Monday, October 25, 2010


The former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge once said - "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

Persistence is defined as "the quality of continuing steadfastly in spite of obstacles." Synonyms for persistence include endurance, perseverance, and adherence. In our walk with God, Satan is going to try to doing everything he can to stop us. We will also, in our weaknesses, put some of our own problems in the way.

The Old Testament paints a great picture of what life is really like. The Jew's Egyptian bondage can be compared to the slavery of sin. Moses serves as a type of Christ, a savior and deliverer appointed by God. The Red Sea is an example of the salvation experience, pointing to the necessity of baptism in the New Covenant. And yet, once the Israelites began to experience their freedom, they still had a wilderness to negotiate. This is life: a wilderness! Even though we have been set free in Jesus, we still have a need to mature and choose God every day.

The Hebrew writer therefore wrote to the church, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end" (Hebrews 3:12-14).

We may think it would sure be nice if we had no worries once we became Christians. But a relationship with Christ is not a promise that worldly struggles will immediately cease. Instead, being a Christian means that we now have what it takes to overcome the world through faith. We have the cleansing blood of Christ to take away our sins. We have the motivation of heaven to endure hardship. We have the good news for others to make a difference along the way.

There may not be a more important word for the Christian than "persistence." In the end, it will be the difference between eternal life and eternal condemnation.

"For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise" ~ Hebrews 10:36

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When Grown Men Pray

This week has been a great week. We had a very successful gospel meeting that was well attended. Many people responded and the church was encouraged. The weather has been perfect. We enjoyed fall break. To top it off my grandparents came from Arkansas and we celebrated my grandmother's 80th birthday.

But there was one signature moment for me from this past week. It meant more to me than anything else has in quite a while. Sunday after services we went to eat at my parents' house. Before the great meal my mother prepared, my grandfather Tatum led a prayer. He thanked God for the privilege of worship. He thanked God for our family. He simply talked to God. It is hard for me to describe to you, just how much it means, as a 37 year-old man, that I still get to hear my grandfather pray!

Although it may be hard to believe, many people will go their entire lives without hearing their parents or grandparents pray. I have spoken to people who have watched their father become a Christian in his old age, and tears streamed down their cheeks when they told me that until that time they had never heard their father pray! Prayer in the home is one of the most powerful and meaningful lessons any child will ever experience. When children hear their superiors talk with God, it brings comfort, joy and peace into their lives.

Parents, you may think it does not make that much difference whether or not you pray at the table, or in the living room in a family devotional, or before bedtime with your children. I am telling you from the bottom of my heart, it makes all of the difference in the world.

God will bless us in a very special way, when we talk with Him. He will watch over and protect our families. He will forgive our sins. He will console our hearts. He will heal our land.

"...At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord." ~ Genesis 4:26

Monday, October 11, 2010


When one chooses to become the same as that which is generally accepted, this is conformity. Conformity is to act in accordance with the rules. It is the agreement to behave like and believe that which is conventional. It is being a mirror-image of the standard.

There are times in which conformity can be a bad thing. Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 - "..and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind; that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Christians do not want to be like the world, because it is sinful and evil and passing away (1 John 2:15-17). It would be wrong for one who has been called out of the world and into the church, to be a copy of the very things he has rejected (Phil. 3:7).

There are also times in which conformity can be a good thing. When it comes to our citizenship and the laws of our government, it is easy to see why conformity is necessary. If we do not obey laws and respect authority we will sentence ourselves to a life of conflict and trouble. We will be punished, because there are consequences to rebelling against the standards of social responsibility.

There is one specific time in life, when conformity takes on a beauty that cannot be matched. Romans 8:29 explains, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son..." God chose from the beginning that we would be given an image to copy. This image is our perfect Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When a person makes a decision to be a Christian, this is the main thrust of what they are doing. They are deciding to look like, talk like, act like, love like, forgive like, sacrifice like, and be like Jesus!

Near the main entrance to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, there is a portrait of James Butler Bonham, a man who died for the sake of freedom. But the inscription explains that no real picture of Bonham exists. Rather, the portrait is actually of his deceased nephew, who greatly resembles him. The picture was posted, to allow the public to get the best impression possible of a man who died so they could be free.

There is no picture of Jesus Christ for the world to see today. The portrait Jesus chose to leave of himself, is us! If we are living like we are supposed to live, people will be able to see the One who died for their everlasting freedom. The world is depending on us to look like Jesus. We must be conformed to him!

"who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." ~ Philippians 3:21