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Posts Tagged ‘persevere’

Hannah’s Fight

January 31st, 2011

1 Samuel 1:1-20

  • This time we are looking at Hannah herself – we can learn so much from her as a mighty pray-er.
  • In her pain she prays – but she goes further than just a plea for help, which even atheists might do.
  • Barrenness – a symbol in the Bible of national failure and fruitlessness, when God’s people turn away from Him, replacing Him with other gods. All of humanity has done this and in return we reap corruption, pain and suffering in this world.
  • God speaks through this picture of a barren woman. God doesn’t want us to be fruitless.
  • When we get to that point of desperation of barrenness, that’s where God can work. He loves using impossible situations and loves being strong in our weakness. He wants us to turn to Him.
  • God was the one who closed Hannah’s womb – seems final – but He is open to changing the situation. God is sovereign over all and yet people in the Bible have wrestled with God and pushed through and succeeded – e.g. Jacob, Moses, etc.
  • God is not offended by us arguing with Him – rather He listens and seems to like relating to us in this way.
  • Hannah has every reason to just be depressed and give up, but she believed that she could also be a hero in prayer like the great and mighty figures of the past, despite being just an ordinary woman.
  • Instead of being inspired by the great pray-ers, we can sometimes be discouraged. Do what Hannah did – press through to God anyway; come with all your passion and emotion and longings.
  • God wants us to wrestle with Him – still with reverence and submission, but wrestling nonetheless.
  • Mark 7:25-30 – Jesus says what he says to the Gentile woman in order that she might persevere and to see what kind of fight she had; she did indeed argue with Him and succeeded. Oftentimes we get offended by God, but we need to just press through.
  • God wants us to be stubborn in prayer – all Christians are invited to this!
  • It’s so easy to fall into self-pity, but we are to never give up.
  • Sometimes God purposefully makes it hard for us to see what kind of fight we put up.
  • Jesus told us to pray and no give up.
  • We don’t pray to be religious or spiritual.
  • Be careful when looking at Hannah’s example – in order to persevere through all her suffering she must have been filled with the same Spirit as the Great Pray-er, Jesus Christ.
  • Hannah points us to Jesus. She got what she asked for eventually, but when Jesus asked the Father to take away the cross, He didn’t get His request answered (Matt. 26:36-36). He prevailed when no-one else stood by Him.
  • Jesus is our sympathetic High Priest. Because of His unanswered prayer when He asked for the cross to be removed, we are now able to confidently draw near to God’s throne of grace (Heb.4:14-16).

Running the Race – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

April 20th, 2010

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Paul here is warning against apathy, against the danger of assuming that once you become a Christian, it doesn’t matter how you live your life. He wants to show us what could be lost out on and uses the image of a race to do so. It is not an apathetic image but rather a one of a passionate exhortation to work, labour, etc.

1. Training

  • It is all-consuming preparation – full time, constant, habitual
  • The athletes who want to win think differently to other people
  • It requires discipline – to train when you don’t feel like it or aren’t in the mood
  • We have to train as Christians – same application for getting the most out of our relationship with God, to do great things for God with our life: we have to press through and persevere
  • We also encourage one another to press on
  • We are always fighting against the temptation to give up and throw in the towel, because following God’s will is never easy. But there is more we are capable of than we realise, we are able to handle more than we realise – because of the grace and power of God
  • Training requires focus – you have to turn your focus away from other things
  • The PRIZE:
  • Many people think this is heaven, to obtain eternal life, but Paul already knew he was going to heaven because of his faith in Christ and the fact that God had saved him. Eternal life is a gift to be received not a prize to be won.
  • The prize is the reward of a life lived with God. Not every Christian will receive the full reward of their life – some people will be saved ‘as one through fire’ – with nothing to show for their life, nothing achieved for God.
  • God saved us for good works – we have a unique plan for our life.

2. Seeing

  • We all pursue different prizes in life – but all apart from the reward of doing God’s will are perishable, they do not last
  • We need to SEE the imperishable prize before us – we need to see the end goal
  • Paul saw that goal and was obedient to the vision
  • We have to see the end, have to have it in sight to keep going
  • Don’t be so short-sighted – see something better than this passing age
  • JESUS is the only reason we get to take part in the race in the first place. He has gone ahead and run the race for us, and now we get to run our own race with His help and power.