It has been quite some time since I have written anything. To say the least, times have been challenging on multiple fronts. Perhaps more tough than ever before in my Christian life. Yet, the Lord has sustained us and given us hope and peace in the midst of the storm and is permitting us to be part of advancing His kingdom.
I love to read a verse of scripture, take out a key word, look it up, and trace its use throughout the rest of the bible. This morning, I was having a look at Romans 5. The first 5 verses completely captivated as though I had never read them even though I memorized them years ago. I focused in on two words in verse 3 and 4… “tribulation” and perseverance. As I studied, two songs came to mind.
One of God’s primary purposes in bring the difficulties that we face (as Christians) is the fact that tribulation produces perseverance, character, and hope… and God desires that we become people of endurance that, under pressure, look, act, and react like Him… and He desires that we be filled with hope. One of His primary methods for producing those qualities in us happens to be… tribulation.
The word “tribulation” can be translated as follows: pressure, affliction, difficulties, trials, troubles, burdens. One commentary I read says: “Tribulation is a word used for pressure, like that of a press squeezing the fluid from olives or grapes.”
Well, instead of trying to sound spiritual and give some deep insights, I’d rather quote Romans 5:1-5 from the amplified bible and leave you with the lyrics of two songs that came to mind while I was studying. Be encouraged and press on!!
Romans 5:1-5 (Amplified Bible)
THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.
Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.
And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.
Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.
The following song was written by, who I consider, a modern hero of the faith. If there were amendments to Hebrews 11, I suspect that Keith Green would show up there.
Grace by Which I Stand
Lord, the feelings are not the same, I guess I’m older, I guess I’ve changed. And how I wish it had been explained, that as you’re growing you must remember, that nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand, in Jesus. I know that I would surely fall away, except for grace, by which I’m saved.
Lord, I remember that special way, I vowed to serve you, when it was brand new. But like Peter, I can’t even watch and pray, one hour with you, and I bet, I could deny you too.
But nothing lasts, except the grace of God, by which I stand, in Jesus. I’m sure that my whole life would waste away, except for grace, by which I’m saved
And finally, a song which you have probably never heard but is worth noting. It’s entitled: Press On, by the Wilds Choir and Orchestra… form the CD with the same name. You can find it by clicking here…
There’s a course that must be finished, there’s a race that must be run,
There’s a mission to accomplish, and a battle to be won!
We’ve been called to take the challenge by God’s might and through His Son;
He will give us grace to complete the race, moving forward, pressing on!
Toward the hope of our high calling, toward the promise we’ve received,
With the strength that we’ve been given, pressing on to victory!
And toward the One who’s run before us, as we lay each weight aside.
‘Til the race is run, ’til the prize is won, ’til we reach the finish line, press on!
There’s a faithful cloud of witnesses who inspire us in our task.
They have fought the fight, they have run the race,
They have won the crown at last!
And the lives they’ve lived remind us that though the race at times seems long.
God will give the grace to complete the race, and the courage to press on.