Has it ever occurred to you that nothing new has ever occurred to God? We can take comfort in the knowledge that God has no new revelations, no sudden insights, no lapses in attention or judgment. God is aware of all that is before us and encourages us, through scripture, to stand fast, to persevere in the one mainstay of our lives—our faith.
There was a stowaway aboard Ernest Shackleton’s ship. Eighteen-year-old Perce Blackborow hid onboard the Endurance for three days before being discovered at sea. Shackleton was outraged at the young man’s presence and scolded him vigorously before declaring that on such expeditions, stowaways were the first ones eaten should the crew fall on hard times. Blackborow retorted good naturedly, “They’d get a lot more meat off you, sir,” and won the famous explorer over.* The young man not only became a valued member of the crew, he was given the honor of being the first one to embark onto dry land on the crew’s way to being saved. When the time came, he was awarded the Polar Expedition Medal along with “legitimate” crew members. He was no longer a stowaway.
It takes courage to grow. It takes courage to continue in the face of defeat or rebuke. It takes determination to imagine yourself other than what you’ve always been. As Christians we are continuously encouraged to grow and evolve in our faith. We have never “arrived.” There’s always room to stretch and expand our lives in Christ.
*Roland Huntford, Shackleton (New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers, 1998), 384.
How are you challenging yourself to grow in Christ? Do you make the most of the opportunities that present themselves? How can you continue to develop and grow? Ask God today to show you where and how God is calling you to grow in your faith.
The inability to have a child brings pain to many today, and this was equally true in ancient times. In that context it was sometimes even worse, for Peninnah openly ridicules Hannah for being unable to conceive. But as a result of Hannah's desperate, heartfelt prayer, God blesses her with a son, Samuel, who will become a powerful prophet. Hannah then rejoices in a God who exalts the poor and needy. Hannah provides an example of the boldness with which we also can approach God now because of Christ’s sacrifice. The destruction of Jerusalem is the focus of the passage in Mark. Jesus here predicts the demolition of the Temple and the city, which the Romans executed in 70 ce.
Read 1 Samuel 1:4-20. How do you persist in prayer when your prayer seems unanswered for a long time?
Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10. How do you express your joy and thanks when God answers your prayer?
Read Hebrews 10:11-25. What helps you to persevere in the practice of your faith?
Read Mark 13:1-8. What signs make you anxious about the future? What helps you to hold on to hope?
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