Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

Jesus is the Reason for the Season
by Rev. Greg Schermerhorn

At this time of year, many people wonder, “who was this Jesus?”  This is a good thing.  Christmas has not completely lost its significance to the commercial holiday that it has become.

Today, we will look at the babe in the manger to see who He IS and what His significance was then and still is today.  Let’s start our study in Luke.
Luke 2:1–14 (NKJV)
2 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Nearly all of us have heard this story before, the story of Jesus’ birth.  Even the children’s cartoon “Charlie Brown Christmas” tells this story.  This is the Jesus that the world is OK with knowing.  The world is not afraid of the baby Jesus, nor do they respect Him.  Just look at the treatment of our Savior in the movie Talladega Nights.  NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby prays to the “Baby Jesus” to bless a family meal.  Why?  Jesus was “powerless” and non-threatening as a baby. 


This is why God chose to send His Son to Earth as a baby…so He would be non-threatening.  God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to have His Son become incarnate flesh so that we could relate to Him and understand who He was and who He is!

Hear this next statement very carefully:  Jesus was not created by God to be our Savior.  Jesus was and still is God!  Let’s take a look at the Gospel of John.
John 1:1–3 (NKJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

Jesus is the Word!  Jesus was present with God before any of creation existed.  John makes clear that Jesus was present and active during the creation of the world.

Jesus set aside His divine prerogatives and literally put on flesh and blood so that He could dwell among us.  This allowed Him to reveal God to us in a way we could better understand.  He also provided the way of salvation for mankind.  Simply put, Jesus was born to die.
John 1:14 (NKJV)
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This incarnation where God became human flesh is the greatest part of the Christmas story!  God literally put on a human body.  You could think of it like one of us putting on a coat!  This incarnation set the stage for Jesus to interact with humanity on a personal level.  Jesus experienced the whole of the human condition, except for sin!  He experienced hunger, pain, temptation, sorrow, need…all of the things that we ourselves experience.
Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)
15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus made clear the purpose of His ministry to mankind, the purpose for His incarnation.
Luke 19:10 (NKJV)
10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Luke 9:56a (NKJV)
56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.

Jesus came to point the way to God the Father.  He came to be the final atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus came so that we might have life, eternal life with God.
John 14:6 (NKJV)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd and His people as sheep. 
John 10:7–18 (NKJV)
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

This illustration Jesus used of the Good Shepherd and His sheep describes His relationship to us very well.  It describes His purpose in coming to Earth and living among us.  It describes His goal for us to have restored fellowship with the Godhead.

The babe in the manger in Bethlehem 2000 years ago is the Savior of the world.  This is this same Jesus who existed for all eternity as the second member of the Godhead.  This same Jesus bore all of the sins of humanity on His shoulders as He hung on the cross of Calvary.  This same Jesus is coming back for the saints at the rapture.  This same Jesus is coming back to Earth in victory at the end of time.  This same Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords!

Philippians 2:10–11 (NKJV)
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The greatest gift of all time has been given to us all, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Why?  Because God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world…that’s us!
John 3:16–18 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

This brings us full circle back to where we started.  God loved us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to do the impossible for us…save us from our sins.  We cannot do it on our own.  We can only do it through the sinless Son of God, Jesus.  He is one who did all of the work for us.  We just have to receive it!  It is really as easy as A…B…C.
·        Admit to God that you are a sinner. 
o   Repent of your sins and turn away from them.
·        Believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He has paid the price or penalty for your sins. 
o   Receive His gift of forgiveness.
·        Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior

This Christmas season, please take the opportunity to share the greatest Gift humanity has ever received with your family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances.  There is no easier time of the year to share Jesus than CHRISTmas!  It will make an eternity’s worth of difference in their life!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rebuke of a Nation: Call for a Return to God’s Righteousness

Rebuke of a Nation: Call for a Return to God’s Righteousness
By Rev. Greg Schermerhorn

3  Israel was holiness [something set apart from ordinary purposes, dedicated] to the Lord, the firstfruits of His harvest [of which no stranger was allowed to partake]; all who ate of it [injuring Israel] offended and became guilty; evil came upon them, says the Lord.
7  And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and good things. But when you entered, you defiled My land and made My heritage an abomination [detestable and loathsome].
11  Has a nation [ever] changed its gods, even though they are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory [God] for that which does not profit.
12  Be astonished and appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked and shrivel up with horror, says the Lord [at the behavior of the people].
13  For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the Fountain of living waters, and they have hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns which cannot hold water.
19  Your own wickedness shall chasten and correct you, and your backslidings and desertion of faith shall reprove you. Know therefore and recognize that this is an evil and bitter thing: [first,] you have forsaken the Lord your God; [second,] you are indifferent to Me and the fear of Me is not in you, says the Lord of hosts.
20  For long ago [in Egypt] I broke your yoke and burst your bonds [not that you might be free, but that you might serve Me] and long ago you shattered the yoke and snapped the bonds [of My law which I put upon you]; you said, I will not serve and obey You! For upon every high hill and under every green tree you [eagerly] prostrated yourself [in idolatrous worship], playing the harlot.
21  Yet I had planted you [O house of Israel] a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned into degenerate shoots of wild vine alien to Me?
22  For though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, yet your iniquity and guilt are still [upon you; you are] spotted, dirty, and stained before Me, says the Lord.
26  As the thief is brought to shame when he is caught, so shall the house of Israel be brought to shame—they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets—
27  [Inasmuch as] they say to a tree, You are my father, and to a stone, You gave me birth. For they have turned their backs to Me and not their faces; but in the time of their trouble, they say, Arise [O Lord] and save us!
28  But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise if they can save you in the time of your trouble! For [as many as] the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah. [Surely so many handmade idols should be able to help you!]
31a  O generation [that you are]! Behold, consider, and regard the word of the Lord:
37b  for the Lord has rejected those in whom you confide, and you will not prosper with [respect to] them.

This passage of Scripture really preaches itself.  It is a rebuke to the leaders of Israel to turn from their idolatry and return to the Lord.  It is a warning that the Lord has rejected their ways and their political allegiances and that He will not allow them to prosper.  This is God putting the nation of Israel on notice that they have become an abomination in His sight.  We can draw some parallels to our nation from this passage.  I want to be very clear; God still has a purpose and a plan for His chosen people, the Jews.  His plan for the Jews is separate from His plan for the church.  He has two separate and distinct plans for his chosen people through Abraham and His chosen elect separated through salvation by grace.  That being said, there are many parallels that can be drawn between God’s plan for both of His peoples, the Jews and the Church of Jesus Christ.  This is just one of the many reasons we have the Old Testament as part of God’s revealed Word to us.

In many ways, the United States of America is like the Israel of the Old Testament.  Both nations were set apart before God Almighty and purposed to bring Him honor and glory.  While many modern historians try to deny that our country was founded on true Judeo-Christian values, this is a fact that cannot be denied.  It takes only the most rudimentary study of our country’s founding documents to see that they sought God’s guidance every step of the way as they formed our Republic.  Yes, I said Republic.  This is no democracy because we have a government founded upon law, specifically God’s law.  Democracy, in its purest form, is the lynch mob.  It doesn’t follow law, only the mob’s desire for or against issues.  Indeed, this would be a very dangerous way to govern as decisions are based upon the emotion of the moment.

Our founding fathers knew that freedom had a price.  They knew that liberty was not free.  They certainly had in mind Gal 5:1:

Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)

5 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

And also:

John 8:36 (NKJV)

36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

They knew that this freedom also came with responsibility.  Their responsibility was to act in ways that brought honor and glory to God, as opposed to bringing themselves personal gain.  They were charged to act in the best interests of the people, above and beyond their own self interests.  History reveals to us that America’s founding fathers did just that.  They fixed their eyes on Jesus and set about the business of shedding the yoke of British slavery and tyranny.  Then they set about the business of establishing a government that had never been tried in all of humanity’s existence.  A government that not only honored God, but sought to protect it citizen’s free moral agency to live life as they saw fit, to serve God, or not, was the citizen’s choice.  They established laws to prevent the government from establishing a state religion.  They wanted to ensure the free practice of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.  Twenty-seven of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were ordained ministers or had degrees from what we would consider seminaries today.

Today we are in bondage to sin as a nation.  Our leaders, in general, are not seeking to honor and glorify God.  Our nation, as a whole, does not seek the Lord.  We have departed from the path chosen by our nation’s founding fathers.  We have a nation where wickedness is accepted as a normal and sometimes even a desired behavior.  We have a nation where it is not only legal, but mothers are encouraged to consider abortion during their pregnancy.  We live in a society where various legal groups sue to prevent God’s name from being used, spoken or prayed, even at funerals.  We have elected officials at the highest levels of government that exalt themselves above God Almighty and declare to the world that “America is not a Christian nation.”  Truly Psalm 12:8 is true today:
Psalm 12:8 (NIV84)
8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.
There is a whole lot of strutting going on in Washington DC, Atlanta, and other seats of political power in our nation.

Now what do we do?  God made a promise to Solomon that I believe also has relevance to us in this case.  The Lord said:
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
This was addressed to Israel, but we are also called by the name of Jesus.  Jesus’ name is the Name above all names.
Philippians 2:9–11 (NKJV)
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We need to humble ourselves and confess the sins we have committed as a nation before the Lord!  We need to turn from our wicked ways as a nation!  This means that our elected officials need to be engaged in this issue to see the truth of God’s Word.  If they do not see it or agree with the truth, it is our duty to VOTE to unelect them!  Christians can no longer be a silent majority in this country.  We MUST stand up and take action.  We cannot be complacent.  Look at the legacy complacent Christians have left us to deal with!  The “be silent” and “the live and let live” attitude are not Christ-like!  What did Jesus do when He saw the merchants and money changers in the Temple courts in Jerusalem?  He was angry and He cleaned house.   
Mark 11:15–17 (AMP)
15 And they came to Jerusalem. And He went into the temple [area, the porches and courts] and began to drive out those who sold and bought in the temple area, and He overturned the [four-footed] tables of the money changers and the seats of those who dealt in doves;
16 And He would not permit anyone to carry any household equipment through the temple enclosure [thus making the temple area a short-cut traffic lane].
17 And He taught and said to them, Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? But you have turned it into a den of robbers.

Indeed, America also became a house of prayer for all the nations.  As a place of true freedom of religion and practice, this nation became a haven for persecuted Christians from around the world.  Baptists and Anabaptist were among some of the first Christians to come to this country before it was America.  Freedom of religious practice is one of the cornerstones of our country that modern revisionist historians would have you know nothing about.
Isaiah 56:7 (NKJV)
7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

Much of Isaiah 56:7 is also true of America, in her youth.

How will we change as a nation?  It is a daunting thing, but just like eating an elephant, it can only be done one bite at a time.  This change starts at the individual level with each one of us.  It starts with the personal prayer before the Lord, “Lord, please heal our land.”  We must continually seek the Lord in our own lives first and foremost.  We are admonished to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus in Heb 12:1-3.
Hebrews 12:1–3 (NASB95)
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

We have to lay aside the things which keep us from become fully committed followers of Jesus Christ and draw our strength from Him.  This is a lifelong process, so realize that you can’t wait until the point where you have reached Christ-likeness to start becoming involved.  You need to be on your journey toward Christ-likeness and be involved in the matters that the Lord would have you address. 

I believe that there are two issues that every Christian has been commanded to address, regardless of anything else the Lord puts on your heart.  They are the Great Commission and the Great Command.  These are Jesus’ last commands to us, as His church, before He ascended into Heaven.  Here it is:
Matthew 28:19–20 (NKJV)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

The Great Commission is the command to reach the lost of this world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Great Command is the command to lead believers toward a state of growth and spiritual maturity in their relationship with the Lord.  All Christians share in this responsibility and we are all gifted differently to fulfill this mission.  God also gives us individual assignments to accomplish in addition to these tasks based upon His calling in our lives.  We are all a Bible that someone else reads.  Your actions tell the story of your relationship with Jesus.  As citizens of this country, we have a responsibility to see that business is conducted in an honorable way.  In our specific case, we were founded upon godly principles and precepts, so we need to seek to elect officials who will honor God and the godly principles and precepts upon which this country was founded.

Pray for America. We have been the second Promised Land for generations of people.  For 235 years, America has more or less prospered.  Certainly it did for the first 200 years.  At the turn of 1900, major secular thought started to invade our country through universities, colleges, seminaries, and even the government.  These humanistic ideas have resulted in our country turning its back upon God Almighty.  This is evident by our government’s political positions like backing away from Israel in favor of the Palestinians, the overt and successful attempt to change the Constitution’s freedom of religion into freedom from religion, and the general moral decline of our society highlighted by abortion.  The wicked are freely strutting about in honor within our society.  Pray for America, and her leaders at all levels of government.  Pray for your pastor.  Pray for your family.  Pray for an awakening and a revival.  It is not too late!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Family Rejection

Family Rejection
Who are my mother, my brothers, and my sisters?  What happens when your family rejects your walk before the Lord?
By Rev. Greg Schermerhorn

This is a difficult problem, but one that many Christians throughout history have experienced.  Even our Savior and Lord Jesus experienced rejection by his family.  What do I mean by rejection, you ask?  Well, rejection takes many forms from the blatant, even militant variety to the would-be “spiritual” sounding type.  Rejection is given by non-believers and believers alike.  In this context, the common thread is a disbelief in your ability to know and follow God’s plan for your life.  From the non-believer, the rejection is from the view of the world and is, by default, opposed to God and His plans.  From the believer, it is, in some ways more insidious because believers think they know what you should do and what is in your best interest, even if their thoughts are in direct opposition to the leading of the Lord in your life.  The truth is, rejection and opposition are going to be facts of life for the believer in Jesus Christ, especially for those who are fully committed to serving Him.

Now, don’t take this as a “Doom and Gloom” pronouncement.  It is not intended that way.  It is intended as a caution so that you can be prepared for this issue when it comes up in your life.  Studying Jesus’ life reveals that He experienced rejection from His own family.  Mark 3:20-35 tells us the story of Jesus teaching in the vicinity of His hometown.  His family, that is to say Jesus’ mother Mary, His half-brothers, and His half-sisters went to go see Him and bring Him home because they believed He was crazy or “out of His mind”!  When they arrived to “get“ Him, the crowd told Jesus that His Mother, His brothers, and His sisters were there seeking Him.  Jesus replied in this way:
Mark 3:33–35 (NKJV)
33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”
Jesus was doing the will of God the Father, as He was called to do.  He was not going to allow His misguided family to deter Him from the mission He had been given by God.  Was this a hard decision, sure, but it would be impossible for Jesus Christ, the Son of God to sin and disobey His Heavenly Father.  Was it disrespectful to His mother, brothers, and sisters?  No, because they were asking Him to turn His back on the mission God had given Him.  They were, in fact, being disrespectful to Him and His calling.

God set up authority structures for us in our lives to guide us and to protect us.  We have all been under the authority of someone and are all still under the authority of someone and or something.  For example, we were all under the authority of our parents as we grew up.  Your parent’s authority was defined by the government’s law and by God’s law.  Both government and God had areas where their authority exceeded your parent’s authority.  Your parent’s could not ask you or demand that you do something contrary to the government’s law or God’s law.  While many will debate the authority of government over a parent and child relationship, Christians will not debate the authority of God over children, parents, and government.  God’s authority is the ultimate authority for the Christian.  If government law violates God’s law, the Christian will follow God’s law over government law.  Thankfully in America, the instance of that violation is far and few between.  As Christians, we are admonished to be in subjection to authority as Rom 13:1-7 requires of us.  This includes the area of paying taxes.  Overall, we must be subject to the authorities in our lives unless they are violating God’s authority.

Jesus said :
Matthew 10:34–39 (NKJV)
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Jesus said He would cause division in families.  Why?  People would have to choose their loyalties…Jesus Christ or family.  Even today, many family members cannot bear the fact of being placed in a seat behind the Son of God!  But Jesus is very clear on this matter when He says, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 

Family is not the only source of rejection.  Friends can reject you too.  Family just seems to hurt more because we have been taught our whole lives that “Blood is thicker than water”, “You can only count on family when things get tough”, and “In the end, family’s all you’ve got.”  Most of us have heard statements like this our whole lives and have had them drilled into us so that they have become a part of who we are.  Jesus teaches us differently as we just saw.  Our true family are those who seek God and do His will!  Our true family are our brothers and sisters in Christ!  This family is not one church or denomination.  It is the BODY of Christ.  That is, the ENTIRE body of believers in Jesus Christ around the world!  This is our family!  So we, as born-again believers have a huge family that will love on us and accept us for who we are in Christ!

Jesus said something else about rejection:
Mark 6:4 (NKJV)
4 But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.”
Jesus was not accepted by His own family, His own relatives, His friends, and by His neighbors.  The whole area around where He had lived growing up rejected Him because they could only focus on His past.  Now, that’s a funny thing considering Jesus was the sinless Son of God.  How much more difficult is it for us, who have a sinful past, for our families and friends to focus on our present life versus our past indiscretions?  Here is the context of what Jesus’ contemporaries said of Him:
Mark 6:1–3 (NKJV)
1Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.

If your relatives and friends have rejected your Christian walk and service to God, you are not alone.  You are in the very best of company.  As you have seen, our Savior and Lord suffered the same rejection.  Take heart and know that this is expected.  Don’t let your commitment to the Lord be weakened by an unbelieving relative or a weaker believing relative.  Keep a strong witness, always remembering who you serve.  They will try their best to derail you.  Your relatives and friends may even become the unwitting instruments of Satan in their “well meaning” attacks on your behavior.  My best advice to you is to remember to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and your heart open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  Remember the admonition by the writer of Hebrews:
Hebrews 12:1–3 (NASB95)
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I hope you find encouragement that our Savior is our living example of perseverance and overcoming.  Jesus is the source of our identity and the source of our strength.  Only with Him can we do all things (Phil 4:13) and to Him we must give all honor, glory, and praise in all that we do (1 Cor 10:31)!