Monday, November 30

Matthew 1:18-19 

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 

Every married couple that has been blessed with a baby knows that the arrival of a child changes everything! One of the things I was not quite prepared for when our first child was born was how quickly those changes would happen – and how soon that little newborn would force us to make decisions. 

Like most new parents we tended to respond to every cry and whimper of our little “bundle of joy.” The result, of course, was that he quickly trained us to get him anything he wanted at any time of day or night. Within a few months we were getting up several times each night in response to his cries for attention. Since he couldn’t yet talk we had to guess at his needs. Sometimes he wanted milk; sometimes he wanted juice; sometimes he just wanted to be picked up and held. But when he cried out we would always get up and get him whatever he needed to quiet down and go back to sleep. After several months of this - he was quite happy and we were quite exhausted! 

After consulting our pediatrician and a few trusted friends, we learned that in order to preserve our sleep - not to mention our sanity – we were going to have to learn a different way of responding. We decided that when our little guy cried out – we would check to make sure he had a clean diaper – and that he was well fed – but other than that we would not get him extra juice or pick him up. Essentially, we would let him cry it out and go back to sleep. At least that was the plan! 

The plan didn’t go so well! To put it mildly, our son was not a happy camper! Beginning on the first night of our experiment and continuing for what seemed like weeks (although it was only a matter of a few days) he demonstrated a phenomenal ability to cry with increasing strength and outrage for over an hour at a time – while we lay in bed taking turns keeping each other from running to his crib. On about the third night, we listened as he ratcheted up his angry cries to soul-splitting levels, when suddenly there was a loud thump – followed by eerie silence. Frightened by the strange sequence of sounds, I bolted out of bed and ran to his room. Peering through the darkness I saw my 6 or 7 month old son sitting in the middle of the floor. He had become so agitated that he flung himself up over the railing of his crib and onto the floor – the thump I heard was his little body hitting the floor. The silence that followed was probably because the rough landing on his backside had so startled him that, momentarily anyway, he forgot to cry! 

The coming of a child really does change everything! Over the first few months of life a child will change your sleep patterns for the worse; your energy level – also for the worse; your finances – you guessed it; and, eventually, even your capacity to love – which grows beyond your wildest dreams! 

In short, one could describe the arrival of a child as a great interruption

The word interruption comes to us from two Latin words – intero – which means into – and rupere – which means to break. So to interrupt means to break into. And that’s what happens when a child is born! A baby breaks intoyour world and changes everything! 

So it is with the great story we celebrate again during the Advent season! Look again at Matthew’s simple description of how this child broke into the world: 

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 

Have you ever thought about this story from the perspective of an interruption? Think about it: Mary and Joseph are engaged to be married – “betrothed” in the ancient Jewish way. Everyone is looking forward to the great celebration that will be their wedding feast. Joseph is looking forward to bringing his bride into his home and eventually starting a family. Everything is perfect. Then - WHAM! - everything changes with the discovery that before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 

Talk about an interruption! We’re talking interrupted engagement, interrupted plans, interrupted expectations and a completely interrupted life! Joseph had to be thinking, “I didn’t sign up for this!” And with everything in him he probably wished this painful interruption had never happened. 

Yet, from the perspective of 2000 years, we can see that this particular interruption, difficult as it was for Joseph to comprehend at the time, was actually God himself breaking into human history! 

The Bible tells us, 

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman…(Galatians 4:4)

What Joseph had to see as the interruption of all his plans was actually a sovereign and divine interruption that brought salvation into the world.

As you begin this Advent season, notice all the ways that Christmas interrupts everyday routines! Ask God to use these interruptions to remind you of his own great interruption into history – and into your life. Ask him to break into your heart once more with his presence and love!

Pastor Brian Coffey

Friday, November 27

‘Tis the shopping season! If you drove along Randall Road late last night, you would see lines of eager shoppers forming outside of popular electronic stores hoping to snatch the best Black Friday deals. The Thanksgiving turkey is barely digested before people run out the doors to shop, reminding us that Christmas is almost here!

For many little children in our culture, this means a growing anticipation and excitement. For many adults, this brings a sense of panic about all of the shopping and wrapping and mailing that awaits. For still others, the fact that Christmas is just four weeks away brings a sense of relief that the craziness will soon be over for another year. But for those of us who call ourselves Christians, for those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, how are we to respond to the approach the season of Christmas?

What is the right Christian response to Christmas? What should characterize the way we observe this holiday? Is it the spirit of giving? An emphasis on peace and goodwill toward men? Joy and mirth? (I know I could have just said happiness, but I like the sound of the word mirth.) All of these responses are good, but they are not necessarily unique to Christians. Of course, not everyone in our culture stops to reflect on the importance of peace, joy, and generosity at Christmas time, but some folks do. What is the truly Christian response to Christmas?

This Sunday, we will begin our new Advent series titled “Witnesses”. This unique series will be delivered as monologues from four key people in the story of Jesus’ birth. Through this series, we will be examine how each character responded to Jesus’ birth, and then be challenged to consider our own response to the news of Christ’s arrival. You see, I think the truly Christian element of Christmas, and the missing element of the Christmas celebrations in our culture is worship. This was the distinguishing mark of everyone who first encountered the Christ child.

The angels worshiped – “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” - Luke 2:13-14

The shepherds worshiped – “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” - Luke 2:20

The Magi worshiped – “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”  - Matthew 2:11

Mary worshiped – “And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.’” – Luke 1:46-47

Zechariah worshiped – “And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.’” - Luke 1:67-68

Simeon worshiped – “He took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, ‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation.’”  - Luke 2:28-30

There is nothing wrong with putting up decorations, wrapping presents, hanging lights, exchanging gifts, and singing “Jingle Bells” at Christmas time. But apart from worship, all of these things are utterly empty and inadequate responses to the reality of our Savior’s birth! The first priority in all of our celebrating should be worship; everything else should flow out of our hearts of adoration and praise to Jesus. Worship is not merely going to religious ceremonies, or singing religious Christmas carols; it is an attitude of the heart.

Perhaps there is no better way to carry the gratitude in our hearts from Thanksgiving into the Christmas season than to continue in a heart attitude of worship. This Christmas, let us all resolve not to let the cultural consumer monstrosity of this season rob us of our ability to worship Jesus.  

Let’s worship like the shepherds who dropped everything to attend to Christ’s birth.

Let’s worship like the Magi who gave extravagant gifts to the King.

Let’s worship like Mary who treasured and pondered the glory of Christ.

Let’s worship like Simeon who blessed God for giving the world a Savior.

In the words of the hymn we sing this time each year, oh come let us adore Him!

Jeff Frazier

Thursday, November 26

Luke 17:11-19
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.

Many great short stories contain a surprise – that is, an outcome that we don’t see coming, but makes the story memorable.

This brief story, only nine verses in length, actually packs three surprises – each greater than the one before.

The first surprise is that ten lepers are made clean through faith in Jesus. In that day, leprosy was believed to be both some kind of punishment from God and incurable. Yet, these ten afflicted men come to Jesus begging for mercy and go to show themselves to the priests (the only people in that culture who could proclaim them to be clean) trusting only on the word of Jesus. He said so. So they did. And they were healed.

The second surprise is that although ten men were cleansed from the suffering, humiliation and hopelessness of leprosy, only one returned to thank Jesus. Even Jesus himself seems mildly surprised at the missing nine. “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” Jesus asked.

The third surprise doesn’t come across nearly as strongly to us as it would have in that time and place. The great surprise is that the man who came to offer his praise and worship was a Samaritan. Most of us have heard or read about the animosity that existed between Jews and Samaritans in Jesus’ day. Samaritans were considered “unclean” by the Jews and therefore were disqualified from worship in the presence of God. So for this Samaritan and former leper to wind up worshiping at the feet of Jesus is a shocker indeed!

What does this tell us about the Samaritan? What does this tell us about Jesus? What can we learn about ourselves?

It tells us the Samaritan no longer cared about the centuries-old prejudice that rendered him unworthy to worship. He was clean; he was overflowing with gratitude; and he worshiped with both humility and unbridled joy.

It tells us Jesus loves us as we are – leprosy and all – and offers to make us clean again. It tells us Jesus will receive our praise and thanksgiving – no matter what labels we have been placed on us by others.

Today is Thanksgiving Day – what a great time to return to Jesus and offer him our praise and thanksgiving.

Pastor Brian Coffey

Wednesday, November 25

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7

With the red and green lights already sprouting up around my neighborhood, it’s easy to tell that Christmas is coming! And while I look forward with anticipation to the “most wonderful time of the year,” I also suspect that Thanksgiving is the perfect preparation for our celebration of Christ’s birth. While Christmas can at times get all tangled up with our consumer-driven culture, Thanksgiving seems to resist commercialization and remains a profoundly spiritual exercise. It is the giving of thanks that reminds us of the goodness of God and the blessings he has poured out on our lives. It is the giving of thanks that reminds us of God’s love and presence made flesh through the love and presence of family and friends. It is Thanksgiving that prepares us for the celebration of Christmas!

And I believe it is the giving of thanks that will propel us as a church family to prepare the way for God’s future in our church! Week after week I hear stories of people and families whose lives are in the process of gospel transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit. Week after week I see people investing their time, talent and treasure in serving the world in the name of Jesus (gospel impact) and I am so thankful to be part of FBCG!

When we give or serve, our motive must be thanksgiving. We can give our time, talents, and treasure out of duty or obligation or guilt, but the greatest joy comes when we give out of love and thanksgiving!

May you enjoy the joy and peace of Christ as you gather with family and friends tomorrow, and may your hearts be prepared for the celebration of the Advent season!

Thanks for being part of the FBCG family!

Pastor Brian Coffey

Tuesday, November 24

Philippians 4:4-6
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

A number of years ago I came across this story about renowned 19th century Biblical scholar Matthew Henry. It seems Mr. Henry was once robbed by street thugs. He later made this entry into his journal.

Let me be thankful: first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my wallet they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed not I who robbed.

This extraordinary expression of spiritual maturity illustrates the power of thanksgiving in our lives. We can also see what might be called the progression of faith that Paul  talks about in Philippians 4. Notice the flow of Paul’s thought:

Rejoice in the Lord...

Don’t be anxious...

Pray about everything with thanksgiving...

Know the peace of God that guards your heart.

Now it’s helpful to keep in mind that Paul wrote these words from a Roman prison knowing that he might never see freedom again. So Paul knew something about hardship and anxiety. Even so he tells us that joy, thanksgiving and peace begin not with the promise of release from prison, but through knowing Christ.

He says, “Rejoice in the Lord...the Lord is near.” He doesn’t say, “Rejoice because everything is good in your life; or because you got the promotion; or because your favorite team won the game.” He says, “Rejoice in the Lord.”

For Paul, and for Matthew Henry, knowing the presence, grace and promise of Christ was the source of joy. 

Then notice that our relationship with Christ allows us to bring everything to God in prayer with an attitude of thanksgiving. Why is that? How can Paul express gratitude in prison? How can Matthew Henry express gratitude after being mugged?

Paul explains in Romans 8:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

In other words, we can pray with thanksgiving because God is always working for our good, even in the most difficult or painful of circumstances. 

The result is, according to Paul, that our hearts are guarded by the peace of God.

So thanksgiving flows from a relationship with Jesus Christ that transforms our perspective; allowing us to respond to even the most difficult of circumstances with both joy and peace.

Thank you for your word that assures me of your love and grace in all circumstances. Help me to allow your joy to transform my perspective so that I can offer you my thanksgiving in any and all situations. And may your peace guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.


Pastor Brian Coffey

Monday, November 23

This week, 10 Minutes with God will focus on the theme of gratitude and thanksgiving. May our hearts be prepared to give thanks to the Lord for He is good!

Psalm 100:4-5
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

A country farmer was visiting friends in the big city and they all stopped at a restaurant for lunch. When he was served his food, he bowed his head and gave thanks to the Lord. Several hot shot city dudes were sitting at a nearby table and noticed the farmer praying and chirped, “Hey pops, back where you come from does everybody do that before they eat?” The farmer took no offense, but looked at them with a smile and said, “Everybody but the pigs.”

Offering a prayer of thanksgiving before a meal might seem to some to be a kind of quaint habit or a kind of perfunctory ritual, but the Bible suggests that giving thanks is a prerequisite to experiencing and knowing God.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

The ancient writer is saying that we must approach God with both thanksgiving and praise. The flip side of that would be that we cannot enter the presence of God without an attitude of thanksgiving.

Why is thanksgiving so important? Why can’t we even begin to worship until we give thanks? The issue is pride; failure to give thanks reveals an arrogant heart. When we are proud we are unwilling to worship anything but ourselves.

Pride cannot be thankful because pride wants to deserve everything it gets. Consider this meal-time prayer by the animated character of Bart Simpson from an old episode of “The Simpsons”:

“We earned it; we bought it; we made it; thanks for nothing!”

A heart that assumes it deserves blessing is a heart incapable of worship.

But the giving of thanks, properly understood, is the great spiritual antidote to pride; for pride cannot exist in a thankful heart!

Forgive me for assuming I deserve your favor and goodness. Forgive me for the pride that lurks in my heart and keeps me from entering your presence with genuine praise. Teach me the humility of thanksgiving that I might worship you.


Pastor Brian Coffey

Friday, November 20

Jesus taught us that prayer is a relationship with God – and that as His children, we not only have access to God but that we can ask him to meet our daily needs. 

In this passage from Mark, Jesus goes further – teaching us that prayer also gives us access to the power of God.

Mark 11:22
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself in to the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

While we understand that Jesus is not promising to rearrange the topography at our whim – but rather is using a striking metaphor to emphasize the power of God – he does seem to be inviting us to ask not only for our basic needs – but for the “mountains” in our lives to be moved!

Do you have any mountains in your life right now?
Are your mountains comprised of emotions like anger, grief or bitterness? Are your mountains built of strained or broken relationships? Do you have a mountain of financial stress – or perhaps of illness?

Are you ready to trust God with your mountain? Jesus is simply reminding us that God is able to do that which seems impossible to us – and that prayer is what accesses His power.

Take some time to identify the mountains of your life and heart – and take those mountains to God in prayer.

Thursday, November 19

This past Sunday, we looked at the official's interaction with Jesus when he pleaded for healing for his son. He believed that Jesus had the power to heal, but Jesus was calling him to a deeper level of faith. Jesus responds to the official, "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe."

The official looked to Jesus to be a miracle-worker. And while our Messiah has the power over life and death, sickness and health, what He offers to us is so much deeper and eternal.

Who do YOU say that Jesus is?

Take some time to read this well-known poem titled The Incomparable Christ (author unknown) that reminds us to look beyond the gifts Jesus provides to the Giver Himself. Turn this poem back into a prayer of thanksgiving to the One who provided the Ultimate Healing to the official and offers that same hope to us today.  

Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another miracle-worker.  He stands alone on the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed of God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils, as the living personal Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Savior of the world. This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a new creation. He, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the serpent, the Christ promised to Abraham, the Christ of the Exodus from Egypt, the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died, the Christ promised to David when he was king, the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a suffering servant, the Christ predicted through the prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.

This is the Christ of the Bible. This is the Jesus we worship. This is the true Christ of the Christian faith. This is the One in whom we have believed. He and He alone is our Lord and Savior. Millions of Christians unite in worshipping him in every nation on every continent. He is worshipped in Clacutta, India; Osaka, Japan; Sydney, Australia; Brussels, Belgium; Nairobi, Kenya; Islamabad, Pakistan; Quito, Ecuador; Havana, Cuba; La Paz, Bolivia; Toronto, Canada; St. Petersburg, Russia; London, England; Ankara, Turkey; Jerusalem, Israel; Beijing, China; and right here in Geneva Illinois.

This Christ is not a reflection of the current cultural mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father’s Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for your sins and mine.  He is more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible. He and He alone is the Lord.

Oh, that our hearts would sing his praise!  Oh, that we would know the power of his name!  God hasten the day until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Amen. 

Jeff Frazier

Wednesday, November 18

The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. - John 4:50-53

Faith must always rest on the character of God. A man's word is no better than his character. Even if you get a man to sign a contract or agreement, that agreement is no more than a scrap of paper if the man who signed it does not intend to fulfill it. It is no better than the man who makes it. Even in our courts of law and affairs of business this is true. 

This is true on many levels of life. Albert Einstein did not come to the knowledge of relativity by performing a series of experiments which ultimately convinced him that relativity was true. He gradually saw the concept of relativity, and, convinced in his own mind that this was the secret of the physical universe, he performed experiments that he might demonstrate it to others. This is the way of truth. Most people say that “seeing is believing”, but it actually works the other way around, Believing is Seeing!

As C.S. Lewis has famously said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

This is the secret of faith; it rests on the character of Jesus Christ. Either he is telling us the truth, and we can trust what this One who is like no one else who ever appeared in human history says to us, or we must reject him and repudiate him as a self-deceived impostor who attempted to play some cruel joke upon the human race. That is where faith rests. From that ground everything else must follow.  This is what the writer of Hebrews meant when he compared our faith to a ship’s anchor that will hold us fast in the midst of doubt and confusion...

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.  Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.  Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.  - Hebrews 6:13-19

There has never been anyone who trusted in God’s promises and was finally disappointed!

God may delay the visible answers to His promises, because He always answers in his time, not in ours.  We may not see the answer until we’re in heaven. But He is utterly trustworthy to keep His Word. If He has promised eternal salvation to those who place their trust in Jesus, then you can count on it as absolutely true - an anchor for your soul!

Jeff Frazier

Tuesday, November 17

In his book "Prayer: Does it make any difference," Philip Yancey begins a chapter with the following quote from R.S. Thomas: "Prayer like gravel flung at the sky's window, hoping to attract the loved one's attention..."

I wonder if you sometimes experience prayer like that -- because I do. Yes, there are times when I sense the presence of God so fiercely that I can almost feel his breath on the back of my neck. But far more often prayer feels like tossing handfuls of gravel toward heaven hoping for a response. I have long wondered why this is so -- and if others experience prayer in this way -- and, perhaps, if something is wrong with the way I pray.

After more than four decades as a follower of Christ; forty some odd years of praying -- from the simple bedtime prayers of a child, to the self-serving prayers of a young man, to the practical prayers of an adult, to the wordless prayers of a grieving brother, to the pleading prayers of a parent, to the public prayers of a pastor - -I have learned one great truth. And that is that prayer is a mystery.

To think that I can communicate with the creator and sustainer of the universe is both absurd on the one hand and an irresistable urge on the other. To think that God hears my feeble words amidst the great cacophany of this noisy and broken world is equally absurd - and just as irresistable.

Do I understand prayer fully? No, I do not. Do I pray? Absolutely. Do I know how and why God chooses to act on some of my prayers while others seem to go unanswered -- at least from my perspective? No, I do not. Do I continue to ask? Absolutely.

I guess if you push me up against the wall of true confessions and ask me to explain prayer the best I can I would say something like this: "Prayer is wrestling with God in the dark until you feel him wrestling back." That image came to me while reading the story of Jacob wrestling with the divine stranger in Genesis 32 and has stayed with me ever since. Prayer as wrestling with God.

Yancey begins yet another chapter in his book with this quote from Walter Wink:
"Biblical prayer is impertinent, persistent, shameless, indecorous. It is more like haggling in an outdoor bazaar than the polite monologues of the church."

Prayer as throwing gravel at heaven. Prayer as wrestling in the dark. Prayer as haggling at a flea market. Maybe these images help you as they help me - -I hope so. But whatever your experience of prayer has been and is today -- keep praying! Keep tossing gravel. Keep wrestling. Keep haggling. For the God you seek knows what it is to toss handfuls of gravel at us to get our attention -- and what it is to wrestle with us for ownership of our hearts -- and to haggle over the sin that we so readily cling to. But be prepared -- for when God enters the arena of our prayers -- he wrestles and haggles to win. Always.
                   If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your                                                     Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!  - Matthew 7:11
Pastor Brian Coffey

Monday, November 16

Psalm 27:7-9- Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.

"Nothing in the 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." - Calvin Coolidge

I’m getting more convinced to persevere. How about you? Coolidge’s quote can preach and it certainly inspires. If you have not considered writing down those attributes and characteristics of Jesus that you’d like to possess more of please do that today and begin asking, seeking, and knocking for those things that are spiritually good for you!

Luke 11:5-13-Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.'

"Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Luke writes this immediately following his instructions to his disciples on how to pray…using the “Lords Prayer.” It validates the examples that scripture uses to persist. Look back at another…the persistent widow.

Luke 18
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!'"

And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

I really love how the MESSAGE paraphrases verse five…

But because this widow won't quit badgering me, I'd better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I'm going to end up beaten black-and-blue by her pounding.

Now we can’t take that out of context and assume that we can “badger” God into giving us what He does not deem fit or right or at the right time for us. However, Jesus is awesome at using story (parables) to communicate his precepts and paradigms.

I think I can be a bit more like the badgering widow. How about you?

Pastor Bruce McEvoy