Hold_On & Stand Firm.

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We want to provide you with everything you need to hold on to your faith and stand firm. You will find stories in which you can identify and that will inspire, tools that will give you confidence in helping, and teaching that arms you with the truth.
 
 

 

 

Hold_On Stories

Real life stories from real life challenges.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Let Go

Whatever you do, don’t let go,” my cousin, Judy, turned and called back to me. “Grab two fists full of mane, grip hard, and hold on.”

            “But I can’t swim,” I shrieked, wide eyes staring at her back.

            “Don’t worry, I can. If anything happens, I’ll dive in and save you,” she said. Splashing drowned out her voice when, as she nudged her horse, the two plunged into the pond to escape the summer heat. The pair swam to the deep end with little more than heads above water.

            Fearless teenagers – as least that described Judy. Me? Umm, not so much.

I hesitated in doubt as fear washed over me, even though I trusted Judy and knew she swam well. In that moment, I faced a choice – dive all in, or turn away. Should I accept her invitation while uncertain of the water, or be left behind and miss the moment?

Sometimes being faithful to the Lord can feel this way. We’re riding along comfortably in our Christian walk, and suddenly we’re facing a situation when fear and doubt wash over us.

Remember Peter? I love Peter. He climbed out of the boat and walked toward Jesus in the middle of raging winds and waves. Seeing someone walking on the water in the middle of the sea, the disciples cried out in fear assuming Jesus was a ghost. What did Jesus say? He said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27, NIV).

I love that, don’t you? Don’t be afraid.

Peter then calls to Jesus, “Lord, if it’s you…tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matt 14:28) When Jesus told Peter to come, Peter just bailed right out of the boat.  

Considering his impulsive nature, I imagine Peter climbing overboard without thought or hesitation. Though his faith weakened in his doubt, he chose to leave the boat and seek Jesus. Peter didn’t miss the moment, he seized it. When his fear of the wind and waves threatened to drown him, he doubted and began to sink. Then what did he do? He called out for Jesus. Jesus reached out and grabbed Peter to keep him from drowning. (Matthew 14:23-33).

Is there any doubt Peter held firm to the saving grasp of Jesus? Wouldn’t you?

Do you?

Do you believe what you know about the Lord? Do you trust Him? Do you truly believe He will dive in and lift you out of the murky water when you slip, fall or even sink?

Will you tighten your grip and hold on or will you turn and walk away? When God extends an invitation, will you dive all in, or will you miss the moment? Will you allow logic, circumstances, or uncertainty hold you back? Or will you dive in head first, hold tight, and swim with all our might?

Will you hold on no matter what?
Stop.

Don’t say it.

Don’t say, “Yeah, but…” I already hear you.

            “Yeah, but you don’t know my circumstances.”

True. But I know God. I know He will never leave you nor forsake you. Nothing surprises God because He already knows. Remember the story of Job? God knew all Job would endure in advance. In fact, God allowed it and even limited Satan’s attacks on this “perfect and upright man.” (Job 1:1-12, NIV)

That day on my favorite horse, I decided to follow my cousin’s lead. Taking a deep breath, I put on a brave face, grabbed two fists full of mane, and gigged my horse in the sides. I gripped my calves tight around the girth as he swam the deep murky waters. Sweat from the saddle we removed only minutes before made gripping around the middle a challenge. I even slipped significantly as my horse lunged up the embankment.

But I made it.

More than that, the experience left me refreshed, revived, and renewed. I prepared for a repeat. No fear. I fully expected to dive back into that pond without a second thought before my uncle stopped us from repeating the pleasure.

Don’t be afraid to dive all in when God calls or extends the invitation to join Him.  The experience may leave you refreshed, revived and renewed in your relationship with our Lord.

Please hear my heart. When waters are deep, waves are high, and the raging storms of life threaten to overtake you, find comfort knowing God is aware of your trials long before you face them. Call out to him. Trust him. Remain in Him. Allow Him to carry you safely to the other side. Weather the storm. Tread the water. Allow yourself to be carried into a deeper relationship with the Lord.

Whatever you do…

Don’t. Let. Go.

 
 
Rita Halter Thomas is a staff writer for Prophecy Simplified, providing HOLD ON Stories to encourage you to hold on to your faith. She is a pastor’s wife and the mother of a college missions major.  She is also an award-winning writer, the founder of The Write Editor, http://thewriteeditor.com, and a former newspaper and magazine publisher with 23 years’ experience in print and digital media. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
 
  

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Hold_On Podcast

Real life stories, insightful guests, dynamic teachings.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Hold_On Tools

Resources and articles that help you reach out.

What’s Your Story

By inviting a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance to tell his or her story, we learn more than a set of facts. If we listen carefully, we end up learning how they think, feel, and relate to others.

Even more importantly, a bond is formed when we resist the temptation to talk and instead simply hear that person’s story, no matter how long it is. Yes, it may mean missing your next appointment.

Yet something very deep happens, between that person and me, once I’ve heard his or her story. I get glimpses of God’s fingerprints all over his or her story. It doesn’t always mean I’ll have the opportunity to introduce and eventually hook their interest in God’s stories. Then again, that’s often what happens.

The crazy thing? Nobody ever asks, “What’s your story?” So, many people are caught off guard, and may put up an initial defense. But if you keep smiling, allow for silence, and then ask again, many will begin.

So, never hesitate to ask the most beautiful of questions.
 
 

Editor’s Note: You’re welcome to share this article with your church. Just be sure to “give honor where honor is due” (Romans 13:7), starting with recognizing the author and source, of course!

 

David Sanford is an author and speaker. His latest book, Loving Your Neighbor: Surprise! It’s Not What You Think, is available wherever good books are sold. His professional biography is posted online at www.linkedin.com/in/drsanford. His personal biography includes his wife, Renée, their five children, and twelve grandchildren (including one in heaven).

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

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Stand Firm_Teachings

Articles that provide the truth about standing firm. 

Declaration Series IV: Bible Prophecy Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated, Read It

So, I have this tagline for my Bible prophecy teaching ministry and it’s not very helpful.

I advertise I want to be the boring prophecy guy. I know I need some marketing tips—you know anyone? And I learned really quick, prophecy-intrigued audiences don’t want the boring prophecy guy, they want the great-code-breaker or the wild conspiracist. But I have kept the tagline because there is not an end-time code to break (even if there are thirty books in Amazon’s prophecy Top 100 with that in the title). Now there are some mysteries, but not as many as we make it out to be. I’m convinced Bible prophecy doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it. 

I want to be the boring prophecy guy because the Bible is clear on many aspects of the end-times, and those things are what we should focus on and they’re enough to understand what we need to understand. Bible prophecy is not complicated rather we are the ones who have muddied the prophecy interpretation waters, God’s Word has not failed. Bible scholars before us have created systems or views of prophecy interpretation and we now adopt one of those views before we read. We then read with those presuppositions which often creates great complications. That is why we’re so confused.

It wasn’t until I placed my heart and mind in theological-neutral and actually read the words of the prophets and Revelation that the chaos vanished, and truth rose to the surface. It was a painstaking journey through the Old Testament that brought the end of the age to focus. And this journey was after college and seminary. So, I acknowledge, such study is work, but, frankly, I found I hadn’t read and truly worked through the texts myself. And this arrival at actually just reading the texts and trying to push my presupposition aside was only a few years ago. I want to share my journey of end-time understanding to draw attention to the fact that we are setting our minds on an end-time view before even reading Scripture.

Long before I even read the “main” end-time verses, my mind was set on how they should be interpreted. Long before I read about the end-times, I had read and watched the Left Behind series. I had watched A Thief in the Night. I listened to DC Talk. The only sense of the end-time scenario I had was a pending, quick as lightning, neatly-folded-clothes rapture.

I went into Bible College with this view while the only verse in Revelation I had really read was Revelation 3:15-16 (which again was prompted by DC Talk). In the summer, after my freshman year,  before I had any teaching on the end of the age, I picked up a book on Revelation from my local Christian book store. I actually knew nothing of the author nor his view, but as a passionate youth pastor, I spent the summer teaching through that book. A book , that I now know, only contained proof texts.

Finally, in my sophomore year I had Eschatology and was taught premillennial dispensationalism was the one and only way in which The Book of Revelation could be interpreted. Therefore, I chose my stance I was a Clarence-Larkin-chart-memorizing Dispensational Premillennialist, hard and firm, that the rapture would be before the tribulation. I read nothing from opposing views, rather swore them off as evil.

Fast forward to seminary, my first semester Systematic Theology class further persuaded me to be a staunch dispensationalist. But as I progressed in my studies and began to take on the air of a scholar—I came to believe that premillies were hoaky  and uneducated, and for one to truly be a scholar than he or she must be an amillennialist. Reluctant, to take the amillennial title, I just quit teaching and talking about end-times stuff—rather I became just focused on the Gospel. I took on a more-worthy cause because (I hope you read this with the sarcastic tone I’m typing in) the end-times is only peripheral to the Gospel, Missions, and Church planting.

Then came fourth-year summer term course on The Book of Revelation. That professor was a real scholar (again that tone), he taught that The Book of Revelation was just a spiritual metaphor to the completion of suffering. I now had my ammo to take on the banner of an amillie. And to sound even cooler, I was an amillennialist who viewed The Book of Revelation through an eclectic interpretation. Some literal. Most spiritual and metaphorical. It depended on which commentator sounded the best.

Let’s fast forward a few more years, I was pastoring and had realized (following my Hebrew grades) I was not a scholar. And my tree-stand readings had been from David Jeremiah, so again I came over to the premill camp, but I wasn’t sure about dispensationalism. As you can see I’ve had quite the end-time view journey, but this latest chapter of the journey has brought me to a point of stability. 

If you agree with Jake that Bible prophecy should lead to action. Then get his latest book, Spiritual Prepper.

Three years ago, I taught an Old Testament Survey course at a lay seminary. And it was through that painstaking study through the Old Testament focused on the covenants, that I finally dug in and read Scripture. Now I had read the Bible cover to cover, but never dug in and really focused on books like the Minor Prophets. That grind through the Bible with presuppositions thrown to the side woke me up. It woke me up to the importance of end-times prophecy and how that it was not as complicated as we make it.

A month ago, I celebrated my twentieth year in ministry. And I now realize I spent the first seventeen years treating end-time views like a pizza buffet. I would look at the options—premillennialism, postmillennialism, or amillennialism and then pick the one that sounded best. Pretribulation, mid-tribulation, pre-wrath, or post-tribulation—again which ever looked best. Futurism, preterism, or symbolism—again whatever flavor I felt like picking.

We can’t do this! End-time views or theological views of any kind aren’t slices of pizza on a buffet. Rather, they need to be birthed from the text. Scripture itself is to lend us the view we should take. And a straight forward reading of the Bible makes the selecting of views quite easy.

So, how have you come to your end-time view? Was it selected off a buffet or birthed from the text? Was it concluded from reading the Bible or through recommendation of a friend? Have you put in the hard work and actually read the Bible?

The issue is too important to just pick a view especially if you are teaching and leading others.

So, what are the end-time views I have now become convinced to be true? Well, if I told you that would go against the point of this post. Instead of me telling you that, how about you read the Scriptures because Bible prophecy doesn’t have to be complicated.  
 
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Jake McCandless is an award-winning author and the executive director for Stand Firm Ministries and Prophecy Simplified . A long-time pastor who is now co-pastor of the innovatve “above-ground underground,” online church, Endtime.Church., Jake has a B.A. in Bible and Pastoral Studies from Central Baptist College, and an Advanced Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His latest book Spiritual Prepper released through WND Books, He also is a regular contributor to WND News with voices such as Joseph Farrah, Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Ben Carson, Chuck Norris, Joel Richardson, Carl Gallups. He also writes for the The Baptist Press along with other publications. He is also a regular guest on national radio and streaming web shows, along with hosting his daily radio program Prophecy Simplified Radio and weekly podcast Hold On.  Jake is married to Amanda and they have two daughters Andrea and Addison. You can follow all Jake’s work at www.jakemccandless.com. 
  

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Stand Firm_Books

Books by Jake McCandless to help you stand firm.