Endure to the End| By Jasmine Beard

How do you wait?

Do you wait patiently with a smile on your face dreaming of your promise to come to pass, or do you pout, fuss, and complain about it?

Most of the time, I believe I am considerably good at waiting.

Other times, I find myself getting tired of waiting, tired of enduring through a season that seems prolonged for a reason unbeknownst to me.

There is an old cliche that says, “Anything worth pursuing takes time.”

This is mostly true to everyone’s life. After all, it takes everyone time to grow up, time to get their dream career, time to have children, time to be able to traveI the world. 

But when is our waiting enough?

Waiting is not so bad until it turns from time passing by, to trial after trial, and difficulty after difficulty. Waiting can become a test of endurance and willpower instead of just lazily staying put or delaying action.

Life is full of ups, downs, and many curveballs in the physical and spiritual realm.

I recently started taking workout classes a few mornings a week.

I workout pretty regularly, but let me tell you, it is nothing in comparison to the high intensity interval training I am doing in these classes in addition to the early wake-up call.

During this class, we focus on building strength in our physical bodies with an emphasis on our spirits, minds, and souls as well.

This may seem weird to you, but our bodies house the Holy Spirit. We are His dwelling place, and He desires for us to be healthy and strong in all areas of His temple..

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT)

On the first day of class, the word “endurance” and the scripture Hebrews 12:2 were written on the white board in the front of the room.

Before entering class that first day, I felt tired of waiting for certain transitions to take place in my life. I knew it was not quite time to take a leap of faith into the next chapter in my life but remaining still seemed impossible.

When I saw that word endurance on that white board, I knew I was not to just sit still and delay action, but God was calling me to endure until He gave me the green light to jump into the next phase of my life.

Endurance is the power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. Throughout every season, I feel as though I have done that. It was not always easy, but I would endure.

However, before I walked into that class that day, I was tired of enduring and believed I had endured long enough. 

Jesus endured the cross for us. He did not stop as the pain progressed. He stayed there pierced, bruised, bleeding, and dying because He knew that being a living sacrifice was to be God’s promise fulfilled to the world.

I am called to endure.

You are called to endure!

Enduring is not easy, but trust that God is building your character, strengthening your weak parts, trimming the fat of your spiritual life, so that you can finish this race well and see the promise waiting for you at the end of the finish line.

“We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!” Hebrews‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭(TPT‬‬)

Walk With Purpose| By Chelsea Verdin

It was day two at my new job, and frankly, I was feeling overwhelmed by all of the information my brain was trying to absorb and process at the same time. 

I could remember thinking to myself, “You were not created for this extreme amount of multi-tasking. You are going to hurt yourself with information overload.”

I was feeling a little pressured by the amount of expectation that had already been placed on me with this new title.

Then, like a gentle reminder from heaven, my new boss said to me, “I like the way you walk. You walk with purpose.”

I stopped for a moment and turned to thank him with a smile. I imagined God’s voice whispering these words to me and felt my anxious spirit soften. I had only heard this phrase said one other time when my Pastor told a story a few weeks earlier. I had in no way imagined hearing it here, in my new work space. However, I needed to hear those words more than anything. I needed the refreshing reminder that my life is not mine. It is not working or living for the simple act of happiness. I am alive because God created great purpose within me. It was not earned, gained, or learned, but wired inside of my DNA.  

Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows the plans He has for us-to prosper us and give us hope and a future.

John 10:10 says that the enemies purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy, but that Jesus’ purpose is to give us a rich and satisfying life.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says that there is a season for everything under heaven.

When I read these verses, I hear the word PURPOSE. God has created a purpose for us. Jesus’s purpose was to give us life. Everything under heaven has a purpose. You, me, the animals, the plants, the galaxies, we all have a purpose in life. 

I used to believe that we only had one purpose. Each person was granted one purpose that they had to fulfill. However, I do not know how correct that is anymore. If we are in one season of our life, there is a particular kind of purpose that goes with that season. And as we change seasons, so do our purposes. Of course, we all have a giant purpose that is exactly the same – the great commission from Jesus to make disciples. 

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” -Matthew 28:19 (NLT)

However, I believe we each are destined to fulfill temporary purposes as we achieve the great big one. I believe they intertwine and connect us to the greater one. Whether we are studying for our future professions, working full time, taking care of sweet babies, or creating a home, somehow, someway our “smaller” purposes will set us up for the bigger one. 

We are not walking just to get to study hall, just to finish our shift, just to pick up the crying baby, and just to make sure the house is clean. We are walking because there is a purpose to our lives. There is a purpose in our steps, and each one of us is walking into the bigger picture of God’s glory, something that we could never get closer to by sitting still. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 

A lot of us are walking to fulfill an unsatisfied happiness that could never be accomplished because happiness is based on feelings. I believe that if we walk because we know there is great purpose in where we are going, who we are around and what we are doing, then great joy will begin to flow from our lives. Not happiness that is fleeting, but great joy because we are fulfilling that which has been wired inside of us. 

Maybe your boots were made for walking, but you, you were made for something bigger than you could ever imagine. And each step, each act, each encounter sets you up to fulfill that. Keep walking, friends. You are getting there.

Life Is Not a Race| By Jasmine Beard

We live in a world that is super fast-paced. So long dial-up internet, buffering, and anything that brings the slightest inconvenience. We now carry the internet in the palm of our hands and can get any fancy restaurant to deliver us meals to our home.

I have often considered myself a runner. Not in the athletic way (although that is a goal in 2019), but just in a life sort of way. I have often wanted to pass through circumstances and situations in my life, skip chapters, peek to the next page, or to the end of the book.

I often say, “I am not in a competition with others, but in a competition all on my own.”

However, something I have noticed while running is that I miss things, I overlook things, and I forget to catch my breath and appreciate where I am, who I am with, and the journey we call life.

When the Bible talks about Jesus traveling, it never mentions that he ran somewhere. Think about it. He walked, and walked, and sometimes took a boat or a donkey. But never ever ran (atleast to my knowledge).

Jesus was not anxious as I can sometimes find myself to be, he did not worry about tomorrow, when His arrival time was, or what others were doing or saying about Him.

He simply walked. He walked the path God had paved for Him since the creation of the earth. Jesus had a certainty and a trust in God for where His life was headed and the miracles He could do without Him being in a hurry.

I think my nature to plan and run everywhere is because I sometimes think I have something to prove naysayers wrong and push my potential to its peak. Instead of fully relying on God in my life journey, I can at times rush to accomplish what my mind is set on.

This is a ploy from the enemy. He loves to see us run, gasping for breath, and losing stamina. If we run and even walk in our own strength, it is vain. We are instead to walk with God and allow Him to be the light unto our paths, no matter the pace we are going.

Jesus walked many places and was never in a hurry. The death and resurrection of Lazarus in John 11:1-41 (read here) reminds me of Jesus’ lack of urgency.

When Jesus got word that Lazarus (a dear friend of his) was sick, He did not urgently run to his aid. He trusted the word of the Lord and chose to wait and then walk.

John 41:4-11 (NLT) says,

4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”

5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus,

6 he stayed where he was for the next two days.

7 Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

8 But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?”

9 Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world.

10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.”

11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”

Wow, not a sense of panic or a desire to run in urgency. Jesus did not allow other people’s anxieties, thoughts of/for Him, or urgencies to cause Him to rush God’s plan to bring resurrection life back to Lazarus. He simply walked at the pace He felt led to and let God lead His path.

Maybe you are in life, and you feel less accomplished than most. People tell you you need to hurry up, that you are losing time, or maybe these are words you speak to yourself. I want to encourage you today to pause, wait, and walk. Walk the path that God paved for you since the creation of the earth. No competition, just you and God, walking this life journey out together.