June News (front page)
ENCOURAGEMENT IN DISCOURAGING TIMES
Endurance is the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions. We know that difficult times produce character and adversity brings meaningful transformation. In 2 Corinthians 6:4-5, Paul says, "As servants of God, we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger." The apostle Paul describes three overwhelming situations. The first is troubles and hardships (the word in the original Greek is "calamities"), and distresses (the Greek is literally "narrow straits" where you're feeling really boxed in). Secondly, there are beatings (that means physical attacks), imprisonments (maybe those times in your life when you feel confined), riots (defined as wild or violent disorder and confusion). Finally, Paul points out the impact of hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger.
Does this describe your world? If so, you'll be encouraged with how Paul demonstrated how he handled these trials. He starts this list with the words "in great endurance." That means perseverance and steadfastness. In fact, the root of the word here is the word for "staying where you are." Paul says, "I'm not going anywhere. I'm taking my stand and nothing can move me." He says it is possible to be hit by wave after wave of difficulties and still be the rock that is unmoved.
If you know Christ, you have in Him the power to be a rock-person just like Paul. Remember, the rock smashes the wave; the wave doesn't smash the rock! In football, they may talk about whether or not a player can take a hit. Well, Paul could - and so can you - if you're drawing on the same stabilizing source of endurance. Listen for it in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9. Paul says, "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God." Now that's it - right there - the secret of endurance is not in our strength, it is found in relying on God. That means meeting intimately with Him each new day and getting a daily refill of His strength, and experiencing His renewing presence. His mercy is new every morning, great is His faithfulness.
There's no guarantee you won't be hit by heavy waves - or even hurt when they crash down on you. As long as you are God's child, relying deeply on His strength, He will sustain you in and through it. Do you feel like the world is crashing down on you like a wave? Well, you're going to make it! Because in Philippians 4:13 it says, "You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength." And the promise of Romans 8:37, "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." After the waves have finished their battering and the tide has receded, you'll still be there - only stronger than ever. You rest in the Rock of your salvation (Psalm 18:2 - and remember, the rock always smashes the waves!
Here at Elevate the waves have hit hard. We have been forced to cancel our summer camp programs for July. While the loss is painful for the ministry that will not take place and the financial impact that will be felt for the year, we choose to stand firm in faith knowing that we can trust God to take care of all these things. Turn this page over to find out what we have planned for camp. We have chosen not to allow discouragement to set in. As servants of God, our priority remains encouraging believers and reaching a lost generation with the life changing message of salvation found in a relationship with God.