Yesterday’s post was about staying the course. Today’s is on the same subject: perseverance, persistence...staying the course!
I don’t know why these things happen to me. Like the time I was expertly postulating on the subject of mind renewal in Detroit, Michigan. Saturday morning was the final four hours of a ten-hour intensive, and about three hours into my captivating dissertation a lady to my right could persevere no longer. My Greek words, deep revelation, and incredible presentation finally pushed her into slumberland. My words do have a calming effect.
I don’t like to brag, but not everyone can produce such mind-numbing revelation and soul-tranquilizing truth. Peace, that’s what it was. It takes years of study and learning to mature to this point in public speaking.
To make the situation much more meaningful, this lady was a snorer. Obviously a professional. The room wasn’t all that big - there were probably 100 people seated around tables that accommodated 10 people each - meaning everyone was within earshot of this message-confirming endorsement of the highest order.
Her first snore wasn’t all that impressive, just a small warm-up heard only by those of us within 20-30 feet of her. Those seated next to her were polite enough not to awaken her so that the full effect of this nasal applause could continue. Less discerning people would have foolishly roused her, robbing us of this blessing. But those seated around her were SHARP. They let it continue.
The second snore was better, becoming more praise worthy of my glorious teaching, reaching two-thirds of the room. Those around her, appreciating the stunning effect these snorts of praise would produce, again allowed her to continue. I was amazed. No one was rude enough to nudge her awake.
The third snore reached full volume, the kind of zzzzzzzzzzs dreams are made of - one for the record books - awakening everyone to the profoundness of my deep, stirring words. All eyes were now on this peaceful woman.
“This,” I shouted, seizing the moment, “is the kind of deep tranquility I’m speaking of. Let the power of my words so stir each of you. Hallelujah!”
The lady, awakened by my shouting, sat up with a start and grunted a loud “Amen!” which added increased weight to my words. Savoring the sweetness of the moment, I decided it was a good time for a coffee break. I could tell, by the smiles and soft chuckles, that everyone agreed.
A recording of this presentation, entitled “Sounds of Serenity,” can be ordered from my product department.
Several years ago in Oklahoma, another lady helped me with one of my messages. I was teaching on the following verses: “That you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12). “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36).
Emphasizing the need for patience and endurance if we are to receive answers to our prayers, I shared the following story.
One night a man had a dream in which an angel gave him a guided tour of heaven. He saw the golden streets, beautiful mansions, and millions of saints in this wonderful place.
Then he saw a huge building, miles long, which looked out of place. “What is that?” he asked the angel.
“That’s God’s warehouse” was the response. “It’s where God stores the things He had prepared to give people in answer to their prayers. Before He released them, however, the people gave up hope, lost their faith, and doubted His promise. Their unbelief prohibited Him from giving them these things, so He stores them in this warehouse.”
“Wow!” said the man, “Can I see inside?”
“Sure,” said the angel and proceeded to show the man a building filled with money, houses, cars, boats, clothing, food - just about everything you could imagine.
Just as I was about to make my powerful point - “don’t give up, don’t cast away your confidence, stay the course; you don’t want your provision stored in God’s heavenly warehouse” - a little lady on the front row spoke up. In a quiet, mischievous voice, she asked, “Were there any men there?”
I don’t believe I was able to regain control of that meeting!
I don’t know if God has a warehouse, and if He does I doubt there are any men in it. But I do believe it is possible to ask God for something and fail to receive it because we wavered in the waiting period. We need perseverance in our intercession. We must STAY THE COURSE!
There are two words in the New Testament that are related to the concept of staying the course. One is found in Hebrews 4:14: Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. The words “hold fast” come from the Greek word krateo.(1) The root word (kratos) has the meaning of power, strength, might and vigor. The concept of this word is regarding the strength with which one is holding onto something. This verse tells us to hold strongly to our “confession,” a word which means, “say the same thing,” (homologia). Therefore, holding fast to our confession means: with all your strength hold onto what God says! And say it!
The other word is found in Hebrews 10:23: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. In this verse “hold fast” is a different word, katecho.(2) The root word here, echo, simply means “to have or hold.” The prefix kata is what intensifies the meaning to that of holding onto something securely. Nothing too profound about that. But, this word became a nautical term meaning “to set one’s course” or “hold to a course,” (Acts 27:40).
Holding on strongly to what God says - saying it, decreeing it, confessing it - enables us to stay on course. We are kept from wavering, from being blown off course by adversity, adverse winds and opposition, as we say what God says. This is why I repeat some things in these posts over and over. For example, “America shall be saved.” Every time we say it we are keeping ourselves on course.
One other thing that occurs as we “hold fast to our confession” is that we become “pregnant” with His words. God’s words are seeds that produce faith in us. The root word, echo, is actually one of the words for “being with child,” (Matthew 1:18). Therefore, holding fast to what God says causes us to become “pregnant” with it until we are finally able to give birth to it.
And, as my dad used to say, “That’ll preach!”
“For years William Wilberforce pushed Britain’s Parliament to abolish slavery. Discouraged, he was about to give up. His elderly friend, John Wesley, heard of it and from his deathbed called for pen and paper.
“With trembling hand, Wesley wrote: ‘Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them stronger than God?
‘“Oh be not weary of well-doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, ‘til even American slavery shall vanish away before it.’
“Wesley died six days later. But Wilberforce fought for forty-five more years and in 1833, three days before his own death, saw slavery abolished in Britain.”(3)
So today, friend, stay the course!
Pray with me:
Father, thank You for Your promises. You cannot lie. Your word is true. Your promises are unfailing. Your words contain power. You said they accomplish what You sent them to do (Isaiah 55:11). You honor Your words above even Your name.
You have told us “America shall be saved.” You have told us the greatest revival in history is beginning. You told us You were building an Ekklesia that the gates of hell could not prevail against. We hold fast to these words. They are growing in us. We are becoming pregnant with these promises and through the power of Holy Spirit we will give birth to them!
We ask You once again for a billion souls - and decree it again - 1 billion or more souls are coming into Your kingdom in this revival. We decree once again that miracles are coming in great numbers. We decree that nations will be transformed. We decree that people from every tribe and tongue will be in Your family. We decree that no force can stop this. We decree, according to the word of the prophets, this has begun. Amen.
We decree that the words of God will never pass away, they are eternal, all powerful, and that through them we will stay on course.
Portions of today’s post were taken from my book The Essential Guide to Prayer.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1977). Number 2902
Ibid. Number 2722.
Edward K. Rowell, Fresh Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching: from Leadership Journal (Grand Rapids, MI: Christianity Today, Inc., and Baker Books, 1997), p. 46.