Even today, those who have rejected the truth from God’s Word that “All God’s children will suffer persecution” and take only a portion of the truth that please themselves are in for a hard ride in times that are coming upon us. Prepare your hearts and build a strong foundation of God’s Word that will stand the test of times of trials and tribulations!


Endurance with Sufferings!

Apostle Paul assures us that sufferings and comfort go hand in hand for all the believers, including God’s servants that are chosen for His service: “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation (comfort) also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation” (II Corinthians 1:5-7).


God is a God of all comfort who comforts us in all our tribulations and sufferings. Apostle Paul assures that he was personally afflicted for the consolations of the saints.  Every servant of God must be open to acknowledging their afflictions and sufferings before their congregations so that the believers will know that even the leaders are not excluded from their sufferings and pain. I have heard a notable servant of God say one time: “Please know that we are as human as you all are. When we get beaten, we get the same bumps and bruises; when we bleed, our blood is red; when we are sick, we depend on God’s healing, just as you do. When we get stabbed, we bleed and the scars from those wounds stay around for a long time!”

God does not abandon us in our sufferings but walks with us and brings us out. Apostle Paul states in II Corinthians 12: “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet (beat) me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (II Corinthians 12:7-10). Paul who visited Paradise had a thorn in his flesh that would not go away but received the strength and the power provided by Christ in his weakness!


Patience and Faith Carry You in Times of Your Tribulations!

Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in the Church of Thessalonica:  “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations (afflictions) that you endure, which is manifest (plain) evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer” (II Thessalonians 1:3-5).


Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God! I have traveled to a few nations and met with a few thousand believers who are walking with God. Many are their stories have one thing in common – Persecution and Tribulations! Their stories also include God’s miraculous intervention in all their suffering and pain.


I recall meeting with a host of “secret believers in Christ” in my home after a powerful service in a local Anglican Church in South India.  Those believers did not want to show themselves openly attending the church services but met me in private. All of them were ladies, some of whom were extraordinarily rich and married to wealthy businesspeople. Many of them told me that Jesus appeared to them in a vision, and they had given their hearts to Jesus!


One of the ladies’ testimonies brought me to tears! She was married to a very wealthy man who despised her going to church as a believer. He followed her once to the church where she attended with a sharp machete in his hand. As soon as she came out of the church, he approached her from behind and cut her neck (so he thought) with the machete. The woman fell under the impact of the blow. The man voluntarily surrendered to the local police authorities. This was his confession: “I could not stand my wife becoming a follower of Jesus. I hated her so much that followed her to the church and killed her with my machete. You can arrest me!”  Suddenly, the authorities and the man himself were shocked to see the man’s wife following him into the police station. She told her husband: “You wanted to kill me with a machete. Every time the machete fell on me, my God turned it 180 degrees so that the blunt side of the machete (and not the sharp side) fell on me. My God is gracious, merciful, and forgiving, and I forgive you. Officers, please do not change my husband with murder because I am alive!”


The story did not end there. The husband was so shocked at the power and the protection of Jesus upon his wife that he decided to not live with her anymore but threw her out of his home with her five children. The woman believer was left alone without any monetary benefits and with five children. She immediately made a vow to Jesus: “Jesus, You are my Husband, my Father, my Mother, and everything to me.  Please take care of my children as I faithfully follow You in my tribulation and suffering. I will be faithful to You all the days of my life!”


Before I laid my hand and prayed over her, I was intrigued to ask her what happened to her children. She was casual in her reply: “One had become a doctor, another one a judge, another one a Member of Parliament, and the other two are leaders in the communities!”  Jesus took particularly diligent care of her and her children. My heart was broken, and I was filled with tears when I said to the woman: “My Sister, it is you who needs to pray over me and not me over you. Your walk with God is remarkable!” Without hesitation, she replied: “You are God’s chosen vessel. You are God’s servant. I honor you and beg you for your prayers and blessing over me.” I prayed with her, and her story stays with me forever and I can recall other comparable stories of believers withstanding persecutions and sufferings by the grace of God!  


Endure Hardness as A Good Soldier in the Ministry!

Apostle Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy: “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure (share) hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:1-2). Later, Paul wrote: “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (II Timothy 4:5).


A good soldier does not graduate without hard training; a great farmer does not achieve the desired results without enduring hardship and patience; a champion athlete does not win trophies without hard training and mastering his/her deficits. And so is a servant of God called to the most privileged calling to experience God’s presence and share God with others. Paul himself outlines his sufferings: “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches” (II Corinthians 11:24-28).


I cannot list the shortcomings/sufferings and attacks of the enemy in all my travels to the nations in my ministry, but I can assure you of one thing – My God has been with me in all of those afflictions, trials, testing, and attacks.  We stand strong in the Lord and the power of His might because He who has called us is faithful, and He has done it!


Warning – This Present Generation Will Not Endure the Truth in God’s Word!

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (II Timothy 4:3-4).


Many have left church today for not being able to understand sound doctrine. I have witnessed people leaving godly fellowship circles when they were warned of the things that were taking them away from the foundation of God’s Word. One believer left the church and their excuse: “My pastor warned me of anger that is plaguing our marriage. He asked me to repent and be careful to not give into the enemy’s tactics to ruin their marriage.”  Their excuse for walking out: “I don’t need this teaching on repentance.  I have grace that covers all. I will not listen to these kinds of seductive teachings anymore.” A few years later, the husband had an affair, and the family was different from what they were before once, loving God and walking with God.


I do not ever talk about teachers and preachers but there are a lot of teachings that are not rooted in the cross of Christ and redemption through the blood of Christ. Such teachings may sound good but will not help you endure when you face tough times in your walk with God.


Jesus is Our Example of Endurance!

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author (Originator) and finisher (Perfector) of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2).


“Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross!”

“Jesus despised the shame and did not mind it!”

“Jesus has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God!”


Not only did Jesus carry the cross, but He also asked us to pick up our cross and follow Him. Every believer has a cross to bear, and we must bear it for the joy set before us and finish our race with victory. I can hear the shout of victory of Apostle Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (II Timothy 4:7-8). Let us finish strong in the Lord!


Prayer

“Heavenly Father, I love You, adore You, and bow down before You. Thank You, Father, for the solid foundation of God’s Word in my life. Through You, and by Your Grace, I will live and endure until I will stand before You in heaven to experience my eternal joy and rest in You. In the Most Precious and Wonderful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen! Amen!!”

__________________________________________________________________________________________

John Jeyaseelan


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