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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Add perseverance

by Pam Roth
“…make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance…”  2 Peter 1:5a-6a (NIV).

This past month, we have been looking at perseverance which is one of the ten responses of The Nehemiah Response Model.  Often when we think of perseverance, our mind goes to stories of overcoming a catastrophic event or a major obstacle.  But, what about the mundane situations that require us to persevere? 

  • parents with a colicky newborn 
  • someone with a chronic illness 
  • students longing for graduation 
  • sports teams competing for the prize 
  • civil servants that protect their community 
  • couples going through a difficult time in their marriage 
  • medical personnel who have our health in their best interest
The list above is just a few examples of those that may be persevering on a daily basis; but their efforts go unnoticed.  A mother standing watch over her feverish child throughout the night will not make the morning headlines.  Nor will many of the people that I have mentioned be heralded as a modern day hero; however, they continue to persevere in their daily lives.

This morning, I saw a perfect example of mundane perseverance.  A young, injured bird was on the shoreline of the beach; and the waves from the Gulf were getting closer and closer to the injured bird.  But then - yes, but then, there was a woman standing patiently waiting for the authorities to arrive to rescue the bird.  When I first noticed the bird, the woman’s  husband was standing along side her; but then, he grew impatient and like others passing by, went on about his way down the beach.  Vigilantly, she stood on the shore...watching the waves and waiting on animal control.

The fact is, this scenario was only one hour out of this lady’s day; but, she persevered.   She remained steadfast; and when the authorities arrived, they allowed her to help with the rescue of the injured bird.  I love that!  

What are you going through right now that no one else or very few people know about?
When you have persevered, how have your grown?
How would faith, goodness, knowledge and self-control add to your perseverance?

Feel free to leave a comment.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Run with perseverance the race

by Nelson Roth
A year ago today my dad passed away – from this life to his eternal home in heaven.  The picture shown here, from fifty years ago, stirs a lot of memories of summer fishing vacations when my dad gave mom a break from the daily family cooking.

Dad was a farmer and an example for me of our writing topic for this month – perseverance.  Perseverance is one of the ten responses made by Nehemiah.  Perseverance, along with the other responses, make up The Nehemiah Response Coaching Model  that when applied helps us when we are in a transition – to get from where we are to where we want to go.

Lessons that I learned from my dad about the rare quality of perseverance line up with what Paul writes to us about in Hebrews chapter 12:1-3, where each of us are encouraged to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Two areas stand out in my dad’s life that makes him a model for perseverance to me.  His steadiness and consistency as a Midwestern corn farmer for fifty years; and in the way he cared for mom when her health began to fail.

What was it that kept my dad going even after one or two years of poor crops due to lack of rain one year and then too much water the next?  How was he able to sacrifice everything personally and care for mom over her final years before failing health took her life?

Perseverance takes a long-term perspective. It focuses on the future, rather than the immediate. It goes beyond what is seen. Perseverance fixes its eyes on what is unseen.

My dad taught me perseverance by his patience and faithfulness.  In hard times, he kept believing and trusting.  He remained faithful, even when there were ample opportunities to give up.

In Galatians 6:9, Paul said, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

What is it that keeps you going in your difficult times?  How do you “not grow weary and lose heart” - Hebrews 12:3?

Here are three encouraging teaching points from the passage in Hebrews about how to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us”:

  • Draw inspiration from those who have gone before you.  “We’re surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.”  Who can you look to for inspiration?
  • Be prepared for struggles along the way.  “Throw off everything that hinders.”
  • Focus your attention in the right place.  “Fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
Life is more like a marathon than a wind sprint.  How’s it going for you?  Are you running with perseverance the race marked out for you?

Feel free to leave a comment below.

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In my dad's memory, there is an album posted on my Facebook page.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Like sea glass, perseverance produces authenticity

by Pam Roth
James 1:2 – 6, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, but he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

A couple of years ago, we drove to a nearby community to take in their annual Seafood Festival.  We were all excited about our outing…the sun was shining, there was a nice breeze coming off the Gulf, and frankly, we love to eat seafood.

As soon as we entered the ticket gate, we could sense the excitement that a festival creates.  Food vendors were encouraging people to stop and try their delectable seafood dishes.  People were laughing and relaxing.  Families were together playing and shopping at vendor booths.  The air was filled with music by jazz and blues musicians and we were taking it all in.

While we were walking through the vendors’ tents, we admired the artwork by some of the local artists.  One artist had taken sea glass and created beautiful images framed in old wooden windows.  I was drawn in particular to one of the windows.  The artist chose a palette of various shades of turquoise blue.  The colors were refreshing, calming, and inviting and as we walked away, I had this thought… “Our lives are much like sea glass.”

Some of us seem to be as common as a soda bottle and others are as rare and delicate as a piece of Depression glass or a fine piece of China but all of us have value.  Although, we are all unique by our color, size, and shape, most if not all of us have one thing in common…we have been tossed around in the waves of a disturbing sea of trials and buffed by the sands and pressures of life that transform us into something beautiful.  Through perseverance, what was is no longer.  We are constantly changing and hopefully for the better.  

Now here’s the tricky part about buying a piece of artwork made from sea glass… “How can you tell if it is authentic?”  Well, the first clue is usually the price.  Depending on how rare the color might be, the greater the cost.  Did you know that orange sea glass is only found in one out of 10,000 pieces of sea glass.  Secondly, what was the process in which the sea glass was polished?  Did the glass go through all of the natural elements of rough seas, major storms, and deep, dark, and cold ocean waters or was the glass tumbled in a rock tumbler by some manufacturer of artificial sea glass?  Only the master collector can see the scars and depressions etched into the authentic sea glass.

Just like the process that genuine sea glass goes through, there is no short cut to authenticity for us.  Only the Master can create a beautiful and genuine image from our lives.  We are valuable and He loves us.  He, like the sea glass artist, wants to help us find a place that is inviting, calming, and refreshing to our soul.

It would be awesome to hear and learn from your experiences.
Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The halfway mark of your goal can be a critical time

by Nelson Roth
Opposition to your vision can be challenging and overtake you.  Also, all your hard work can cause discouragement to rise up when you realize all that there is yet to do.

What can we learn from Nehemiah?  In
The Nehemiah Response Model the action response is followed by perseverance.  To persevere is one of the ten responses of The NRM™.


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Here is Nehemiah's situation.  In chapter four, verse six, Nehemiah is at the halfway mark of reaching the goal.  Opposition rises up from people who did not want to see the wall rebuilt.  And in verse ten, the people were discouraged - "the strength of the laborers is giving out."

What can you do in a similar critical time to persevere?

Nehemiah's response was to persevere and we see two ways he kept the momentum rolling:
  • First, he kept the focus on the original vision which was to rebuild the wall. He reminded himself and everyone else what it was that they were called to do.
  • Second, they persevered with a faith response - "for the people worked with all their heart."  Their faith was active.  James 2:20, "faith without works is dead."
So, don't be surprised when opposition comes to challenge you in what you've set out to accomplish.  Keep your focus on the vision, not the opposition.  What are you called to do?  Keep the faith and have active faith.  To work with your "whole heart" is to understand why you must reach your goal.  Nehemiah and the people he was working with were doing more than building a wall; they were restoring God's glory and bringing blessing to their families (Nehemiah 4:14).  Why is your vision important and why must it come to pass?

What does ridicule and criticism do to you?
What is your response when opposition or obstacles threaten your advance forward?
Why is God's vision for you important?

It would be awesome to hear and learn from your experiences.
Feel free to leave a comment below.

Discover more about RM Coaching and the Nehemiah Response Model:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Persevere and bring home the gold

by Pam Roth
When I think about perseverance, I am reminded of the U.S. men’s swim team when they brought home the gold from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.  Cullen Jones, Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak, and Garrett Weber-Gale made up the team of swimmers for the men’s 400m freestyle relay.  Diverse in ethnicity as well as age, these men had one thing in common -  they were not going to give up…they were going to persevere and bring home the gold.

The French were favored to win the meet and had even said that they would “smash the Americans.”  But the tide was turned on Alain Bernard and his team from France when Jason Lezak, the oldest man on the American team, literally kicked it in to high gear and won the race by eight-hundredths of a second breaking the world record of 3:12.23.

The United States was trailing France by a little more than half a second at the end of the third leg of the race.  Lezak, dove in, swimming against the 100m free style world record-holder, Alain Bernard.  The French were in the lead at the final turn and then Lezak and Bernard were swimming neck-and-neck when thirty-two year old Jason Lezak had a sudden burst of energy, launching forward and reaching the wall in a split second before Bernard.

It was an amazing race.  Millions of Americans must have been screaming right along with Michael Phelps when they saw the results.  I know I was up on my feet cheering the team on and yelling, “Amazing…they won, they won!”  There is truly something inspirational about seeing someone come from behind and winning against all odds.

In their song, More Than Fine, the Christian group Switchfoot sings these words:

I want more than just ok, more than just ok.

I’m not giving up, giving up, not giving up now.
I’m not giving up, giving up, not backing down.

More than fine, more than bent on getting by.
More than fine, more than just ok.

Every time I hear those words, I want to break out running like an Olympian and in my mind; I have this image of running up seventy-two stairs to the Philadelphia Museum just like Rocky Balboa did in the original Rocky movie.  Some how those words give me the extra push I need to keep on keeping on…to reach my goal.

What motivates you?  The team you’re on?  Someone challenging you?  A song?  The desire to reach a goal?  Or maybe you are like Jason Lezak, the oldest member of the swim team, you want to prove it to yourself that you can reach the goal and win.  Well, what ever it is, persevere like the U.S. men’s swim team and bring home the gold.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

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