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October 22, 2008

Press In, Press Through...

Martha'strail

Greetings, Dear Friends!


And to those visiting, I say welcome!


I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way.

Every month I give away a $10.00 gift card. Due to popular demand, this month the card is from Starbucks! Leave a post and you may be the one to get a couple of cups of java on me!

Now on to my topic...

I don't know this for a fact, but I'm pretty sure that many of you are bearing up under a load of responsibility, waiting for a breakthrough of something hoped for, and tempted to 'move away from courage' by becoming dis-couraged.

If that's you, this post is for you!

I get the sense that for many, this season requires great perseverance. Great focus. And great tenacity. 

Maybe I 'sense' this because I'm feeling the same kinds of pressures. And maybe it's just me, but this feeling always seems to present itself this same time every year. 

I'm not a big fan of the October festivities, in fact I find it necessary to raise my shield a little higher in the month of October. 

When life's demands press hard against my soul and Satan tempts me to despair, I know this calls me to activate two strategic elements in my walk of faith...

Press In.
Whenever things feel difficult, stressful, or simply boring and uneventful, we must stop in our tracks and plant a few seeds. Seeds of hope. Seeds of faith. Seeds of expectancy. I've said this before and it bears repeating again: God is always up to something.

The Heavens are bursting with promise. The Heavenly Hosts are busy and active on our behalf. Answers to prayers we prayed yesterday, last week, and when we were seven, have enlisted a response from our gracious Heavenly Father. Even after you die, the world will continue to benefit from prayers you prayed (that's of course assuming you prayed prayers to bless this world and the generations coming after you).

Since we're such earthbound creatures, we need constant reminders of Heaven, of God, and of His great love and involvement in our lives. 

When we slow down long enough to plant a few seeds, we remember that God is growing good things all around us. He has been good to us. I heard a statistic recently suggesting that if your household income is $50,000 or above, you are in the upper 1% of the wealthiest households in the world!

John Bunyan once said, "The pathway of life is strewn so thickly with the promises of God that it is impossible to take one step without treading upon one of them." 

We must earnestly seek after God because everything we could ever want or need, is found in Him.

But there's another reason.

More precious than the gifts from His hand is the treasure of knowing His heart.

He is beautifully, wonderfully wonderful. 
He is a treasure beyond knowing.
He is scandalously humble.
He is terrifyingly powerful.
And He is intent on revealing Himself to those who seek hard after Him. 
Nothing compares to the priceless offer of access to the Most High God.

Press in to know Him more. Or to know Him again. Or to know Him for the first time.

Press in and He'll make the way clear; the boring sacred; and the burden lighter. Press in.

Press Through.

To persevere is to press through; to bear up under a heavy load for a prolonged period of time. 

The Bible says that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And that perseverance produces character (and reveals it). Perseverance leads to godliness. Perseverance matures us and completes our faith. 

Pressing up against unmoving, difficult circumstances - carrying a weight we'd rather not - holding onto hope when it seems heavy in our arms - all these things make us more like Jesus. 

When I consider how easy it would have been for Jesus to cancel His plan to be my Savior, I shudder. I imagine Him hanging on the cross, beaten, brutalized, and broken under the weight of the world's sin. I see Him with dried and fresh blood stinging His eyes as He looks down at a mocking, eye-rolling crowd. 

How easy it would have been for Him to look up and say to God, "Change of plans. These people are not worth it."

But He hung in there.
He hung there.
For me.
For you.
Amazing love.

You MUST hang in there!

Someone once said, "There are a thousand people waiting on the other side of your obedience."

"The idea that Christianity is an unending round of mountaintop experiences is unrealistic. there is the daily routine, the menial task, the disappointing circumstance, the bitter grief, the shattered plan. Perseverance is the art of bearing up and pressing on in the face of all that seems to be against us." (Believer's Commentary, p. 2290)

'Therefore, since we are surrounded by SUCH A GREAT CLOUD of witnesses, let us throw off EVERYTHING that hinders and the sin that SO EASILY entangles us, and let us RUN WITH PERSEVERANCE the race MARKED OUT BEFORE US, let us FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS, the author and finisher of our faith, WHO, FOR THE JOY-SET-BEFORE-HIM-ENDURED THE CROSS, scorning it's shame, and SAT DOWN at the right hand of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

There you have it.

Since you are surrounded by a host cheering you on, hoping you'll choose to persevere, throw off everything that slows you down.

Throw off bad attitudes, low perspectives, and unbelieving tendencies. Throw them off like yesterday's clothes! (for you newbies, see my post from a couple of weeks ago).

Run with perseverance. Bear up under the weight. Believe God is good. And hang in there.

Fix your eyes on Jesus. 

Press in. Press on. 

It matters what you do and how you believe when you'd rather be bored or cynical. 

Believe for the best. Be strong. Be courageous. 

Let your perseverance be a witness to a desperate world in need!

Until next week~


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Comments

Kelly,

Sweet story. :)

As we walk towards Thanksgiving, now is a great time to look back and consider all of the ways God has been good to us.
He has been good. :)

Dear Anna,

Wow, it sounds like you're carrying quite a load!

May He make your burden light and easy.

Blessings to you~

Dear Liz,

Thanks so much for stopping by!

I'm also very thankful that the program ministered to you! And I'm thankful God is speaking to you with such clarity. May you know absolute peace and power as you step out and do what He says.
Bless you, sister!

Dear Jess,

Thanks so much for your honest post. I'm so thankful that you are willing to take a look at and let go of unforgiveness. As you know, it'll only poison your soul. And the cool thing is, when we forgive those who've hurt us, we move ourselves out of the way for God to bring His wisdom to bear in the situation. His justice will prevail.
Blessings to you!

Dear Donna,

I'm so blessed and encouraged to know that the Balance book encouraged you!

I'm quite amazed at how many people feel like you do: like they're bearing up under a heavy weight; surprised by the duration of the journey; but willing to trust God in spite of it all.
God is up to something. Hang on and hang in there. You WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Peace to you~

Dear M.I.,

Welcome and so nice to meet you!

I'm telling you, you should be a writer. Your post was so eloquent and powerfully true! I especially loved this line: "How do we take our thoughts captive? Only through saturation in the Word, willingness to surrender, and action."
Amen and amen!
Excellent!

Dear Julie,

Thanks for stopping by.

I so appreciated (and was encouraged by) your post. Isn't it something how much influence God has afforded us in this life? The problem is, so many of us miss it. May we live today in light of Eternity!
Blessings to you!

Maria,

How nice to meet you!

I am glad you liked the program and I do pray that your soul is nourished by the book. If I can say this, I love that book. It's truly a message of my heart.

Bless you, sister~

Dear Brittany,

I'm so glad. :)

Bless you~

Rebecca,

Thanks so much for your encouragement to me!

Anything and everything we are currently going through will pass. All of it. So instead of wishing it away, may we leverage it as an opportunity to bring pleasure to the heart of God by walking through it with faith. Nothing is wasted with God. Isn't that amazing?
Bless you, dear!

Dear Tami - my faithful intercessor friend,

Thank you for stopping by!

May God continue to speak to you with great power and clarity.

I love and appreciate you. :)

Dear Helen,

Thanks so much for mentioning my book in your newsletter! I really appreciate it. Hey, and if you need help with an Amazon review, do let me know. :)
May God continue to 'provoke' you to faith and courage. :)
Bless you~

Dear Liane,

How blessed I was to read your post! Talk about walking through the fire; I know you have. May God wrap His arms around you and remind you once again of His active involvement in your life. May His provision surprise you. And may His healing power make you dance for joy.
Love you too!

Judy,
You are a treasured friend. One whom I greatly respect.

May you know - in a fresh new way - the redeeming power of Almighty God. He makes things new and He is mightily at work in you and around you (and it's fun to watch).

Blessings, friend~

Dear Tina,

Thank you so much for your honest, sweet post. I'm sorry it's taken me a bit to post a reply.

I pray that you are now in a place of joy, health and strength.

Keep looking up. :)
Bless you~

Hi Susie,
Your words on answered prayers from long ago, and when they'll be answered...God recently walked back w/ me to a summer day in 1979 when we got our first pet, my cat Sparky. I was 4, and bent down over him w/ my fingertips on his back constantly saying "I want this one, I want this one..." My parents were elsewhere; God showed me this was my first time "praying w/out ceasing." And wow, look at how I swooped down and never took my eyes or hands off of that tiny kitten when I claimed him as my own. He was my trusted faithful companion until I was 22, even though I was married and away w/ 2 cats of my own, and died the month my daughter was conceived. (Hmm, God WAS listening in our talks that we'd finally get back to church when children arrived...) Those teenage yrs, ugh. Deceiving boyfriends, fitting in, I did not know God was seeking me, but He knew that this cat was the one constant that I could and would turn to. His glorious creation is all around us. Joyful, powerful, gentle, open our eyes and SEE!!!

Thank you Susie--Lord knows perseverance is what I need at this point in my adjustment to a full-time teacher in a 24/7 missions boarding school work environment!

Susie- Eternal blessings. We have met - you may remember me from Women's dessert at Westwood. We sat at the same table one of the two nights. I was the one who said who needs Clinque when you have Jesus living in your heart. Anyway, I was shedding tears in the shower this morning over a decision directly related to Fridays (10/24) topic on Family life today.But at the time i didnt know it. I too have felt life pressing hard on my soul lately. Recently, God showed my heart that he cant bless indecision. In the shower i shared my decision with the stipulation that i would do whatever it is God wanted me to do. Fearing that God wanted me to stay in this group in order to let His light shine through me. After hearing your message i know the course of action i should take. I thank you for your ministry and heart.
Acts 16:14
hugs
liz

I am so absolutely certain that the Lord wanted me to hear you this morning speaking about "The Uncomman Woman." I only caught some of the program, but I certainly needed to listen to someone else commenting on how hard it is to "work" on our faith - to live it. I have been struggling with unforgiveness, and truly am not sure how to let it go. It's a bit complex because those in question have repeatedly offended me, though I haven't let on that that is the case, so they don't even know I'm upset. I do trust God and know He will continue to help me with this, and I will pick up a copy of your book, which I'm certain will help as well.
Thanks for the reminder, admonition, encouragement and inspiration to keep after what's good & right.
After Him,
Jess

I just finished reading your book "Balance That Works When Life Doesn't" Thank you so much for your thoughts! Balance is something I feel the Lord nudging me to take more seriously. I have recently laid my schedule before Him and am excited to begin the process of simplifying so that I can be more productive in what he is calling me to. I have also found new perspective to persevere under a very heavy trial that doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. Praise Jesus for his faithful work in our lives! I love the quote you included in your most recent post...
"Perseverance is the art of bearing up and pressing on in the face of all that seems to be against us." There is always a purpose and how we need to keep looking up because as you say that is where the real action is!!! Praise Jesus and thank you Susie for sharing your beautiful heart.

Susie:
Caught tail end of your interview this afternoon and could literally hear the sincerity and fervent deisre you had for the listeners. Your comment that 'changing my thoughts could have been my full time job' just took my breath away. Yes, this is no small feat. It does not happen in a day, week, month. It must, as you say, become a lifelong pursuit. Taking our thoughts captive one at a time. How do we do that? Only through saturation in the word, willingness to surrender and action.
As one of the hosts said, 'There are far too few messages preached on this topic.' Alas, this is true. Yet, without captive thoughts our faith journey, submission, focus, service, family life, and on and on it goes....is tossed about like waves on the sea.
Honestly, Susie..God Bless you abundantly for being the prophet in the wilderness.
Am a first time poster, looking forward to visiting your website.
Because of His Sacrifice,
M.I.
Chicago, Il

Susie, what a gift you have to articulate the truth in God's perfect word. The imagery you presented on prayers heard beyond our years was both enlightening and filled with promise that I had not expected. But it is TRUE! What substance for praying into those years to come. And I thank you for sharing your gift.
Blessings to you!
Julie

I strongly believe the LORD allowed me to listen to your interview on Family Life this morning because He knows I needed an encouraging word to continue to persevere under the weight of my current burdens. I am pleased to meet you. I am encouraged by your desire to share with other women how we can become an "Uncommon Woman." God bless you for your obedience to HIM.

Thanks you so much. This was exactly what I needed to hear today.

You know what makes your words so inspiring to me Susie, is seeing how you have overcome SO much and have this beautiful relationship with the Lord Jesus. It's proof that He is real and if we only let go of our way of doing things, He will do a radical makeover in our hearts, no matter what the situation.
Psalm 23 "He is our good Shepard."
Also, I loved the October ezine! It's very encouraging to me. I have been praying for you and your family.

Grace & Peace~ Rebecca

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