Enduring Resolve

by Carolyn Hope

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:2-3)

Besides articles, pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions, there is only one word used twice in these verses: “endured.” We are aware that Jesus went through the worst possible experience there could ever be for our sake. He didn’t simply get through the beatings, the lashes, the nails, and the cross; Jesus endured. Dictionary.com defines ‘endure’ as “to hold out against; sustain without impairment or yielding; undergo.”

The pain and suffering Jesus bore did not change Him. It did not deter His mission from the Father, and it could not dampen the fire in His heart. His love for us held out against death and the grave. His love won the victory!

Many times when we’re going through something rough and unpleasant, we just want to ‘get through.’ Our focus is on getting out of that misfortunate circumstance as quickly as possible. There is nothing wrong with wanting such times to be over, but I want to encourage you to endure. Let the process unfold. Let Jesus be glorified in your response to your situation.

It’s in the depth of darkness that light shines the brightest; it’s under the greatest pressure that the truest beauty comes forth. Rise up and let your heart present itself. Painful circumstances are often the time that God uses to display His glory within us. Let yourself be a beacon of hope and truth as you endure for His sake. This is resolve; to not simply remain, but to rise up and let all that’s within you present itself to the world.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Diligent Resolve

by Carolyn Hope

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. (Genesis 39:6-12)

Most of us are familiar with the life of Joseph. He was a dreamer, gifted and called to more than he knew. He was a leader, a good manager, and greatly blessed by God’s hand on his life. He was also handsome. The wife of Joseph’s master took notice of him and soon pressured him to do things with her that he should not do.

Joseph not only refused her advances, but he also avoided her completely. He was resolved to keep his purity, and he guarded his heart well. When Potiphar’s wife confronted him with sexual temptation, he ran away. He was diligent in staying pure and honoring God with not only his life but with his body as well. On the surface, it seems that his resolve backfired. He was unjustly sent to prison, punished for a crime he did not commit. This downhill turn, however, was actually part of the path God used to elevate him to the highest position he could possibly attain. Man may not have honored Joseph for his resolve to purity, but God did.

Resolve requires diligence. Every day you must be faithful to guard your heart. Be alert; pay attention. Sometimes being resolved means getting out of a place you shouldn’t be in. Others may not appreciate the stands you take or the commitments you keep. Know that your Father will honor your choice to remain true to who you are and who He made you to be. People may not see the sacrifices you make to maintain your resolve, but He sees, and He is pleased when you choose diligent resolve.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Defiant Resolve

by Carolyn Hope

Then Deborah said to Barak, “Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” So Barak went down Mount Tabor, followed by ten thousand men. At Barak’s advance, the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and army by the sword, and Sisera abandoned his chariot and fled on foot … to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there were friendly relations between Jabin king of Hazor and the clan of Heber the Kenite. Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come, my lord, come right in. Don’t be afraid.” So he entered her tent, and she put a covering over him. … But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died. (Judges 4:14-15, 17-18, 21.)

In the book of Judges, the Israelites settled into a pattern: they would stray from the Lord, the Lord would hand them over to their enemies, the Israelites would cry out to God, and then God would send them a judge to deliver them and lead them in obedience to Him. This account is no exception. Deborah the prophetess led the Israel nation out of oppression into freedom and victory.

There is one character in this narrative that was absolutely essential to the triumph we see: Jael.

We don’t know much about Jael. She was married to a man named Heber, who was the leader of a clan and friendly with the enemy forces. Thus, when Sisera (the antagonistic commander of fortified armies) fled the battle, he sought refuge in Jael and Heber’s tent. Jael welcomed him and offered him a place to rest … and then killed him while he slept.

Jael had to have been resolved to act so boldly. Sisera was an enemy of Israel, but in helping to liberate her nation, Jael went against her husband. How would he react? What would he do? What would he do to her? She could not be half-hearted in such a move. Her resolve defied expectation and the opinions of those closest to her.

Sometimes doing what is right takes great courage, not because you’re uncertain of what you must do, but because you don’t know how those you love will receive it. There’s a unique challenge to following Jesus when doing so means going against your family’s wishes or opinions. Still, you must be true to your heart, consistent with your convictions, and faithful to the Lord’s Word. What He asks you to do is right, and His commands must take precedence over others’ preferences. You are to live at peace with everyone as much as you can (see Romans 12:18), but if you have to choose between pleasing God and pleasing man, the choice must be God first and man second (see Acts 5:29). Be bold in your obedience to your King. He will protect you and honor you for choosing Him first.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Determined Resolve

by Carolyn Hope

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:22-24)

Paul was a man of resolve. He lived, breathed, and died for the Gospel of God. Again and again, he found himself in life-threatening situations; yet he was never dissuaded from his course.

Toward the end of Paul’s work, he was making his way to Jerusalem. Holy Spirit warned him on several occasions that going there would mean chains and persecution. While others assumed these warnings meant Paul should turn back, he took them as a reason to press forward. He was willing to do whatever it took to bring the Gospel to the people he was called to. “If only I may finish the race …” was the cry of his heart. Paul ran his race focused on the finish line. It didn’t matter what hurdles he had to jump over or what obstacles he had to go around. He was determined to finish with excellence and strength, and he did. He died for the sake of the Gospel, and today, his writings and influence live on.

If you’re going to live a life of resolve, you must be determined. You must be undaunted by the opposition that comes against you. Decide now that you will not settle for anything less than God’s plan for your life. Be convinced in your heart of who you are and what God has told you to do so that nothing in the world can sway you.

Take heart, dear one. It will not be easy, but Jesus is with you. Holy Spirit will teach you, and your Father will be your guide. You are not alone, and your resolve will lead to His glory.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Undying Resolve

by Carolyn Hope

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me,  I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’” (Luke 18:1-5)

In this passage from Luke, Jesus relays a story of a widow who had been wronged. Widows in Jesus’ time were typically poor and lonely, with no guarantee of outside support. Consequently, this widow most likely did not have the funds or means to provide for herself, much less pay for a fair hearing or sway the judge’s decision. All she had was her persistence. All she had was her resolve.

Day after day after day, this woman pursued her cause. She did not give up and she did not lose hope. I believe that in order to be so ardently persistent, she must have woken up each morning thinking, ‘Today will be the day he gives me justice.’

It was, in essence, a battle of the will. Who would give out first? We see that the widow won her case because the judge got tired of seeing her face. As stubborn as he was, he was no match for her undying resolve. He knew that she would not stop coming until he relented.

When you have nothing else to give, you have resolve. When it feels like you have no choice, you can still choose persistence. No matter how long it takes or how impossible it seems, don’t stop fighting. Your cause, your call, and your life are worth a continual pursuit. Be persistent in your resolve. Don’t let go and don’t back down. You will be victorious. If what you’re facing comes down to a battle of the will, be the one whose will doesn’t die. Be a person of undying resolve. You will succeed when you refuse to take no for an answer.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Resolved

by Carolyn Hope

Happy New Year! Welcome to a new calendar, a new day, and perhaps a new season. 2017 has ended and 2018 begins.

At the start of every year, many people draft up their New Year’s Resolutions. Some will keep them; others will not. New Year’s Resolutions are great in theory, but in practice can be very difficult. Nevertheless, there are those who keep such resolutions, and the reason they do so is that they are resolved.

To resolve can be defined as, “to settle” or “to determine.” It means making a decision and not turning back from it. This week, I’d like to show you part of what it means to live in such a way. There are many characters in Scripture who exhibited great resolve in their lives. Through a few of them, I want to highlight some different angles and aspects of what resolve is. Resolve is undying, defiant, and diligent. It refuses to give up or back down, no matter the cost.

You may have struggled with keeping a New Year’s Resolution (I certainly have), but I want to encourage you that you can live resolved. If there is one thing you should be resolved to, it is following wholeheartedly after Jesus. He will never lead you astray, and He will empower you to live determined all the days of your life.

Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe
logowithpencil
Keep up to date with CFN The Voice. Fill out this form to receive updates directly to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.