Greetings in the Lord. We hope and pray you’ve had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that the Lord is blessing you and your household in every way. In the past month at Travel the Road, we have undertaken post-production of new episodes featuring Guatemala and the Amazon, while also preparing our second phase of missions for this year and into 2019. These new Gospel Expeditions will bring us to West and Central Africa, Eastern Europe as well as remote islands in the Pacific. We’ll need your prayers and support as some missions will take us to dangerous conflict regions (Chad, Central African Republic, DR Congo). Needless to say, our preparation for such journeys are extensive and well planned, but it’s ultimately the prayers of the saints and the protection of the Lord that will get us through. We know and believe these missions will yield good fruit and we stand in faith that the Lord will open the doors of ministry in incredible ways. We want to thank you for your faithful prayers and support and ask you to consider giving a special year-end gift. Your giving, no matter large or small, makes an impact and enables us to undertake new Gospel Expeditions and create new episodes to encourage the church to be active in the Great Commission. So, let us stand strong, and together we can bring the message of Christ Jesus to the ends of the earth.
This month we would like to share a message called — Strong Resolve
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” — Deuteronomy 31:6. Strength and courage are callings of the Lord. The Lord tells us to believe in Him and to act accordingly. In essence, the Lord calls us to have a strong resolve and to trust Him. But you can’t have a strong resolve without an unshakeable faith. Below we discuss what it means to have a strong resolve and how to stand firm on the promises of God.
Sympathy Seeker: One of the most common killers of a strong resolve is the habitual need to seek sympathy. For example, social media is a fertile place for people to post their hardships and bask in the attention it brings. Phrases like, “Guys, it’s been a really tough day….” or “I just don’t know what to do….” are common lead-ins to lengthy pity-parties. Sure, there are some people who are legitimately suffering who say such things, but for the most part, many are only crying wolf about exaggerated annoyances. This type of behavior is occurring because our culture has become unaccustomed to real hardships, and as a result, even the slightest troubles are treated like world-ending events. For many, it can become habit forming to seek out sympathy, but if you truly want to have a strong resolve you must come to the realization that not everything in life will always go your way. Look at your problems and examine if they are even worthy of a second thought. You’ll probably find that most aren’t, and thus, when you recognize this, you won’t be shaken by every difficulty. Life is too short to live in a constant state of fear. Trust God and act as He says — be strong and courageous.
Two Natures: To strengthen our resolve we must first know our nature. In Romans, the Apostle Paul writes of our dueling natures that are set against each other. These two natures are called the Spirit and the Flesh. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want….For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?...For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.” — Romans 7:18 - 8:9. Our strong resolve as believers is that we are of the Spirit and no longer dominated by the flesh. When this revelation is in your heart you will confidently claim — I am free in Christ Jesus! Free from sin and death. My strong resolve is that I follow the Spirit of the living God inside of me. The more you set your mind on the Spirit, the more you will begin to see your hardships melt away and your strength and courage arise. You won’t feel the need to wallow in your defeats and fears, but instead, you will look at life with hope and faith.
Endurance: To be a person of a strong resolve you need to have endurance. You can’t fold at the first sight of difficulty. You have to learn how to deal with failures and setbacks. Just because one aspect didn’t work out doesn’t mean all is lost. Strategize with the mindset that you will fight on and conquer all challenges. History is full of examples of men and women with stories of endurance that uplift and inspire. One particular story we always enjoy is of a young World War I American pilot named Merian C. Cooper. In September 1918, Cooper found himself in a treacherous dogfight with a German squadron. During this fierce engagement, his gunner, Eddie, was struck with a bullet to his neck and slumped back in his seat unconscious. Immediately after Eddie was hit, more bullets continued to riddle the plane causing Cooper’s cockpit seat to burst into flames. Cooper recalled the event in a letter to his father saying, “As I fell straight down towards the earth in a spinning nose dive it looked to me as if the whole world was on fire. I had never been able to understand before why men jumped from a burning plane to certain death below but I knew then death did not seem to matter at all. The only thing in the world that I wanted to do was to get out of pain, so I jerked off my belt and started to hop out when it flashed through my mind that I was leaving Eddie to burn up while I died easy; so I thought I would take one crack at it.” As Cooper was hopping back into his seat, he glanced back to see Eddie waking up. Cooper sat back down into the fire and put the plane into an even more extreme vertical dive to try and extinguish the flames. He dove so hard he thought the wings would snap, but miraculously it worked and the fire was extinguished. As they plummeted towards the ground Cooper was in horrible pain, his hands so badly burned the stick was slipping from the charred flesh. With his elbows and knees on the controls, Cooper aimed for an open field and crash landed. Both wings broke off and the nose was crushed on impact. Cooper and Eddie stumbled out of the plane badly injured but alive. The German pilot who had shot them down landed in the same field and saluted the pair as he approached. He was in complete amazement they had survived the ordeal. Nearby was a German reserve base where both Cooper and Eddie were taken as prisoners for the remainder of the war. Merian C. Cooper would go on to travel the world and enjoy many other adventures in life. He became world famous in 1933 as the director of the hit movie King Kong. As an homage to his flying days, the final scene of King Kong features an aerial dogfight over the Empire State building. Cooper would also later become the studio head of RKO pictures and an influential figure in the early days of the film industry. However, none of that would have been possible if Cooper didn’t endure the pain of the fiery cockpit and give it one more shot. This story is a great example of how it isn’t over until it’s over. So, if you find yourself in a tough place or facing setbacks, remember, life can turn around quickly. Endure always and carry a strong resolve.
At Travel the Road, we have always kept a strong resolve. We’ve been through wars, attempts of kidnap, surrounded by lions, survived earthquakes, been lost in jungles and much more. But in spite of all the challenges, the testimony we carry is that the Lord has brought us through every time. If God be for us, who can be against us? Now, as we come to the year-end and we look forward to new Gospel Expeditions; we ask for your fervent prayers and support. There are people in distant lands who have never heard the message of Christ Jesus and we want to be a vessel to bring them the Good News. If you have been blessed by Travel the Road, please consider giving a special year-end gift or becoming a monthly partner. We need your help for the missions ahead. Imagine the lives we can impact together! Thank you for always being there for us. Peace be with you.
Tim and Will