In Between Sundays

Precious Pearl of Patience

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Nothing truly worth doing will happen instantly. There has to be a struggle before there can be triumph. There has to be trial before there is victory. That’s why watching sports is so amazing. There is a struggle to the finish line and the sweet taste of victory is what everyone is after. However, often times we have an end goal in mind for something we want and we abandon the goal in the midst of the process. This happens for various reasons. If we stick with it, we might find a pearl at the end of the process.

Oysters. They are interesting creatures. Have you ever wondered how they produce pearls? Oysters try and reject grains of sand that come into their shell. After much frustration and persistence of not being able to get the grain of sand out of their shell, the oyster begins to coat the grain of sand with a liquid that calcifies into a pearl.

You see, the fruit of the oyster’s frustration is a pearl. Our culture of “I have to have it now” puts us at odds with what God has for us. Typically, we don’t eradicate sin from our lives in one day. It’s a process. We don’t have Bible knowledge the day after becoming a Christian. It’s a process. We don’t become spiritually obedient to the Lord in everything we do right away. It’s a process. Stick with the process.There is no destination without that process and struggle. We too often want the mountain top experiences without ever going through the valley. The reality is, the valley is where everything grows and animals thrive. Although the mountain top has amazing views that create awe and wonder to everyone who sees, the valley is where the rain falls, gives life, and allows everything to grow. Trust the process that God is for your good and that all things work together for those who love God (Romans 8:28).

Before Jesus could create an empty tomb, He had to go through the agony of Good Friday. Be patient. Keep praying. Don’t give up!

Posted by Clayton Havelka with

Noah—Peer pressure isn’t for kids

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Noah is a fascinating fellow in the Bible. If you read between the lines of his life, you see a man with strong character. He was a man of diligence, persistence, and a healthy mind. Noah was called by God to build a really big boat in the desert. I imagine that if God told me to build a boat in the desert because of the rain that is coming, I would have too many questions to count. Noah endured with this promise from God for 120 years. Think about this. Even if you think the 120 years is a metaphor, the point is the amount of ridicule he endured for 120 years would have been insurmountable. How ridiculous is it that an old man and his family is building a boat in the desert because God, of all people, told him to build one? From the perspective of others, he is either insane or on to something.

I think the devil might ask him in year 67, “Do you really think this is worth it?” The wonderful thing about Noah is that he never gave in and never gave up. He consecrated himself and created an absolute for himself. He was going to obey God regardless of what people said or thought and he was going to stay true to the person God called him to be. See, the peer pressure that Noah surely faced for all of those years is nothing new.

Often we speak of peer pressure for teenagers. They are trying to find their identity and can be easily influenced by the entrapments of what might be a great time. But adults find this peer pressure too; it just becomes far more expensive. It’s a keeping up with the “Jones’” type of mentality: thinking that a person has to have a status symbol that will offer power and prestige. In reality, the person puts on a front of bragging or gossip so the attention is on something else and off of their troubled mind. This is the person willing to compromise their core values just for the pat on the back from the boss or family member. It also looks like pressure from others on how you should raise your kids.

Peer pressure is nothing new. Satan finds himself using the same strategy for us today as he did in the garden in Genesis 3: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.   You choosing to follow God and not money or status is the same as Noah building a boat in the desert. Noah was thinking long term and how it would affect his family. We do the same. We make decisions in the here and now with heaven in mind. Obeying God and growing in your love for Jesus will cost you something. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

Posted by Clayton Havelka with