Let Nothing Move You – 1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. -1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV

This verse reminds me very much of a recent picture making the rounds on Facebook. In the center of the picture is a lighthouse setting on a rock in a storm. The waves are crashing around the lighthouse. But it’s foundation is firm and the lighthouse stands secure; no matter what the storm throws at it, nothing moves it.

Even so, as a believer in Christ Jesus, stand firm in the hope we have in him. Don’t let the storms of life move you from him. Instead, like that lighthouse, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).”

When life is at its roughest, remember the lighthouse, stand firm, and be a light in the darkness. Your faithfulness will not be forgotten.

let nothing move you
Standing firm through the storm

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Resisting Temptation – 1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

This is one of the very first verses I ever memorized outside of a classroom. As a young man I saw this as a significant promise that would enable me to live the life that God had called me to. This verse tells me three things. First of all that the temptations I face in life are not unique to me. Whether as an 18 year old new believer heading into the Navy, or of a 64 year old senior, my temptations are generally the same as everyone else’s. That is not to say that everyone faces all of the same temptations, but none of us have temptations that are unique to themselves.

The second thing that Paul says in this verse is that God knows me and what I am capable of overcoming. And he will not allow temptation, or trials, to come my way that I am not capable of overcoming. Never can I honestly say that I had no choice about giving in, that resisting temptation was too hard.

And, finally, the promise that he will always provide a way for me to endure the temptation that he allows to come to me. I am not left to deal with temptation on my own. I need only look for the way of escape. That way may be through the Scripture, as it was for Jesus in his wilderness temptations (Matt. 4:1-11). Or it may be to run like Joseph did when tempted by Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:11-12). If I succumb to temptation, it is only because I chose my own way rather than the way God provided.

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Glory in Suffering – Romans 5:3-4

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:3-4 NIV

When I was a kid, I would periodically watch my dad cast lead fishing weights. He had a little frying pan on the stove and would put chunks of lead into it. The lead would eventually melt, and when it did so there was usually a layer of impurities that would float to the top. Dad would scrape off and discard these impurities before pouring the molten lead into his molds. And I understand the same thing is done with gold or silver in their refining process. The intense heat in the refining process will separate the impurities out of the metals, leaving them pure and more valuable.

I believe that is what Paul (and James in James 1:2-4) has in mind here when he calls on us to glory in our suffering. The trials in life that we go through can function much like the refiners fire (1 Peter 1:6-7), separating the impurities out of our lives and making us more useful to the refiner. We should rejoice, or glory, in our sufferings, not because the suffering is pleasant, but because of what God can do with it (Rom. 8:28).

In Hebrews 12:7 we are told to treat hardship as discipline. Then in verse 11 we find ” No discipline [hardship] seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” In the midst of your trials, thank God for how he might be using them to teach you and to develop your character.

House on the Rock – Matthew 7:24-25

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. – Matthew 7:24-25 ESV

These two verses, along with the two that follow, make up the lyrics to one of the first songs I can remember. But even though these are the words to a preschool song, their truth is just as relevant to me at the other end of life. The challenge Jesus gives here is to not just listen to his words, but to incorporate them into my life. Being a doer of the word (Jam. 1:22) is like building your house on rock. Being only a listener of the word is compared to building a house on a foundation of sand. When life is good and smooth, the foundation does not seem all that important. But when troubles come into our lives, and they will, the foundation is vitally important.

Don’t be satisfied simply with listening to, or reading, the Bible. The Bible really has very little value to us if we are not willing to be obedient to its instructions. Listen to its instruction, and then make it a part of your life. Build your house on the Rock, and the storms of life will leave you unshaken.

The Marriage of the Lamb – Rev 19:7

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready. – Revelation 19:7 ESV

This chapter marks a turning point in Revelation as both Babylon and the kingdom of the beast are destroyed. Even more exciting is the first picture of the marriage of the Lamb and his Bride. Who is this Bride? I believe it to be the Church, redeemed and purified by the blood of the Lamb (Eph. 5:25-27). The Bride has been through the fire (1 Pet. 1:6-7) and endured (Heb. 12:1-3). And now it is time to rejoice and exult and give God the glory.

While the book of Revelation is generally thought of as describing conflicts at a global scale, it is also possible to see it as a picture of the Christian life in conflict with the forces of spiritual wickedness (Eph. 6:12). When as a believer you find yourself facing trials and challenging times, and you wonder if it is worth it, just read the back of the book. We can rejoice now, not because what we are going through is good, but because it is preparing us for something that is beyond good, for our union with Christ. Look ahead to that (Phil. 3:13-14), stand firm (Eph. 6:13), and rejoice (Phil. 4:4).

Conquerors – Rev 15:2

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. – Revelation 15:2 ESV

This is such a contrast with Revelation 13:7 where the beast is given power to make war on the saints and to conquer them. It this verse it is likely that we are seeing those saints who had taken the warning to faithfully endure (Rev. 13:10), and they are identified here as those who had conquered the beast. While the beast (the Antichrist) may have put them to death, his victory was short lived. Because they endured to the end, they actually came out as the victors.

How do we judge success, or victory, in this life? Good job, big house, large bank account and investment portfolio, a stud or babe for a spouse, acclaim? Yet how many of those things will last? The only way to win in the end is to trust your life to Christ and to be faithful, even unto death. Then you can join these who are victoriously standing before the throne. So what if you lose everything in this life? It is nothing compared to the glory that awaits us (Rom. 8:18). In all these things (tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword) we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Rom. 8:37).

Run with Perseverance – Heb 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. – Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

The previous chapter of Hebrews recounted many who had lived by faith, and who are now in the grandstands watching us run the race that has been marked out for us; and many more over the centuries have joined them, including some you may well know. As the athlete in the stadium is cheered on and encouraged by the crowd, so we should be encouraged by those who have come before us. We may not see them now, and may not be able to physically hear their voices, but they do speak out to us from the pages of history. Let their faithfulness be an encouragement and example to you.

One of the things that helps me when running a long race is to pick out someone in the crowd ahead of me and follow them, allowing them to set the pace and drag me along the course. The same is true in the race that God has given us to run. Fix your eyes on Jesus and allow him to guide you along the way and to pull you along as needed. He has finished a much more challenging race than you are going through; trust him to help you in yours.

Hold Firmly to the End – Heb. 3:14

We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. – Hebrews 3:14 NIV

Common among many denominations is the belief that once I have committed my life to Christ, that nothing can take me from him. Sometimes this is called ‘eternal security’, and other times ‘once saved always saved’. But if it is as simple as that, why do we have the frequent warnings, like this verse, of the necessity to remain faithful to the end? Could it be that only those who are faithful to the end are ever actually saved? That salvation is not based on how you start the journey, but on how you finish it? I believe that there are many who have made a public commitment to Christ and have been baptized who will be quite surprised when they stand before the judgement seat of Christ and hear him say, ‘‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Don’t let that be true for you. Hold firmly to your faith in Christ and let that be reflected in your life. Finish the journey!

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