How to Hang On

Hang On
Hang On

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. — 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

Is life getting you down? Do you feel like you’re at the end of your rope? Here are seven Biblical principles on how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Principle One: I must not forget God loves me.

  • Don’t lose heart! – Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. — 2 Corinthians 4:1 (NIV)
  • I am what I am – But by the grace of God I am what I am, … — 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)
  • It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are! – Remember our performance does not give us our worth.
  • God’s grace gives us the power to start over. – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. — Romans 8:37

Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

  • Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
  • We must have integrity.
  • We must have character.

Principle Three: It is not about me.

  • For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. — 2 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)
  • Your ego will only take you so far.

Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

  • But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
  • We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Principle Five: Love, love, love.

  • All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)

Principle Six: Take time to refresh, renew, and revive.

  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. — 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)

Principle Seven: I must keep my eye on the goal.

  • For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

Remember — You cannot create if you do not face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.

Troubles are Temporary

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Have you ever felt like your problems were too big to handle? Have you ever felt life is hopeless? Have you felt like you can’t deal another day with your [enter your illness here]? I know I have. We need to remember our troubles are temporary. In Christ, our glory is eternal. Today’s devotional is a reminder why we should never give up.

Today’s Bible Verse:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

What the verse means:

Today’s Bible passage tells us why we should never give up. We see that while our bodies are dying our spirit is renewed every day. We learn that however big our problems are in Christ they are small. The present troubles of our chronic illness will not last forever. They will actually produce a legacy for us in the glory that outweighs them and will last forever. We shouldn’t look at our present troubles but rather we should turn our eyes upon Jesus. Our Earthly troubles will pass but the things we presently cannot see will last forever.

Praying using the verses:

  1. Heavenly Father, we pray that we do not lose heart as we deal with our chronic illness.
  2. Lord Jesus, we know that while our outer body is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed by you days by day. God, we know this affliction is but for a moment in eternity’s clock and that you have greater things in store for us.
  3. God, we know this affliction is but for a moment in eternity’s clock and that you have greater things in store for us.
  4. Help us to not dwell on our present circumstances but to focus on the future have in Jesus Christ.
  5. Pray, we would continue to have the godly attitude that only comes from you as we face life day by day.

Picture Source: By Smack (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Page URL; File URL; Modifications by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Compassion

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Suffering a chronic illness affects people in different ways. Depression may come to reside with some people. Other persons can become bitter. Withdrawal from friends and family can occur with some. For the Believer in Jesus Christ, it often mellows our heart to make us more compassionate. The chronic illness allows us empathy and often becomes the point of rapport where we can minister to others now walking down the pathway we have recently traversed.

Today’s Bible Verse:

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV), “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

What the verse means:

The verses are a reminder of what a wonderful God we have. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy. He is the one who comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. Why does he do this? He does this where we can help other. When family, friends, or coworkers are troubled, needing our support, sympathy, and encouragement, we can pass on to them the help and comfort God has given us.

Praying using the verse:

1. Heavenly Father, we praise you for how wonderful you are.
2. We acknowledge you are the Father of our Lord Jesus.
3. We proclaim you as the one who wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in hardships and trials.
4. Thank you for teaching us how to comfort others by your example to us where we can give sympathy and encouragement.

Photo Source: Pixaby with modifications by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Exercise and The Writer

I found it at the used bookstore and couldn’t resist taking it off the shelf. It’s just the kind of book I would love to have in my library. And the collection of words was half-price!

Yes, I’m a book junkie and was in a “book house” feeding my addiction to hold, caress, and smell a print book. Even in the age of Kindle and ebooks, I love the feel and aroma of a print book, even an old book. I’ll never forget the wonderment I felt when I first saw my name on the spine of a print book.

On Monday I walked six miles with other aging walkers at my local climate controlled shopping mall. I am walking five to six miles a day since my retirement the end of August. I guess I have earned the title of mall walker.

It was fun watching the mature and motherly do their daily workout. They seemed to be the only two groups walking at the mall. I bet you can guess which group I belonged to.

Yes, I know walking is a lot of work. It took me two hours and twenty-five minutes to walk what I could run in thirty-six minutes only forty-one years ago when I was a US Army officer jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. When I gazed at my feet I thought of the nearly one-thousand dollar investment I had in my custom made prescription orthotics from the podiatrist that was inside my SAS walking shoes.

As I write working on a nonfiction and fiction book daily I know I already have more to do each day than there are hours in the day. Exercising was an afterthought. After a  scare with my heart and by my cardiologist in July and August that was underlined by a recent survive I completed for author Joanna Penn on writers and the writer’s health, I am making exercise a major priority in my life.

The Apostle Paul taught in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (The Living Bible), “May the God of peace himself make you entirely pure and devoted to God; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept strong and blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again.” I’ve often imagined Jesus and his disciple talking and laughing as they walked along the dusty roads of Israel. I can see the disciples shaking their head trying to understand and Jesus laughing with a contagious laugh when they did not understand the master teacher’s parable and were begging for clarification.

I’m sure their walking helped them to relax and have a clear mind. My walking is doing the same for me. Yet, like the disciples, I sometimes have to ask for the Father to help me understand the teaching found in his holy word, the Bible.

Are you making time to exercise? As the verse says we need to keep our spirit, soul, and body strong. Exercise will help. And with a strong spirit, soul, and body you will have the clarity of thought to write and maybe one day see your name on the spine of a print book.

 

Protection

As I face the challenges of applying a yucky tasting prescription steroid gel inside my mouth twice a day and using a compounded prescription “magic mouthwash” that has a cocktail of four different prescriptions I find myself growing weary.

Remembering to use the magic mouthwash at the right times is critical. Swishing and spitting after meals, not before meals is essential where I don’t swallow the mixture’s medicine with food or drink. It is not for internal use. The steroid gel is applied to gauze and then placed inside the mouth in the appropriate location for fifteen minutes.

Even under a physician’s care, it was hard for me to place something in my mouth marked external use only. After removing the gauze the mouth feels like I still have the gauze inside of the mouth for about an hour. Plus there is that terrible taste. Add to that I made the mistake of going to a forum on the disease and treatment. It was scary as I read about people claiming to have lost the sense of taste from using the medication. It made me cry out for God’s protection.

Today’s Bible verse:

Psalm 3: 3-4 King James Version (KJV), “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.”

What the verse means:

What the verse is saying in today’s English is that God shields me like a force field. His protection is three hundred and sixty degrees. around me.  In Christ, I am both grounded in the reality of the situation and able to hold our head high. I know I am not alone. With all my strength I shout to the Lord. My cries do not go unanswered. He voice thunders His answer from His holy mountain. 

Praying using the verse:

  1. Heavenly Father, I pray to You and You alone. I confess You are our shield.
  2. Lord Jesus, You are our glory.
  3. Thank you for being the lifter of our head.
  4. We rejoice knowing we can cry to You and You answer our cries.

Photo Source: Francisque Millet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Page URLFile URL.

Hell’s Highway by George Koskimaki

George Koskimaki was 101st Airborne Division Commanding General, Major General Maxwell Taylor’s radio operator. He wrote the three-book history of the 101st Airborne during World War Two. Hell’s Highway: Chronicle of the 101st Airborne Division in the Holland Campaign, September – November 1944 is the second book in the series. The book focuses on Operation Market Garden which began on 17 September 1944 and concluded in the month of November 1944.

I had previously read Cornelius Ryan’s “A Bridge Too Far”, Stephen Ambrose’s “Band of Brothers” and “Citizen Soldiers”, Robert Kershaw’s “It Never Snows in September: The German View of Market-Garden and the Battle of Arnhem, September 1944”, Martin Middlebrooks’s “Arnhem 1944: The Airborne Battle” (focusing on the British specifically at the Arnhem sector), and the 82nd Airborne Commanding General, Major General James Gavin’s “On to Berlin.” All of the books gave good presentations and different points of view of Operation Market Garden. George Koskimaki’s book is based on interviews with more than six hundred paratroopers journals the soldiers’ intense personal accounts. It gives the vivid previously untold versions of the Screaming Eagles’ valiant struggle.

Hell’s Highway gives us something not covered in the other books. It tells of the Dutch people and members of the underground and their liberation after five years of oppression by the Nazis. It shares how they have never forgotten America’s airborne heroes and how the 101st endangered and even sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the Netherlands and Europe.

While some readers may find the book hard or even tedious to get through because of the detail, I did not. The personal accounts gave vitality to the story. It kept it flowing instead of reading like a military after action report. Mr. Koskimaki did a superb job of telling the history the 101st Airborne Division during Operation Market Garden.

The book is just right for beginners and experts of the 101st Airborne Division. The three books George Koskimaki wrote on the 101stAirborne Division are 1) D-Day with the Screaming Eagles, 2) Hell’s Highway: Chronicle of the 101st Airborne Division in the Holland Campaign, September – November 1944, and 3) Battered Bastards of Bastogne.

I highly recommend the book.

Worry

Within the last year, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. No, it isn’t life threatening though it sometimes develops into cancer.

What’s the disease you ask? It is oral lichen planus.

I won’t get into the sickness, but I will share how I am dealing the challenges. While I am under a physician’s care, my focus will be on the spiritual. I am a Christian. My Christian faith is foundational for managing the emotional challenges.

I find comfort from reading the Holy Bible and applying the Bible verses to my life and praying using the Bible verse(s) as my prayer.

Today’s Bible verse:

Matthew 6:34 (King James Version), “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

What the verse means:

What the verse is saying in today’s English is give your entire attention to God. Look for what He is doing in your life today. With the focus in the here and now we’re able to not get worried or worked up over what may or may not happen tomorrow. There’s a reason why we shouldn’t get worked up. The reason? God will help you and me deal with whatever comes our way, no matter how challenging or difficult they trials are.

Praying using the verse:

  1. Father in Heaven, help us to focus on today and see You and Your activity in our life.
  2. Lord, help us not to get too worried or concerned about what may or may not happen tomorrow. Teach us how to trust in You and let You take control of our life.
  3. We thank you for the promise that you will help us deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
  4. We ask for the grace to handle today and we trust tomorrow to the Lord.

Photo Source: Pixaby