Endurance by Steve Baker

Endurance

Today I’m posting a devotional from O Taste and See. My friend, Steve Baker, wrote these devotionals based on the core needs I teach about often and that are taught in my book, Five to Thrive. He has seen their importance and wanted devotionals as another way of helping parents and children meet their needs in healthy ways.

Choosing which one to share today was easy – Endurance! The definition and accompanying Scriptures will inspire you today as we continue living in this challenging time! A friend told me today that the word she’s been using to describe it is “bizarre.” I agree with her.

Steve shares a story in this devotional that will sound bizarre. I enjoyed it! You will, too. You may want to do his “taste test” or talk about what you’ve already endured during the stay-at-home orders. I pray your discussion is rich and helpful for the future.

ENDURANCE – the ability to do something difficult for a long time, or put up with pain and suffering that continues for a period of time

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

Scripture Text: Isaiah 50:5-7

Can you imagine how devastating a situation it would be if the Lord Jesus Christ had stopped along the way to Calvary and quit? What if after having been beaten and ridiculed by Roman soldiers, while carrying the heavy cross up the Via Dolorosa, Jesus called out to His Heavenly Father to end the torture and choose a different way to save mankind?

We would be eternally lost, for as scripture declares, “there is none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved,”… “and there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood.”  Thank goodness as Isaiah describes in Isaiah 50, Jesus set His face as a flint and went through with God’s plan to be our Savior. The author of Hebrews said it well when he stated in Hebrews 12:2 that Jesus is, “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”.  Jesus endured. He stuck it out because He wanted to please His Father. He persisted because He loved us enough to want to redeem us back to a right relationship with our Creator. He kept on going because He counted it a joy to defeat Satan, destroy sin, and rescue mankind.

Jesus’ endurance is a motivation for us when we face temptations, trials, and life challenges. I read an amazing story in a book titled The Greatest Sports Stories Never Told by Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo. The true story of Ron Necciai epitomizes endurance. Ron Necciai set the world record for the most strikeouts in a professional baseball game. The year was 1952 and Ron was a lanky 19-year-old playing minor league professional ball in Bristol, Tennessee. Ron had previously quit pitching because he hit a batter once and broke his ribs. Since then, Ron was nervous pitching and his stomach would tie up in knots. However, his manager convinced him to try and pitch again.

On May 13, 1952, Ron began pitching against the Welch Miners. After the first three innings he had struck out eight batters and gotten one batter to ground out to the shortstop. His stomach was hurting so badly that he asked the manager to start warming up a replacement pitcher. The manager replied, “You’re doing fine just hang in there.” Ron did. Despite his nervous stomach and growing anxiety caused by the roar of the crowd, he closed in on surpassing the previous record of 25 strikeouts in a 9-inning game.  He struck out the next 19 batters with amazing accuracy. The only difficulty along the way took place in the 9th inning. The leadoff batter had two strikes and then popped up a foul ball behind the catcher. Rather than catch it for the out, the catcher dropped it on purpose just so Ron could continue striking out the side and go for the record. Ron finished that batter off on the very next pitch. He struck out the second batter. Then the third batter of the inning swung and missed on his third strike, but the catcher missed the ball and it rolled to the backstop. It was recorded as a strikeout for the pitcher, but not an out since the batter reached base on a passed ball error. Ron struck out the last batter causing him to have struck out four batters in the 9th inning. Ron’s incredible performance is still listed as the most famous minor league record.

Whatever we may be facing in life, whether it is a difficult job performance, a game challenge, trials of suffering, or temptations from the world, we are enabled by God’s Holy Spirit to endure if we simply seek the Lord. Paul meant that when he wrote to the Philippians. “For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which come through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” God longs to strengthen you and help you to endure is sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” that you might know Him more closely and that He might display His righteousness in you.

Taste Test:

Some board games seem to take forever. Some challenges require a lot of endurance.

Choose a suitable challenge for your family that would tax your current level of patience and endurance. Give it a try.

  • Play that board game that takes half the night to finally get a winner, with everyone staying up to congratulate the champion.
  • Run that 5K or 10K together.
  • Tackle that garage-cleaning project.

Scraping the Plate:

Read Isaiah 50:5-7 and 53:3-12. Discuss how much Jesus endured as this passage prophetically described Jesus’ death and suffering. Notice how, according to verse 10 of Isaiah 53, it was God’s will to bring prosperity through Jesus’ suffering. How have we benefitted or prospered because of Jesus’ death? Would we have been blessed to have Him intercede for us if He had not endured?

Country Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes:

Knowing that Jesus was willing to endure all that He went through to accomplish our salvation, gives us the security of His love and the faithful fulfillment of that saving work.

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Steve Baker and his wife, Joyce are two of Kathy’s thought-leaders. They work closely together. Steve has served in ministry for almost 40 years. With his heart for discipleship, he has worked as a senior pastor, associate pastor, teacher, coach, and hospice chaplain. Steve has a passion for families, mentoring believers, and discipling parents to walk in this world humbly and boldly as warriors sharing the powerful message of the gospel to all people.