|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Character and integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Don’t give in and don’t give up”
Do you remember our discussion from earlier in the month regarding steel and velvet? In that devotional I made the case that men and women of strong character and solid integrity are made of steel and velvet. They have an inner core of steel in that they have unshakable convictions based upon Biblical principles that they will not deviate from. Their moral and ethical conduct, and their determination to honor God by how they live, is non-negotiable.
But that inner core of steel is wrapped in an outer covering of velvet. Such a person is kind, compassionate, and loving, they’re quick to show mercy and eager to extend grace. People see Jesus in them. I’m inspired by people like that.
And also, because of that inner core of steel, they are people who do not give up despite the difficulty of their circumstances. That’s the kind of person Paul was describing in 2 Corinthians 4:8 (above). Listen to what else Paul had to say about that person in verses 16-18, “Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
I have a dear brother in Christ who is facing a huge medical challenge right now. Tests are still being conducted but it has the potential to be life-threatening. But my friend is tough, and he is one cool customer. He’s a retired law enforcement officer who had an entire career filled with challenges and dangers. He has had guns pointed at him and he has been shot at. Once, he had to shoot someone else. He has dealt with many very bad people and many dangerous situations. He has also battled and defeated cancer five times. Now, as he faces this challenge, he is doing so with calmness and confidence. He said to me, “Pastor, I’m going to do my part in this. I will take care of myself, I will get the tests and treatments they tell me to get, I will pray about it, I will have my family and friends and church pray about it, and then it will be whatever it is going to be. I’m not going to worry about it.” Did I mention that he’s tough and he’s one very cool customer? He’s also a great man of faith – steel and velvet.
People like my friend don’t give in or give up just because things get a little tough. One of my favorite personal sayings, and one that I try to live by is, “Nothing is over until you give up.” So, that’s my word of encouragement for all of us today. Don’t give in and don’t give up.
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