Friday, August 26, 2011

What They're Saying 08.26.11

Don't Forget: God's Mission Is A Global Mission - 'If you are forming a network, and do not have a denominational international agency with which to connect, don't forget about the nations. Your only engaging in part of the mission of God-- he's on the move through the whole world. God has sent us to the nations, not just our nation. Here is a photo (for more visit Jay's blog) from our day in Rio with pastors connected to Acts 29 there. Jay Baumann, who cofounded (with Chan Kilgore) an Acts 29 church in Orlando (CrossPointe), moved to Brazil and founded Restore Braziland is the Acts 29 country leader there.'

Is Pluralism Really More Tolerant Than Christianity?- 'Very often people hold to religious pluralism because they think it ismore tolerant than Christianity. I’ll be the first to say that we need tolerance, but what does it mean to be tolerant? To be tolerant is to accommodate differences, which can be very noble. I believe that Christians should be some of the most accommodating kinds of people, giving everyone the dignity to believe whatever they want and not enforcing their beliefs on others through politics or preaching. We should winsomely tolerate different beliefs. Interestingly, religious pluralism doesn’t really allow for this kind of tolerance. Instead of accommodating spiritual differences, religious pluralism blunts them.'

Evangelicals And the Homosexual Moral Revolution - 'Moral revolutions generally happen over a long period of time. But this is hardly the case with the shift we've witnessed on the question of homosexuality. In less than a single generation, homosexuality has gone from something almost universally understood to be sinful, to something now declared to be the moral equivalent of heterosexuality-and deserving of both legal protection and public encouragement. Theo Hobson, a British theologian, has argued that this is not just the waning of a taboo. Instead, it is a moral inversion that has left those holding the old morality now accused of nothing less than "moral deficiency."'

What Finally Broke Louis Zamperini: The Gospel - 'Louis was once a man “unbroken,” but not anymore: The bullies he faced in high school in the 1920′s couldn’t break him. The injustice done to him by other runners as he raced to beat records didn’t break him. The severe homesickness that accompanied his military service couldn’t break him. His plane crash into the Pacific on May 27, 1943 didn’t break him. 47 days drifting on a raft in the ocean couldn’t break him. The sharks that attacked him from the water while the Japanese strafed his raft from the sky didn’t break him. Burying his close friend and fellow soldier at sea couldn’t break him. A typhoon that nearly swamped his raft didn’t break him. His Japanese captors who taunted and tortured and nearly starved him for two and a half years couldn’t break him. The mental agonies stirred up by the tortures of “The Bird” didn’t break him. But in September 1949, at a Billy Graham crusade, the gospel broke him.'

Was John Calvin Committed to Limited Atonement? - 'Calvin did not commit himself to any version of the doctrine of definite atonement. This, at least, is what I think. His thought is consistent with that doctrine, that is, he did not deny it in express terms. But (by other things that he most definitely did hold to) he may be said to becommitted to that doctrine. The distinction is an important one in order to avoid the charge of anachronism. Calvin lived earlier than those debates that led to the explicit formulation of the doctrine of definite atonement in Reformed theology. He did not avow it in express terms, but nor did he deny it. But (I shall argue) in his lifetime he held to certain positions which taken together may presume the doctrine.'

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What They're Saying 08.23.11

Thomas Booher Goes to [Reformation Bible] College - Our own Thomas Booher is currently attending Reformation Bible College as part of its inaugural class. Here some info: 'When Dr. R.C. Sproul first laid out his vision for Ligonier Academy and the college that would eventually develop here, he explained the world-changing work undertaken in John Calvin’s Geneva. Looking to that school in the mid-16th century, Dr. Sproul took encouragement for the educational goals he had in mind. It was there in Geneva in 1559, that John Calvin welcomed the first students to the Academy. That work blossomed within a few years as the Protestant refugees came from throughout Europe to learn God’s Word and be discipled for the hard work of reformation.'

Reformed And Charismatic? Horton Doesn't Think So - 'I do not find Grudem’s case for continuing prophecy persuasive. He clearly distinguishes prophecy today from the prophecy that delivered the sacred oracles of Holy Scripture. This is both the strength and the weakness of his position. Grudem believes that the kind of prophecy that is ongoing in the church is distinguished from preaching and teaching by being “a spontaneous ‘revelation’ from God….” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1058) In my view, this interpretation introduces a definition of prophecy that is not consistent with its practice in the apostolic church. Nowhere is prophecy distinguished by its spontaneous quality. Furthermore, in spite of his salutary caution against raising such prophecies to the level of Scripture, this interpretation still raises the question as to whether the Spirit issues new revelations that are not already communicated in Scripture. If prophecy is defined simply as Spirit-given insight into Scripture, then is this not synonymous with preaching?'

The Theological Challenge of Today? Adam and Eve. - 'Every generation of Christians faces its own set of theological challenges. For this generation of Evangelicals, the question of beginnings is taking on a new urgency. In fact, this question is now a matter of Gospel urgency. How are we to understand the Bible’s story, if we can have no confidence that we know how it even begins? In terms of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the most urgent question related to beginnings has to do with the questions related to the existence of Adam and Eve as as them first parents to all humanity and to the reality of the Fall as the explanation for human sinfulness and all that comes with sin.'

Why Pragmatism Is Not Enough For Christians - 'The strange reality is that God specializes in using sinful means to bring about glorious ends. The Bible is full of examples of this. Through outrageously sinful, treasonous acts committed against the Creator of the universe, the Lord brought about the most God-glorifying act in all of history. Were we to judge this pragmatically, we could excuse the actions of those involved, from the religious leaders who demanded his crucifixion, to the secular leaders who ordered his death and who nailed him to the cross. But the Bible would never allow us to go there; it would never allow us to minimize the horror of such sin.This means that statements like, “God used it” or “God can use it” or “God will use it” or “Look what God is doing!” are not enough. We need to look to the Bible as our ultimate standard of what is right and what is wrong.'

Huge Online Discussion About Grace and Effort - 'William B. Evans and Sean Michael Lucas have been engaged in a profitable discussion over at Reformation 21 on sanctification and the gospel. Here are their exchanges... Rick Phillips also added a helpful and important post summarizing seven assertions about the relationship between justification and sanctification. As I’ve mentioned before, Kevin DeYoung and Tullian Tchividjian have been engaged in a longer—though less direct—discussion addressing similar issues... I am thankful for this iron-sharpening-iron among friends done in a respectful and edifying way.'

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Who's Your Role Model? Hopefully Jesus.

Just this past week, I finally completed my collection of Matthew Henry writings: in addition to a one-volume unabridged edition of Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, I also ordered The Complete Works of Matthew Henry: Treatises, Sermons, and Tracts. After having receiving this treasured out-of-print collection of Matthew Henry's works, I was reading through one of his treatises called On the Right Management of Friendly Visits, and I felt an awareness that I was sitting at the feet of a wise and learned mentor. He had 4 points of warning, and 4 points of encouragement, on visiting with friends. On the warning side, (1) not to let friendly visits become the waste and consumption of our precious time; (2) not to let them become the gratifications of pride and vain curiosity; (3) not to let them be 'the cloak and cover of hypocrisy'; and (4) not to make them into an opportunity for slandering and 'tale-bearing'. On the encouragements, he wrote exhortations (1) to make friendly visits the proofs and preservatives of brotherly love; (2) to make them the helps and occasions of Christian sympathy; (3) to let them furnish us with matter for prayer and praise; (4) to improve them as opportunities for doing good to the souls of our friends.

All of this was great. I also enjoyed an earlier part of the treatise, where he pointed out that truly Christian visits are those made to 'the poor, the widow, and the orphan in their distress' and that we must make sure that our visits aren't only spent with friends.

Learning From My Mentor's Failures, Too

But, as with every mentor, I have also learned to take lessons from Mr. Henry's failures as well as his successes and wisdom. Matthew Henry was a workaholic, and kept up a demanding schedule that injured his already weak health, took large portions of his time away from family, and sent him to the grave at a young 51 years old (born October 1662, died June 1714). When he wrote "It is not only necessary that part of our time be spent in actual preparation for another world, but all our time must be spent with an habitual regard to it' (p.274), one gets the feeling that his grueling 18-hour days, with 7 sermons a week, including study and pastoral visits, was a gross workaholic application of the rule. Towards the end of his life, he spent so much time working that his friends pleaded for the sake of his health for him to stop (p. vii). Here is a quote from an article titled The Life of Matthew Henry:

'Henry's health, however, soon became visibly impaired. His friends appealed to him to lighten his schedule, but he would not listen. He believed he had been placed in the vineyard to work, and he was determined to be a faithful servant. He also knew that to stop preaching would do violence to his physical as well as his moral being. SO he continued, "instant in season and out of season," preaching the word at every opportunity until summoned home by his Master. Then he would obey with perfect submission and complete confidence. In June 1714 after visiting old friends in Cheshire, Henry returned home and was suddenly taken ill at Nantwich. He recovered quickly, but the next day he came down with apoplexy. He lay speechless for three hours, then "fell asleep." He was buried in Trinity Church, Chester.'

How Matthew Henry's Failures Point to Jesus

Keep in mind, this in no way takes from Matthew Henry's warmth and wisdom. But, like figures of the faith as notable as Abraham and Peter, he was not a perfect man and some of the lessons I take from him have to do with his failings. There is only one perfect Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the failures of those who came before and after Him just point us back towards Jesus as the perfect example, the saviour, the one real hero of the faith. Were there any other perfect people in Church history, we would be tempted to just follow them and forget about the example of Christ. Instead, the failures of those who came before us (Henry was a workaholic; Calvin ruthless; Luther crude and caustic) serve to make us more reliant on the person of Jesus. He was their saviour, and they needed Him. He is also ours, and we need Him too.


What They're Saying 08.24.11

How Incoming Freshmen Can Glorify God - 'Dining hall food gets a bad rap, but incoming college freshmen don’t seem to have a problem packing on the infamous “freshman 15.” Honoring that tradition, here are 15 ways incoming freshmen (or upperclassmen for that matter) can seek to glorify God as they head off to college this month.' What follows is a variety of spiritual reminders, practical tips, and exhortations to spend the time wisely for the greater good of the Church. Have fun this year!

Francis Schaeffer, Progressive Fundamentalist - 'It has become well-accepted to break Schaeffer’s life up into segments and to characterize him as three different people. There is the young, fire breathing fundamentalist eager to “be ye separate” from the impure compromisers; the artsy, compassionate, bohemian founder of L’abri in Switzerland; and then the old man, brushing off his best instincts and returning to his fundamentalist roots to fight for the doctrine of inerrancy and “Christian America.” While it is possible to reach such a conclusion by looking at his early career and then considering the chronological development of his publications, this book rejects that approach by portraying Schaeffer as a consistent personality throughout.'

Marathons In Uganda For Charity 'World Vision' - 'I know, like Matthew Paul Turner aptly wrote, that everyone is exhausted with appeals of this sort. And if you have been reading Mere-O for any length of time, you know that this isn’t in our normal purview. We’re a bit more intellectually minded, not because social justice doesn’t matter but because the intellect does, and it gets decidedly less air time. But mere orthodoxy is not so far from mere praxis, and the early church expanded because they combined works of mercy with rigorous apologetics. While the primary locus of such practice should be within our local communities, the opportunity to do good to our neighbor extends well beyond the boundaries of our country. And that is an opportunity worth considering.'

What We Could Learn From William Carey - 'William Carey, his wife, Dorothy, and their four children—including a nursing infant—sailed from England on a Danish ship headed for India. Carey never saw his homeland again. He spent the rest of his life in India as a pastor, teacher, linguist, agriculturalist, journalist, botanist, social activist, and statesman of the world Christian movement. He died in India in 1834 with the words of a hymn by Isaac Watts on his lips: “A wretched, poor, and helpless worm, on thy kind arms I fall.” Now, two and one-half centuries after his birth, what can we learn from Carey today? There are many lessons to be gleaned from the life of the father of modern missions, but I place these seven principles at the top of the list.'

Homeless Shelters Face Sharp Cutbacks - 'The state paid Roseland Christian Ministries Center $300,000 a year for staff and food supplies. Three years ago, the budget was slashed to $190,000. Huizenga cut the hours and number of meals. Doors were open just five days a week, from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Only one meal was served. A year later, the state completely eliminated Roseland from its budget. A church in the suburbs stepped forward to help, giving enough money to staff the program for a few months. The hours were even shorter, from 2 P.M. to 5 P.M. each weekday. But it was not enough, and in June, Roseland had to shut the doors to the men's daytime shelter.'

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Typical, American, Christian Teaching Is Shallow

I was always taught from my Christian school that God gave man a choice to either obey God or disobey Him in the Garden of Eden. That was God’s master plan, to plant a tree that was forbidden for them to eat of, to test them. It was never really said if God knew what would or would not happen beforehand. The school believed that God was all knowing, so they would have claimed that God knew man would fall if they were pressed, I would assume, but they never addressed that issue. I, and most of the other students, never thought that issue through either. It was an answer we were given, and in my shallow understanding of things, it worked. I was isolated in a Christian bubble, sealed off from the “real world” full of unbelievers and believers with different interpretations, counter-arguments, and rebuttals. In fact, I thought this was the only interpretation for the Christian. I took the school at its word, and thought little more of it.

A Testament to Poor Teaching In Christian Schools and Churches

I am sure this is why many Christians struggle when they go to a secular college. They come out of this Christian bubble of Christian schools and churches, where very little doctrine has been taught to begin with, and then they are bombarded with tough questions by skeptical professors and students at universities who know the Bible far better than they do. Soon, some show they were never saved to begin with, and leave the faith they once professed (although never truly possessed), while others, the true believers, are in a state of despair, and begin searching for the answers. But alas, they are already at a severe disadvantage, and by the time they catch up, if they do catch up, they are out of college.

This is a testament to the poor teaching in Christian schools and churches yet again. At the same time, something needs to be said for the student’s lack of interest in Scripture as well. While I was certainly interested in studying the Word and, if I may say so without sounding arrogant, I believe I had more of an interest than many of my peers, nevertheless, my commitment to studying Scripture on my own, to thinking about and asking the hard questions, was greatly lacking. I always perked up during chapel services or Bible class, hoping to glean something helpful, and sometimes I did. But by the time I was in high school, the questions I needed answered were questions that I should have had down pat in middle school. The questions I still didn’t understand were elementary. I was getting some of them in high school, and because I was so shallow in my faith, it seemed helpful. It was helpful, but it was merely scratching the surface. I would have been destroyed by an atheist or anyone who had actually studied the Bible with sincerity and found it contradictory, immoral, absurd, fallible, or uninspired (To this day, I am still playing catch up in those areas). I thought there was little else to Scripture and the Christian faith, but I was wrong.

For instance, I had no clue that the Old Testament was full of stories where God commands the Israelites to kill other nations- man, woman, and child. I would be willing to bet there are some in high school or even college reading this who had no idea either until just now. A friend of mine, doubting his faith when I was a junior in high school, pointed this out. He had trouble with the morality of a God who slaughters nations, including children. I had no ready answer. This didn’t sound like the God, or especially the Jesus, that I was accustomed to hearing about from my church or school. I knew there had to be a good explanation, but what that explanation was, I did not know.

The Apologetics Lessons Weren't Great, Either

Then there was the whole issue of how we know God exists. Again, my science books and science teachers didn’t offer a whole lot, except to say that both evolution and atheism or Christianity and creationism are accepted by faith. That was the grand argument, that it took faith to believe both. True enough, but so what? That doesn’t prove the existence of God. Perhaps they were implicitly stating that God couldn’t be proven. I disagree, now, many years later, but at the time I just took their word for it, that both were accepted by faith, and that the appearance of design indicated that there was a Designer. None of us would have had a chance against an evolutionist, or even someone who simply disagreed. We never explored the logical necessities of God, and I can vaguely remember one of my teachers touching on the moral proofs of God in passing, as if it were an afterthought. You weren’t aware that there were such things as “logical necessities of God” or “moral proofs” of God? Never heard of the cosmological or ontological arguments? I hadn’t either.

At School, I Learned Little That Was Actually Christian

So at Christian school, I learned little that was actually Christian. I didn’t grow in my faith much because there wasn’t much being taught that would enable me to grow. The gospel, the “Americanized” version that is, was the main concern of the Christian school. Get students in, get them saved, and then discipline them so that they will have a passion to get others saved. The name of the game was reproducing, numbers, or so it seemed to me and some of the other students. That was what most chapels were about. To be fair, some chapels and Bible class did teach us a bit, but it was basic facts, like what the temple in the Old Testament looked like, or a quiz on what such and such a verse in Scripture says, or that drinking beer and smoking and having sex outside of marriage was a sin and the rapture was just around the corner. Rather than expounding on the Scripture itself and drawing out its meaning and implications, we mostly got a few lists of things to do, or not to do, if we want to be good Christians.

A Surprise Shock Before We Release You To College Wolves

Fortunately, that did change a bit my senior year, where we had some good stuff and were exposed to Marxism and postmodernist thought, but prior to that we were encapsulated in shallow Christianity, almost exclusively. That Bible class my senior year, as much as I enjoyed it, was also a rude awakening. It was like the school was saying, “Surprise, there is so much you don’t know about, and we have neglected to teach it to you, but we are going to try to give you a picture of what it’s going to be like just before you are thrown to the wolves at college.” Or, perhaps, my Christian school just assumed that all good Christians go to Christian schools. Bad assumption. By this time, most of my fellow classmates could care less about the “deeper” things of God, and they could barely grasp surface level truths.

The Typical American Gospel Is Shallow, Hollow, and False

I say all that to say this- the only way I will be able to convince you, the reader, that the typical American gospel is a false gospel, is if you begin to realize that the Christian institutions in America, the schools, and the church primarily, aren’t doing their job. They aren’t really teaching. They are more concerned with the rapture, or if drinking beer is a sin, or sharing wild testimonies, and getting “decisions for Christ,” than they are with growing in the faith. The question needs to be asked, what exactly are we winning people to? Christ, yes, of course. But what does that look like? Just continue being a moral person, telling others about Jesus and how they too can be saved and avoid punishment? Is that really all there is to it? Is it that simple, that basic? I don’t think so.


What They're Saying 08.23.11

Do You Tend to Doubt Yourself? Good. - 'When you’re on the brink of despair, looking into the abyss of darkness experiencing a dark-night of the soul, turning to the internal quality of your faith will bring you no hope, no rescue, no relief. Every internal answer will collapse underneath you. Turning to the external object of your faith, namely Christ and his finished work on your behalf, is the only place to find peace, re-orientation, and help. The gospel always directs you to something, someone, outside of you instead of to something inside of you for the assurance you crave and need in seasons of desperation and doubt.'

A French Lingerie Line for 4 Year Olds - Though non-Christian society tends to do well on many social justice issues (poverty reduction; equality among peoples; open access to education and information; foreign aid for those less fortunate than ourselves), their jettisoning of Christian values tends to make them more prone to neglecting other social justice issues: their individualism causes them to neglect the value of families, the right to life of the unborn, and now the moral responsibility not to oversexualize children. A French line just released a line of skimpy lingerie designed for small children, and mothers are buying. This is the culture in which we must increasingly work at sharing the Gospel. I believe that as the culture becomes more depraved and walks farther from Christian values, the need for Christianity among the culture at large will become more apparent.

John Stott: Most Prominent Bachelor - 'In spite of rumors to the contrary, I have never taken a solemn vow or heroic decision to remain single! On the contrary, during my 20s and 30s, like most people, I was expecting to marry one day. In fact, during this period I twice began to develop a relationship with a lady who I thought might be God's choice of life-partner for me. But when the time came to make a decision, I can best explain it by saying that I lacked an assurance from God that he meant me to go forward. So I drew back. And when that had happened twice, I naturally began to believe that God meant me to remain single. Looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, I think I know why. I could never have traveled or written as extensively as I have done if I had had the responsibilities of a wife and family.'

Love a Woman, Not Just Your Idea of Her - 'After C. S. Lewis lost his wife, Helen, to cancer, he realized he didn’t have a single good picture of her. Maybe that’s hard to grasp in our culture of profile pics from every angle, but he wasn’t upset about it. In fact, he saw the distinct advantage of lacking a quality image of his wife. He wrote: "I want H., not something that is like her. A really good photograph might become in the end a snare, a horror, and an obstacle." How could a photo of the woman he loved become a snare? Because in the absence of the real person, he saw his tendency to fill the image with his own fancy. In fact, this was one of the prominent themes for Lewis in A Grief Observed. He was terrified at the prospect of shaping Helen into a phantom of his own making.'

Hey Paul and Titus, Where's My Older Woman? -'An older woman training me to love and serve my husband and the sweet baby in my womb would be a lovely blessing. But right now, that's not someone God has placed in my life. But I can still be that older woman for someone else. For example, I'm currently learning to pursue the younger women in my Community Group, particularly the unmarried or newly married women. Although I've only been married for three years, I have learned a lot in that time! How tragic would it be if I were so focused on "finding my older woman" that I didn't become that older woman and instead kept what God has done in me and my marriage to myself?'

Monday, August 22, 2011

Brother James Got Perseverence

Do you really understand what it means to endure through whatever God leads you to? Do you really know what it’s like to get through the storm as though it were nothing? This, in fact, is what it means to have God’s strength. Consider the words of James: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Why endure through hardships? Because it makes you mature and complete.

Looking Past the Here and Now

1. If you break down the text of this, the same word used to say “trials” in this passage is the same word used to say “temptations” and “tests” in others. So whatever you’re facing – hardships, struggles, anxiety, difficult temptations, addictions, or whatever – you need to look past the here and now and see what’s at the other end: growth, strengthening and perseverance, so that you will become more of the man or woman that God has in mind for you to become.

Now I know, it will still be difficult, whatever you’re going through. I understand more than you would think what it means to feel as though your life is about to end. Not that you think you’re literally going to die, but whatever it may be – emotional, relational, whatever – I know how it feels to have the only thing that matters to you seem to end. So I would have to ask you: what really matters to you?

The Lies That Condemnation Tells Us

2. Is it of any wonder to you why the 3rd leading cause of death in America is suicide? What’s the point of suicide? “Because there’s nothing worth living for.” Because the enemy comes to us at our weakest point and tells us these little lies…and we believe him. Do you wonder why you or someone you know was so self-conscious in school? Do you wonder why so many people you know today are still so worried about it? Because of those little lies that we believe. Have you ever felt that way? Like you had to change or achieve something in order to be acceptable?

Though it’s very different for men and women, the principal is pretty much the same: “You won’t be cool unless you do this…You won’t be beautiful unless you change this…you won’t be accepted unless you are this…” Do you think God feels the same way about you? Think about this: God formed you from conception (Psalm 139:13-16). He planned who you were to be – what shoes He would have you fill. He, being the most sovereign God, knit you together in intricate detail, so that you would just be…you. Now, if God wanted your skin to be a little darker, or if he wanted your hair or eyes to be a different colour, of if he wanted you to be taller or shorter or bigger or smaller or anything different…wouldn’t he have made you that way?

Persevering Through Lies and Depression

This, brothers and sisters, is why it is so important to endure through the hardships. No matter how hard it gets, consider God’s perspective: You are still a child of his, and nothing will ever take you away from him. Want an illustration? Listen to how Paul describes you: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble of hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

“No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loves us. For I am convinced that neither death not life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:31-39).

If You Believe In God, Then Do Not Have Fear

So let me ask you, do you really love God? Is He really enough for you? Does he really satisfy? Then do not listen to these lies, whoever you may be. They are nothing more than just that. Satan is the best sociologist in the world, and he knows when you’re struggling. But if you truly love God, and you truly believe that he is who he says he is, do not fear, for “nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God.” No matter how much the enemy takes from you, and no matter how much you’re struggling, stay strong and endure, for the prize is well worth the struggle.