Finishing The Race

As 2016 gets into full swing, I am looking ahead.  The past is gone and today we put into motion that which is or is to come.  One of the things that I keep meditating on this year is “finishing the race.”  There are many distractions and situations that can pull me away from making everyday new with Christ.  There are all kinds of natural things that can draw me away from the Kingdom.  As I’ve grown in the Lord I’ve come to realize there are many things that appear on the “spiritual” side of life that are not truly Kingdom purposed. 2016 is a year of focusing in on the important, Christ-centric motives and characteristics of the Christian Life.  Not only have I reach a natural age of maturity, but I’ve come to a strong, solid age of spiritual maturity as well.  I am so fixed in my relation to Christ and the cross.  My roots are really deep in the well of life.  These two scriptures are something good to meditate on as we continue our journey into circa 2016:

Philippians 4:4-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

And

Hebrews 12:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

Although I titled this “Finishing The Race,” I don’t see it is as a competition with others.  I see it as a determined decision to follow Christ into His Kingdom and let His revolutionary life transform me in the midst of a world that is in complete contrast to it.  And so, keeping my eyes fixed on him I won’t get off track. Living this way means that I will have to say no to the crowd on the side of the road, and pressing straight ahead keeping the cross in front of me. Because like Paul wrote in the letter to the church in Galacia

Galatians 2:20-21 Living Bible (TLB)

“I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the real life I now have within this body is a result of my trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one of those who treats Christ’s death as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping Jewish laws, then there was no need for Christ to die.”

I am leaning into, relying on, and fixing all my thoughts and desires completely on Him.  My life is no longer mine, but fully submitted to my Glorious King.

Have a very blessed 2016 my friends!

Go deeper in the life of Christ, seeking Him over all else!

I love you!

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His Joy, My Joy — Inspired by a Facebook Post

I was inspired to write today because of something someone posted on my FB wall.  Thank you Sande, I needed a little nudge to get some words out.

90 Lbs lighter, and feeling so good.

 

 

Almost two years ago, I was grossly over weight and very unhealthy physically.  I was also in recovery from a crisis that our family went through two years before that.  Although the crisis hit us in August of 2009, it had been on it’s way for some time.  I wrote a post on this blog which I will link to at the end if you’d like to read it, it’s about shame.  Oh boy, that was such a tough time.  Praise God he brings us through, and always, if we co-operate with Him, He makes all things new.

Since August 2009 I have been on a journey of discovery right along side recovery.  I might say that  “in the journey of recovery, I have rediscovered who I am”.  There are many things that we face in life, some we choose, others we don’t, but when we end up in crisis what we do in the decision making process will determine the outcome of our success.

My friend mentioned that since I have lost weight I am expressing more joy and reaching out wider.  — You are right girlfriend, but it’s not simply the weight loss, it is more that I have encountered Christ in a deeper, richer way.  In the midst of the valley, in the darkest night, His incredible LOVE was unveiled before my eyes.  In the sparkle of my life, what may have seemed good or wonderful really wasn’t. There was something missing.  His voice was dull, and I have discovered that a lot of my time was spent on trying to reproduce what I was learning from others instead of really allowing the Holy Spirit to have His perfect way in me.  Now —not that I didn’t know Him, I did, it’s just that now, I know Him more..

In the depth of despair there was the most brilliant light. The most powerfully sustaining person, carrying me to safety under His Glorious Wings.  He brought  me out of a deep dark pit.  He has set my feet on solid ground.  His Grace was/is sufficiant and the power of forgiveness has delivered me from the power of bitterness, pain and sorrow. I have traded my sorrows for His Joy. He has caused me to overcome all the power of evil.

Preaching In Guatemala April, 2013

My joy not only comes from meeting a goal that I set, but it comes from a personal wrestling with Christ, His Spirit, and His Truth. I can truly say as did the man who wrote the old Hymn… It Is  Well… “Yes, it is well, it is well, with my soul.”

I have one thing I’d like to really say today, only one last IMPORTANT request.

Friends, reach out today to the only ONE who really can make all things new, reach out to Christ, our Risen Redeemer, the ONE who through His sacrifice and disciplined, faithful work… opened Eternity to you.  Embrace Him, take hold and never let go.  His ability is far superior to any gift or strength known to man.  It’s not just about a sinner being saved by grace, but it’s about coming to a Kingdom that is ruled by a life changing King.  A Lord who understands His subjects and paid all He had to give them the Kingdom of His Father.  A Kingdom that is ruled by grace, and truth. It is empowered by faith which works by love. It is a place of true freedom and If we only believe, we can receive…

This JOY, His JOY is the strength of  my life.

I love you!!

Scripture references: Ps 40:1-3,  Hebrews 4:14-16,  Revelation 21,   Romans 10:9,10,   Hebrews 11:6

This is the post from 2010 if you’d like to read it.  Unashamed