Stay the Course

For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. 1 kings 11:4

Staying the course, especially if it’s a long one, can be a difficult challenge. Preparing for a competition, seeking a new career, sticking to a weight loss program, starting a business or just getting a degree; there is an endless list of long term goals that can start with a fury of commitment but end with a quiet fizzle, like the air coming out of a balloon.

Solomon, one of Israel’s greatest kings, the same Solomon famous for his wisdom, was given a lifelong course. He was to remain faithful to God, so that God would bless his descendants. Solomon started out great. He asked God for wisdom and used it to make his kingdom great. He enlarged the kingdom, built a larger army and navy. Increased his wealth and gained famed throughout the world. But he also married quite a bit. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. That’s 1000 women to keep happy and listen to. In the end it was too much for even the wisest and richest man Israel ever saw. The bible relates that Solomon in his old age worshiped the gods of his foreign wives. God was angry and punished Solomon. Most of his kingdom was torn from his son, coming under the rule of another family, tarnishing the greatness of Solomon.

Our Christian life is a lifelong course as well with many challenges. There are many forces seeking to take us in different directions. Temptations that would cause us to sin and commit acts that do not please God, tops the list for sure. However quiet innocently we can relegate our walk with Christ to low priority without even knowing it. We can fill our lives with many wonderful and productive activities. Too many activities, like Solomon’s wives, can act to squeeze God out. We must be attentive to where God is fitting in our schedule. If there isn’t much time for Him we risk an even greater danger of failing God, as Solomon did.

Consider the time we spent on God, once upon a time, when we were on fire for Christ. There was time for Sunday school, prayer services and even a chorus rehearsal. Bible reading and prayer was a daily routine. Whenever a special program or service was announced we were glad to be there. No sacrifice was too great for our God.

Perhaps some of us are still on fire. We must stay the course and be aware of the forces working against our commitment. However if we are within the group that has grown a little cold don’t wait another second to seek God earnestly. Make a re-commitment to serve God fully.

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I just can’t take it anymore

“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” (Matthew 25:21)

“I just can’t take it anymore.”  Does this sound about right, time for a vacation?   Well this is not an advertisement for a trip to the Bahamas, although I would love to be heading there myself.  Sometimes work, family, school, relationships, health, economics and countless other stressors can lead to a great deal of pain and sleepless nights, but as crazy as this may sound these may be great blessings.

God is working in your life.  He is teaching you and preparing you for even more.  Stress is an incredible motivator that pushes us to a higher level. It’s when we are under stress that we accomplish great things.  Little has been done while living a stress free life.  Those struggles and challenges are what enable us to accomplish feats that we never thought possible. The stuff we tell our grandchildren.

Jesus in the parable of the talents explains how the master gives 5 talents to one servant, 2 to the second and 1 to the last.  Immediately we see that the Master understands that not all his servants can handle the same responsibility. When the master returns and receives a good report from the first servant he rewards him with more talents. He also tells him “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” (Matthew 25:14-29) He graduated and was ready for more.

Think of life as a school, filled with many graduations.  As we learn to handle more stress, more responsibility, greater problems, we become stronger, better and more capable. God is able to place more in our hands. Remember God is good. His desire is not to over load you to the point you break. He is simply helping you grow. Paul explains “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) James says “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

We are not feeble, we stand with the Lord.  When it seems like it’s just too much stress remember we are conquerors. You will overcome; your accomplishment will be great!

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