Sunday, September 30, 2007

Giving Up

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

Sir Winston Churchill, the great English statesman of World War 2 era, went by the nickname of "Old Winnie". I am not sure what that was all about, but I do that despite the very stupid sounding nickname, at least to American ears, a man of fortitude lived behind that name. Churchill was called to America to give a speech to a college graduating class and this is the text of the entire message he gave, "Never, never, never give up!"

What words of hope that is for us as we live out our Christian walk. When hard times come our way, stand firm. When the world around us is falling down, stand resolute. When people are chiding us for our faith, stand tall! We must never give up.

Look at it this way, in the Bible three rewards are promised to those who are willing to be sacrificial and serve the kingdom. The first reward is to be in the presence of Jesus. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). For some people, that may not be their hope and dream, but for the Christian, it is. The second reward is the inheritance of the kingdom prepared since the beginning of time. (See Matthew 24:34) What God has wanted to give His children since the beginning of time, a great Kingdom, beyond description is what we receive. The third reward is seen in the closing chapters of Revelation (see chapters 21 & 22). That is, a place where there is no suffering and heartache because it will all be gone.

So, when it seems like the sacrifice is too much or you can't hold on any longer, remember what Old Winnie said, "Never, never, never give up!" In the words of an old gospel song, we are too close to the crown to give up the cross!

Father, thank you for the hope of today and tomorrow and memories of the past. May we learn from each of them to stand firm when we are tempted to fail. You have given us Christ and for that we shall be eternally grateful! In Jesus name, Amen!

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