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Hold On My Child

"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the Crown Of Life." Revelation 2:10 Man is born self-centered and spends most of his days seeking that which will make him happy. It is the rare man who takes into consideration that in the scheme of things, our passage through this life is very, very short. On a yardstick, we live 1/4 of an inch here, and the rest in eternity. Therefore how should we spend the very short time we have here? Of the seven letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, only two passed the test and gained the approval of God, and this one in Smyrna was the first. But take a look at the quality of life that was their lot. The Lord sees the course they will have to endure, and tells them not to fear it. Not to fear? How many of us would be able to proceed without fear after being told there are things ahead we will have to suffer? That some will be thrown into prison? Few there are who could walk this path, and the Lord counsels them to “be faithful until death.” Hard, yes, but the Crown of Life will be forever. Forever they will be known as the ones who were “faithful until death.” Indeed, the mega-churches are teaching believers how to be successful, how to be happy, how to get what you want in life. Here's a thought: what do you suppose would happen to those mega-churches if they began telling their people that they will have to embrace suffering? Well first of all, the congregation wouldn't believe what they were hearing. Doesn't the pastor know that we come here to grow in our ability to be successful? And now he's telling us to embrace suffering? Soon, and very soon, the people of that church would go looking for another mega-church where they would be entertained in the ways to happiness. Why does God place a premium on suffering? Doesn't he know that a suffering person is thinking of only one thing, and that is how to escape the suffering? What a shock to a person in a feel-good church when a situation of suffering enters one's life and there's no way out. Suddenly all the platitudes of prosperity are shown to be what they truly are - vain and empty. In examining the lives of the men and women in the Bible, one common thread that runs through their stories is conflict and suffering, and what those two elements produced in their lives. The apostle Paul was one of the greatest men who walked the face of this earth. Indeed even today his writings are determining the lives of multitudes. Yet what underscored his calling was the extent to which he had to suffer. Read it in 2nd Corinthians 11:22-28, where he tells of all he has had to endure. In fact three times he requested that the Lord deliver him from the "messenger of Satan" sent to buffet him, and the Lord answered him a resounding "No. My grace is sufficient for you." At this point many a man would give up, wouldn't they. They'd count the cost, esteem it too great, and walk away, and thus would their story end. But Paul understood the shortness of this life and the greatness of the work needed to be done, and he pressed on in suffering and achieved for God what nary another person on earth has equaled. Friends, suffering brings us to surrender, and surrender is where we need to be in order for God to be able to bring about his purposes through us. The greater your call, the greater will be the efforts of the "messengers of Satan" to buffet you in any way they can, making your life quite miserable if you don't understand this point: you are being challenged in order to prevent you from fulfilling your calling. "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." 1 Peter 4:12-13 In other words, your time here is short, pointing always to the day when Christ's glory is revealed. On that day those who endured will be glad “with EXCEEDING joy.” It's all worth it friends, and oh how they will rejoice who submitted to whatever came against them and in spite of it, pressed on to fulfill the call of God in their lives. Yes, rejoice! It will all be worth it! MORE than worth it! “Hold on my child joy comes in the morning, Weeping only lasts for the night. Hold on my child Joy comes in the morning, The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight.”


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