“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4 I love the word perseverance. Defined as “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success,” I believe this powerful character trait is of utmost importance as we stand on the threshold of a new year. Though the verses above may be familiar to you, there’s something in them Hannah pointed out to me that I think is very significant. Look at the phrase, “let perseverance finish its work.” Did you notice that it’s passive? In other words, without interference, perseverance will have its way in your life, and you will get to where you’re supposed to be. But why would you not

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Jesus Responds to Great Faith

“Then Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed at that moment.” – Matthew 15:28 Over the next few days, we will look at one courageous woman of great faith who needed her daughter to be healed. As the Biblical account states, Jesus traveled to different regions, teaching and healing the sick. As He entered the area of Phoenicia, a woman started yelling out after Him to heal her daughter. She was making a scene begging loudly for Jesus to heal her daughter. So much so until finally, Jesus’ disciples said, “Will you please just send her away?”  It’s hard to believe that Jesus was non-responsive to this urgent plea, making him seem unkind and insensitive. The Bible states, “Jesus did not answer a word.” Do you ever feel that way when you’re praying to God? It’s easy to feel

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Stubborn in Accomplishment

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13 Yesterday, we talked about how being stubborn in the right areas is a good thing, as long as our hearts remain soft toward people. To this end, one of my favorite childhood stories (which I’m sure I tell from the pulpit at least once a year) involves a fishing trip I went on when I was eleven years old. The day started like any other out on the water, but this time, my dad and my best friend were with me. A while after we set out, I felt a tug on my pole, and I didn’t think anything of it. However, as I began wrestling with whatever was on the other end of the line, I knew it must be huge. Back and forth the creature pulled me, and from one side of the boat

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Get Back Up

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9 When I finished seminary, the average time a graduate spent in pursuit of ministry was just five years. Even after countless hours of formal education and the sacrifice of months spent studying and training, the unforeseen yet inevitable challenges of doing the Lord’s work in a fallen world are too much for many. And unfortunately, this isn’t just true in ministry. Most people stay at a job for an average of four years before moving on in search of something better. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it speaks to the truth that consistency in any endeavor is hard, because it comes at a cost. In whatever we undertake, there’s a “honeymoon” period when things are new and exciting, and the

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