ENDURING TO THE END

One morning, I was reading Psalm 100:5 in the ESV Bible translation. The verse includes the phrase: “His steadfast love endures forever.” His love is steadfast. That means it is firmly fixed in place and not subject to change. God will love you forever, no matter what. Nothing can change that.

The word endures was the word that grabbed my attention. Perhaps because we have all been enduring so much this year. I looked at other verses using the word. It excited me to discover it used sixty-six times in the ESV translation along with the word forever. I looked up some of those verses and saw that, not only does God’s love endure forever, but whatever God does endures forever. (Ecclesiastes 3:14)

Out of your own curiosity, look up some of these verses yourself.

  • Psalm 100:5
  • Psalm 111:3
  • Psalm 111:10
  • Psalm 117:2
  • Psalm 119:160
  • Psalm 135:13
  • Ecclesiastes 3:14
  • Lamentations 5:19
  • Daniel 4:3

All of these things endure forever as it relates to God in the Old Testament. Then, in the New Testament, the focus shifts to Jesus and what endures forever for humanity. Matthew 10:22 tells how endurance applies to you. “The one who endures to the end will be saved.”

The word saved in this verse means, in part, delivered, healed, and preserved. We are delivered from evil, healed from sin and preserved for eternity. The one who endures to the end will be preserved forever in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Can I get an Amen!

Endurance is about eternal life. It is running the race of life without giving up, no matter how difficult the circumstances. It is the ability to walk through every hardship, rather than trying to side-step the difficulty. Our labor for God is simple. Believe in Jesus. Trust Him through every situation.

Hebrews 12:3 tells us to think about what Jesus endured so we do not become weary of the struggles we go through. The endurance of Jesus is our example for withstanding hardship and adversity. If we fix our eyes on Him, we can endure. The way we endure any hardship should be done with an attitude toward God’s eternal purpose. It is part of being an ambassador for Christ.

One day we will live in His presence, having endured to the end. We cannot give up. We must not give in. Keep on trusting that God has an eternal purpose in mind for you. Everything He does endures forever.

(This is an excerpt from the Bible Study Living Your Glory Story by Donna Skell and Virginia Grounds available on Amazon and also on my author page.)

Hanging by a Thread

When I hear the term, hanging by a thread, I think of a button hanging from a garment where the threads have broken leaving a single thread to hold it. When that happens, we must reinforce the button with additional thread to draw it back securely into close contact with the garment.

Have you ever felt like you were hanging by a thread and one more tug on your life would send you spiraling into a pit? I know I have. But I also know that God holds us in the palm of His hand and will never let us go. When we feel we are hanging by a single strand of faith, that is the time to rest in Him. That is the time to trust in His promise to never leave us or forsake us.

It is the LORD who goes before you.

He will be with you;

He will not leave you or forsake you.

Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

Reinforcing a button requires weaving the thread through it many times to strengthen the attachment. What does it take to reinforce your faith? How do you draw closer to God? Just as it is in any relationship, you must spend time together not only talking, but listening. Listen to the word of God. Allow His word to weave through your heart and mind repeatedly. As you listen and draw close to God, it strengthens your faith. Don’t allow distractions to break threads of closeness to the point you are barely hanging on to the relationship. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,

That we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)

If you feel you are hanging by a thread, I would love to pray for you. Send your request to vgrounds@majesticinspirations.com or private message me. We all need the prayers of one another. Hang in there, dear friend. This too shall pass.

 

NEWS OF REBUILDING

Keeping a spiritual journal is such an important tool for reminding us what God has done for us in the past. I have been writing in journals for many years and every so often I will come across one and read through it. Last week I posted a poem I found in one of my journals. Yesterday, as I was looking for a notebook for my husband to write in, I found another of my journals. The following is a poem I wrote on September 13, 2012 as I was working through a Bible Study on Nehemiah.

 

NEHEMIAH NEWS

The gates of the city were burned

the walls broken down.

People were resigned and discouraged

as danger lurked  around.

Then God placed a vision

in the heart of one man

to rebuild that which was broken

to restore God’s master plan.

By night, he travelled the walls

to see the damage done.

By day he called together the people

to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

The enemy didn’t like it

when the people began to rebuild.

But they did not stop their work,

they did not fear or yield.

“The God of Heaven will give us success”,

their faith and trust pushed them on.

They began with the gates, then on to the walls

until at last, their work was done.

With God all things are possible

even when obstacles come our way

because God has a plan for every task

He places in our hearts today.

Yes, we can all be builders

of that which is broken down.

As we trust God for overcoming power

when the enemy comes around.

The God of Heaven will fill our hearts

with that which is right and true.

He gives strength and courage

For every task He has called us to.

 – Virginia – 9/13/12

 

Lord of All Creation

 

As I was looking back through my journal this morning, I found this poem I wrote on January 3rd of this year without knowing what the year would bring, personally and nationally. Today I find it very appropriate as a prayer for those who do not yet know the Lord of all creation that they would seek Him. His name is Jesus.

LORD OF ALL CREATION

Lord of all creation

humbly I bow at your feet

seeking your hand of mercy

to touch and give me strength.

To the weak and the weary

Your grace you have shown

to fill our hearts with hope

as we await our heavenly home.

Thank you for mercy and grace

in the sacrifice you made

that we could experience your presence

and from your free gift, be saved.

And now, O Lord, I ponder

how it can be so

that we receive such great love

and out of your wisdom, we can know…

The Loving Savior, Jesus!

“And it shall come to pass

that whoever calls on the name of the LORD

shall be saved.”

Acts 2:21 (NKJV)

FAN THE FLAME

The firepit sat in the garage for a while after our daughter gave it to my husband for Christmas. In the Spring, he brought it to the patio and has been building a fire in it every night. He sits around the firepit, watching the flames until they diminish, and the wood turns to ash. The next night, he will go out and rekindle the flame and repeat the process. It is now Summer now with temperatures in the 90s. I asked why he was doing this and he replied, “It gives me time to think and meditate.”

As I see him head out to the patio each evening, I am reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy.Fan into flame the gift of God”. For me, fanning the flame comes in the early morning as I pray and read God’s Word. For my husband, fanning the flame comes in the evenings as he spends time in quiet contemplation of God.

Fan into flame the gift of God which is in you is a statement for us all to consider as believers. God has gifted each one of us in different ways but one purpose. God gifted us to glorify Him and serve as a witness for Jesus Christ that others may come to know Him too. Just like a fire, our passion for serving can burn until there is no kindling left if we do not fan it every day. I don’t know about you, but studying God’s word lights a spark in me each time I study. It is my passion. When the flame is burning, I know I am serving in His will.

What about you? What is your passion? How are you fanning the flame to know and serve the Lord according to the gifts He has given you?

God gifted Timothy to preach, but he was apparently fearful. Paul told him, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”. (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV) It is by the power of the Holy Spirit you are equipped to serve out your passion from the area of giftedness God has given. Because of this power, you need not fear or be intimidated to move forward by faith in what God has called you to do.

Fan the flame to keep the fire burning through prayer and Bible reading every day.

For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God,

which is in you through the laying on of my hands…

2 Timothy 1:6 (ESV)

A Straight Plumb Line

Back in the days when wallpaper was popular, I determined to learn how to hang it. My first attempt was not good. Some strips overlapped. I could not figure out how the panel would line up perfectly to the one next to it at the start, but by the end it would be overlapping. Then someone told me about a plumb line, and it changed everything. A plumb line is a string attached to a weight at the end that hangs vertically in a straight line. I would cover the string with blue chalk, pin the top of the string at the starting point, and drop the line. The line would bounce all over the place until it finally became still. Once the line became still, I would hold the bottom and pop the string so the chalk would make a perfectly straight line down the wall. From that point on, I had wallpaper panels butted up against one another instead of overlapping because I followed the straight line as my starting point.

This week I read about God’s plumb line for His people in Amos 7:7-8. God stood at a wall with a plumb line in His hand and asked Amos what he saw. His answer was obvious. “A plumb line”. When God used a plumb line, He was not talking about wallpaper. He used it against a wall to prove that the wall was not straight. If the walls of a structure are not straight, they will eventually crumble and fall.

God told Amos He was setting a plumb line in the middle of Israel and that He would never again pass by them. He used the illustration of the plumb line as the vertical relationship between God and Israel that was no longer straight. Amos had pled for Israel as God pointed out their sin, and God had relented many times. But this time, Amos saw that Israel was so far away from God that he would not relent again. They would collapse.

As the Torah was the plumb line for Israel, God’s Word is the plumb line for today. To have a straight line of communication with Him, God’s Word gives us the direction to follow for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When a nation turns from the word of God, they turn from God Himself. When a nation turns from God, they are on the path to collapse and destruction.

I believe our nation is on that path today. As believer’s in Christ Jesus, we must be on our knees in fervent prayer for our nation’s leaders and citizens to turn back to God and His Word. Rather than turning to God, people are bouncing all over the place, not knowing what to believe. The truth lies within faith and trust in God. People need Jesus. He is the way, truth, and life. No one comes to the father but by Him. He is the answer to peace and unity. He is the line of communication to God. Pray for revival in our land.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the
Father except through me.

John 14:1, 6 (ESV)

Who is Trustworthy?

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In a world of political upheaval, violence and sexual assault and now a pandemic, the question becomes – who is trustworthy? In the book, Rock Solid Trust, the answer is given for where to turn when trust is shattered beyond human repair. It leads you to the One who was, is and always will be trustworthy, and that is God Himself.

To some, it may seem to be a trite answer, yet I know these things to be true:
• When you suffer, He gives comfort.
• When you feel betrayed, He gives confidence.
• When you are exhausted, He gives strength.
• When you feel lost, He leads the way.
• When you feel threatened, He gives courage and peace.

In all these things, He is everywhere present and always present in your life as you turn to Him. And because He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble, we can turn to Him with any need or condition. He will always be there for us though we may feel abandoned by others. “The Lord will not forsake His people or abandon His heritage.” Psalm 94:14 (HSCB)

You can read about this and more. This book is currently on sale at Amazon.com. To order the book, use this LINK. 

Oasis in the Desert

Over the weekend, I remembered something the Lord laid on my heart years ago in 2005. I was thinking about this weird situation we find ourselves in today of being isolated in our homes and wondered if there are some who feel as if they are in a desert storm looking for a refuge. Therefore, I am sharing this hoping that it will speak to the hearts of those whose souls are weary and dry, longing for an oasis of peace, hope and joy.

 

There is an oasis in the desert

A place of refuge from each storm

Where you will find cool refreshing

Early every morn.

But days go by in the desert

Where souls are weary and dry

Longing for more we struggle…

And thirst… and cry.

Oasis in the desert

Abundant water for my soul

If only I could get there

To be nourished by the flow.

Lord lead me from the desert

To the oasis for my heart

Lead me from my empty longings

To the Living Water of new starts

Quench my thirst Lord Jesus

In the place of peace and rest

Fill my empty cup I pray

For with your Spirit, I am blessed.

Oasis in the desert

Abundant water for my soul

Flood me with your Holy Presence

Fill my heart and make me whole.

(Inspired by Isaiah 35:7)

The scorched land will become a pool
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place,
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 35:7 (NASB)

8 TIPS TO DECEMBER JOY

With Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas is just around the corner. The months, weeks and days are quickly slipping by and soon we will be into another new year. It is a busy time for most people. Out of the busyness comes stress and fatigue to the point that we forget the purpose of this season and lose our joy.

Recently on a ladies’ day out, my friend Michelle reminded us to keep our joy, but also to give it away. She used small gift-wrapped packages to illustrate her point of the gift inside and not allowing anyone (and I add anything) to steal your joy. It is a gift given to you. In like way, do not steal anyone else’s joy by attitudes that are negative or critical. In fact, give the gift of joy to them.

What is this joy?

            And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field,

            Keeping watch over their flock by night.

            And an angel of the Lord appeared to them,

            And the glory of the Lord shone around them,

            And they were filled with fear.

            And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold,

            I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

            For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,

            Who is Christ the Lord.

            Luke 2:8-11 (ESV)

 

The angels were announcing to the shepherds that Christ, meaning Messiah, had come in the form of a newborn baby. This was cause for great joy!

In looking at the New Testament Greek word for joy, you find several definitions. The word is ‘chara’ meaning a calm delight, gladness, it is used of persons who are one’s joy, to rejoice and exultation. Joy is used in scripture as associated with life, the redemptive work of God and an announcement of an occasion of exceeding joy.

Within the last three years, four precious babies have been born into our family. I can relate to the definition of ‘calm delight’. The first time I held each one of those newborn babies, I was filled with such delight that my heart overflowed with love and awe of new life. But it was a calm delight in not wanting to disturb the sleeping little ones. And yes, these little ones are truly my joy.

And so, as we look at the angel’s announcement of great joy, I believe what they are saying to the shepherds is that the redemptive word of God has come to earth bringing new life for all people. That is what Christmas is all about. The joy of new life in Christ Jesus as we commit our lives to Him. He is our joy and our life. He is our calm delight. He is the gift to be shared with others.

As you rush through December, here are some helpful tips for maintaining holiday joy:

  1. Begin each day with Jesus. He is the source of your joy.
  2. Make lists to avoid stress.
  3. Do not try to do everything for the holidays all in one day. Plan in a way that preparations don’t pile up.
  4. When exhaustion weighs your down, stop. Rest. Get a good night’s sleep.
  5. Give thanks to God for the ability to accomplish His purpose in all things.
  6. Purpose in your mind to enjoy family and friends through the holidays free from conflict and pray for your family and friends.
  7. Be joyful that others may see Christ in you.
  8. Be at peace. If it doesn’t get done, it probably didn’t need to be done.

Tent Living

 

Have you ever been camping? Things seem so peaceful when you are out in the sunshine in the woods or by a lake. But all that can change in a moment when the storms come. Life is like that. When things are running smoothly, there is peace. Yet, heavy burdens can weigh us down and we struggle for peace.

But when life seems to be a burden, be encouraged knowing your body is like a tent set up on a camping trip. The campground is only a temporary place you go on weekends or vacations. But eventually you will take down the tent and go home. The tent is your place of refuge while at a place of unknowns. However, while in the tent, storms may come. They may batter and blow the tent and hail may beat holes in the fabric until the tent collapses. That is when you will pack up and go home to a place that is safe.

Our bodies are like that. The Bible tells us we have a house not made with hands; one that is eternal in the heavens. Our earthly body is like the tent that wears out. But as believers in our Lord Jesus, we are guaranteed a permanent home with God for eternity.

In the meantime, we are to live courageously on earth enduring every storm. We are to live by faith knowing we cannot see the future, but believing what God has promised to us through our Savior Jesus. Therefore, we strive to please the Lord in all we say and do as we await our permanent home in heaven.

We find the truth of this illustration in God’s Word:

1For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed,

we have a building from God,

a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

5Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God,

who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while

we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.

7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

8We are confident, yes, well pleased

rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

9Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent,

to be well pleasing to Him.

2 Corinthians 5:1, 5, 7-9 (NKJV)