Enduring To The End!

But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:13 ESV

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  I Corinthians 9:24,25 NIV

Today, I’m participating in a walk-a-thon to raise money for band camp for our students’ Marching Band and it appears that we’ll be walking in the rain on a cooler morning than we saw yesterday. I will dress to meet the test!.

To get ready for this event, I’ve been working out to a song for 20 minutes every morning and walking when weather permits. I can normally work a mile in under 20 minutes and recently have walked 2 and half miles in 40 minutes. Today, the goal is to walk 5 miles and I have at least two hours to get it done.

I wonder, if we knew how much time we had left to get living right for God, what we would do. Would we practice living right or just think by some “magical event” it would just happen?

Living right for God according to His Word is a daily exercise–physically and spiritually and the best time to start is early morning–to set the pace for the day. Get into His Word, meditate upon His Word, and then practice what you have read with all you meet and greet throughout the day. Living right for God is not going to just happen–like anything else that we value–we must practice. Exercise faith in the moment every day and watch how God will work in your lives.

Only those who endure–keeping the faith and exercising the Word–will be saved and in my case today–if I endure to the end of the time allotted–I shall reach my goal and will have earned enough from pledges to support two students for band camp.

Our God is awesome and at my age–I need His awesomeness to strengthen me at the turn of every lap until I complete my 20 laps.  Thank You, Lord for power from within and without to achieve-to Your glory!

Misjudged!

I’ve read a number of blog posts that address the birth of Jesus–more specifically–Mary and I have been thinking about how she managed to hold up her head when everyone around her was judging her–or rather–misjudging her.

Superficiality–judging a matter based on surface appearances or externals has been the cause of missteps throughout our history. People have been misjudged because of the tribe from which they came, because of the color of their skin, because of their family connections or affiliations, because of their intelligence quotas or the special needs, because of their faith or lack thereof, because of their gender or nationality–all this misjudgment–declaring something is so without having sufficient evidence.

During the time that Mary was pregnant with her precious Son, she was supposed to have been stoned to death, according to the law. We know that people did not think that Joseph was the father or they both could have been stoned to death--with the presumption that he was the father. For centuries now, whenever a woman gets pregnant without the benefit of marriage–she bears a stigma for life and in many cases so does the child. That stigma–judging a matter without all the facts–stems from a lack of compassion or self-righteousness or even worse–a superiority complex. There are some people who can never feel comfortable in their own skin unless they are attempting to make others inferior to them.

Fortunately, Mary rose above the rumors and held up her head with pride, knowing she had no reason to be ashamed. Most who have a relationship with God, understand the inference in scriptures and know how Joseph felt–but what a champion he became to his betrothed. No matter what some may say, I believe that love–Mary’s love of God and His love for her, along with Joseph’s love–gave her the strength to prevail against the naysayers and the hatemongers. She understood her purpose. She did not attempt to explain to those who would not have understood anyway–how she had been chosen by God to bring forth the Savior of mankind. They would not have believed her anyway–not then. But now–when we have historical records to review–there are some who are still unbelieving and would rather judge those who do believe–misjudging!

For as long as people have a right to believe whatever it is they believe–others will be misjudged when they do not agree. I pray that believers everywhere will develop the stamina and strength to stand up for their beliefs, regardless of how they will be misjudged by those who do not believe. We have a Risen Savior, born into circumstances beyond His control whose mother was misjudged and so was He. They had a purpose to fulfill and they did so, in spite of the naysayers.

Today, each one of us has a purpose to fulfill and many may not understand why we do what we do and we will be misjudged. Proceed with the knowledge that God loves you, and He will never leave you alone. People will talk and misjudge you, but don’t allow their thoughts about you to deter you from God’s plan for you. Hold your head high–not from self-righteousness or sense of superiority, but in the knowledge that you are doing what God would have you to do.

During this season–remember Mary and what she endured to bring us our Savior. Now endure what you must in order to please God and your reward will be great from Him–even if others don’t understand and misjudge you.

Father, in the name of Jesus, we ask that You grant us with more wisdom from on high–to do all that You would have us to do. Thank You for loving us, in spite of our shortcomings and Your willingness to experience misjudgment for our sakes. Thank You for giving us chance after chance to get our relationship right with You. Thank You for the gifts–both natural and spiritual–being developed in all right now so we can fulfill the purposes You have established for us. Help us stand in the face of adversity, knowing You are always right by our sides and we hold our heads up high. Amen!