What is Spiritual Perseverance?

Man in the Desert

Let’s try to define first what perseverance is. Perseverance according to Merriam-webster:

Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. The action or condition or an instance of persevering

 

But what is the difference between the general definition of perseverance and spiritual perseverance? Or what is spiritual perseverance? Is it entirely different from its standard definition?

I like what Oswald Chambers said in his book “My Utmost for His Highest”:

Perseverance is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen…A call not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated

  

Some may say that perseverance means that you need to endure but the tricky part is we may endure just for the sake of enduring, or wanting it to come to pass. But as what Oswald Chambers said, it is more than enduring. Enduring can be done with power of our will or positive thinking. Isn’t there too much self-help books already to help derail us from what spiritual perseverance is? Part of spiritual perseverance is enduring but that is not all. Because spiritual perseverance is working your faith despite opposition, knowing with full confidence that God would do what He said He would do. Spiritual perseverance is always held together by the foundation of who God is. It is not allowing defeat because your faith is telling you to hold on to this everlasting God, who gives us the victory in our Christian life

When I think about these things, I am reminded about Nehemiah in the Bible. In Nehemiah 1, he was moved to pray and ask God to help him in his desire to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. He took the step of faith, asked permission from the king in Nehemiah 2 to allow him to rebuild wall – and when it was approved, he then went on with this great task. And when we’re always assigned to do a great task for the Lord, we can expect that there will always be opposition and sometimes even ridicule which Nehemiah experienced.

Nehemiah 2:19 - But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”

Nehemiah 4:7-8 - Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it.

 

We see that even in Chapter 6 of Nehemiah, there was still opposition:

Nehemiah 6:2-4 - then Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they were planning to harm me. So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” They sent messages to me four times in this manner, and I answered them in the same way.

 

Take note of what was said in verse 4. Four times this was done to Nehemiah, but he remained firm. He persevered. He did not merely endured but he spiritual persevered. He persevered because he knows what God has called him to do. He said, “Why should the work stop…” He was so focused on the task assigned to him and in his faith in the Lord that he knows his Lord will make everything come to pass as long as he remains faithful to what was entrusted to him. And indeed, the wall was rebuilt in 52 days.

You may be going through a tough time right now. You may be experiencing disappointments in life. Your work might be crumbling right now and you just don’t know what to do. But if you know that you are walking rightly in the Lord, just continue to persevere. Trust Him and know that He is in full control. Do not focus on the circumstance but on who God is. He is a good and faithful God. He knows what He is doing. Or maybe you are experiencing setbacks in your ministry. Spiritually persevere. If you know that this is what God called you to do, then just be faithful in what He has entrusted you to do. In the end, it’s not about you. He will be the One to make your ministry successful – not you.

Life will always bring you sour apples, but you can always turn them into sweet juice only because of the Lord. When things are tough – spiritually persevere by working your faith in putting full confidence on who the Lord is and what He can do.

If you are going through a tough time right now, leave a comment below so I may be able to pray and hopefully, encourage you.

Moving On Chronicles – Part 2

How to Move On

Things are just going by so fast and I know I have been so busy these past months that I haven’t been able to write an entry. I know I promise I would continue my moving on series and I feel it’s just appropriate to launch this new entry during Valentines.

Today is also known as single-awareness day and I hope that whatever you are planning to do today, It is something that will be glorifying to the Lord and will reflect His love for us. But if you’re not planning to do anything tonight, then just read along and let me share with you how the Lord has really guided me on moving on from a failed relationship.

I wrote in the first part of my series that I was surprised but happy to know that my past girlfriend was already in a relationship. We’ve known each other for more than 10 years and a lot was really expected from us. We broke up November 2011 (I can’t honestly remember the exact date) and you can just imagine the kind of pain that we both felt. We were even planning to get married May 2012 but somehow we both knew that it was just not meant to be. To answer how I was able to “feel” that it was not meant to be will require another entry. But for now, I just want to briefly walk you through how I was able to move on. Honestly, whenever I look back, I can only say one thing – I was only able to recover through the grace of God. As cliché as it may sound, I know the Lord is the only reason why I was able to move on. Yes, it took time and there are certain principles I want to share but I cannot hide the fact that the Lord played a big part in this.

If you are coming from a recent break up, I hope these three principles will help you how to move on after a break up.

1. Spend time with the Lord – Pray

First of all, I hope that your break up was mutual and free of bitterness and anger. If you are harbouring these types of emotions, you really need to deal with it with the Lord. There can be a lot of reasons why you guys broke up. I may not be able to list down all the possible reasons but I know somehow, deep inside you know why. The first step is really just coming to the Lord in prayer. Whatever you are feeling, whatever you are going through, don’t be afraid to approach the Lord and allow Him to comfort you. If you have questions regarding what happened, then ask Him. You’ll be surprised to know that the Lord will answer you. But be ready because you may not like what the answer would be.

I cannot count how many times I have approached the Lord in prayer broken hearted, in pain and depressed. These were moments when I felt so close to the Lord and so close to His heart. Sometimes I feel as if all my tears are being collected to someday show me that indeed my pain was always heard and felt.  And that the Lord will deliver someday. Take hold of Psalm 34:18.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

In your brokenness, approach the Lord and just be honest about what you feel. He wants to hear from you and give you comfort, that someday you will be given the courage to able to comfort others as well. Just like what I am hoping to do in this entry.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

2. Separate yourself from the other person completely

When we broke up, we never communicated again. I know that it may sound harsh but I believe this move really helped fast track the process. Don’t get me wrong, I have no anger towards her when we broke up. I believe it was mutual that’s why it is important to consider the first point above everything else. If you can totally cut off the communication, the better. Try removing everything that reminds you of the past. If you need to unfriend the person – then do it. Some of your friends may react and disagree with your decision, but you need to help yourself this time and not be focused on their opinions. Because if you haven’t really separated yourself from the person, there’s the danger that you will always want to continue to be part of his or her life. You’ll always want to know everything that is happening to him or her. This will not help you move on because it will just create a fantasy world where you feel you are still connected and in touch. You need to face reality. You need to be strong to move on.

3. Surround yourself with people

This is one of the best advices I have heard because you will feel really lonely once you go through a break up. There will always be that part of you that will feel you’ve lost something. The best way to counter this emotion is to surround yourself with people, but please take note that you are to surround yourself with the right group of people. Surround yourself with people who will draw you closer to the Lord. Look for people who will encourage you and be there for you. Spend time with them in gatherings or fellowship in church. Don’t go to parties or clubs to entertain yourself and try to fill the emptiness that you feel inside. After the parties, you will just go home and start to feel that emptiness again. This is why it’s important that you surround yourself with people who love the Lord and will draw you closer to the Lord. Because the Lord is the only person who can fill the void that you are feeling. Allow God’s love to fill you and restore you. Allow God to be your one and only love. You need people to help you focus on that truth during this stage in your life.

Going through a break up is really not an easy process. Again, only through the grace of God will the process be an amazing experience. I honestly cannot assure that these three principles is the sure formula to move on. But if there was one thing I can assure you, it’s this. If you take each step at a time with the Lord, it is possible to move on. The Lord wants to fill the void that you are feeling and he wants to fill it with His love.

Are you going through the moving on process right now? I would love to hear from you and maybe even give some advice. Happy Valentine’s Day.

B1G South True Life Retreat – Day 3

Note from the author: This is part of my daily account of what happened in the True Life Retreat last November 29 to December 1.

If you haven’t been able to read what I have been writing the past days, you might want to check out what I wrote for Day 1 and Day 2.This is now my last entry as I try to wrap up everything that has happened in the retreat. I slept at around 2am and really pushed myself to wake up at 6am. Now 4 hours of sleep is really not that bad but I have already exhausted so much energy the past days that 8 hours of complete sleep would have been better. But still, I wanted to push myself to wake up early and play basketball. I guess my retreat experience wouldn’t be complete without playing my favourite sport. But I am not playing just for the fun of it – I had a purpose for inviting people to join us to play at 6am in morning. I see basketball as a good way to break the ice and get to know people. Basketball was one of the reasons I got to know people when I was attending youth camps in the past. It’s a good avenue for people to connect and be comfortable with one another. I also see it as a way to reach out to others. Through this sport, others would see us as normal. That we are not just a group who loves the Lord and serves Him, but we also know how to play and have fun. I played one good game then had breakfast after.

After breakfast, I took a bath and immediately went to the snack bar to just think. We had our volunteers huddle there and I briefed them with everything that was going to happen for the day. All Module 1 participants were asked to stay in the main hall for the baptism message, while all Module 2 participants went on to participate in the different workshops. After the message and workshops, everyone was encouraged to attend Baptism, either to be baptized or to witness the event. I came early to the pool to dip my feet in the cold water and just pray. Somehow I was already imagining what was going to happen and with thankfulness in my heart, I just praised God for allowing me to be part of His work. There were three pairs that handled the baptism and I was part of that. Whenever someone walked towards us to be baptized, I could see how overwhelmed they were. Aside from the fact that the water was really cold, I can feel them shiver with the thought that this is it – this is the day that they would publicly declare their commitment to their God. I welcomed each individual that came to us. I asked for their names, and hoped that with my tone and smile, they would be able to relax a bit. Whenever I would ask the three questions, I would look intently in their eyes. From their eyes you’ll see what was inside their hearts. Some would respond with an outstanding “Yes!” while some would respond softy, but in their eyes and tone, you would see that it truly came from their heart. I was overwhelmed with joy as I witnessed fellow believers get baptized. I don’t know if people noticed it, but I was already coming to the point of breaking into tears because of immense joy. There were times I would just wash my face with pool water to hide my emotion and cover my tears. Hehe.

True Life Baptism

When the baptism activity was over, everyone washed up and packed their things before having lunch. When I got to the mess hall, they asked if we were going to proceed with the Top Show that the general manager of the RRC suggested. This was really not part of the program and I was hesitant to allow it since it means we will have to go beyond schedule. I talked to Mrs.Mauk and as we discussed the details, it was already pretty clear that there is no way of stopping the top show from happening. The only impression I really got it was “You will do the top show” and not “I hope we can do the top show.” J I gave in and announced to the coordinators that there was going to be a change in the schedule. After the top show, we had the closing program and then it was time to head home.

I won’t make this long anymore. As Day 3 came to a close, I just felt thankful that I was able to witness His work. I’m also very grateful that He sustained me for the past months we were planning and preparing for this retreat. I wanted to take a deep breath and comfort myself by thinking – “It’s over, you did the best that you can and now, you just need to learn from the things that still needs improvement.” But as I recall everything that happened, I realize that it’s not completely over. That burden in my heart just got bigger. I keep hearing my heart saying – “We need to catch them. We need to catch them. We need to catch them.” It’s hard to be contented by the retreat. The cry of my heart is further motivating me to ensure that the participants continue to grow in their love for the Lord. This retreat is not just an experience but the start of their renewed life with Jesus. That’s why we need to actively pursue discipleship. The 3 day retreat experience may seem like an emotional high for everyone, but as we go on with the daily battles of life – reality will always strike us – there will be temptations left and right and our flesh will desire the things of this world again. That’s why we need to stay connected to one another. We need to continually encourage one another to walk in the way of the Lord. We need to catch everyone and intentionally disciple. This is my prayer for all breakout group leaders. That they would continually reach out to those who were part of their group. And in that process, build a relationship where they can invite them to attend bible studies or our Singles Connect services. This way, we can ensure that through discipleship, we’ll be able to guide them in their journey to get to know the Lord.

It’s somehow hard for me to share this burden in my heart because I know a lot of people want to rest. I want to rest as well. But I am just sharing a piece of my heart that cannot remain silent. It is just my desire that Jesus will be shared to everyone. That we will all grow together in our love for the Lord as we become active in discipleship and ministry. And I just want to share, as I was prayerfully thinking and talking to God, He has been somehow showing me another vision. It’s still blurry as of moment but this is what I know – The best is yet to come! I do not know what that means but I just have a feeling it’s going to be big and I want to be part of it. I want to see His name be glorified. I want His name to be praised. So won’t you join us? Can I invite you to be part of this ministry which desires to see a movement of singles’ living out transformed lives to the fullest for the glory of God? We have service every Saturday at 6pm at the 3rd floor of CCF Alabang. I would love to see you attend and also be part of a discipleship group. If you have any questions, just drop me a comment below or connect with me through Facebook. I’m always excited to hear from you.

Tree House B1G Shot

I just want to take this time to thank each and every one who helped in the True Life Singles retreat. From the cluster heads, volunteers, breakout group leaders, program team, worship team, prayer team, marketing team, curriculum team and many more – you are all deeply appreciated. I might not have been able to personally say thank you, but know that your ultimate blessing is with Christ. I look forward to working with you guys again. Let us not grow weary of doing good for in due time, we shall reap what we have sown. This is a video that I feel summarizes what I learned about God. Hope you guys like it. I love you all. Lablab.  Hehe.

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