Finishing The Race!

Finishing The Race!

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:1-8 NIV

No one ever said that living a life of righteousness would be easy. In fact, most people are warned about the traps of temptation that Satan would set the moment a person accepts the love of Christ in their hearts. To avoid the pitfalls, one must always keep their eyes on the prize that can only be obtained if we stay in the race.

In the midst of hardships, turmoil and chaos, confusion, stress and doubt–we must never lose sight of our purpose–whatever that purpose is for we will not achieve our goal, if we quit before we reach the end.

Think of a marathon–any kind of marathon–the goal or purpose is to finish and we all know–there can only be a limited number of winners–those who finish ahead of all the rest. But most people who enter a marathon are not doing so to win, but to finish–for them the finish is a win--and no matter how difficult the course becomes, no matter how tired they get or much muscles ache, their determination to finish is their reward.

This is the determination we must all have in life–to finish–whatever it is we start that is honorable in God’s sight–by staying in the race. Though we may get tired from all the obstacles put in our path, we must keep our eyes and hope on the end–when we’ll see the fruits of our labor and know we were on the right side of history.

And this is what The Resistance is all about–staying in the race–the goal to see wrongs righted in our society and force truth to surface by any means possible--at the end, to see all treated with equality and ability to live in peace and harmony.

No matter what each day brings–especially when it seems that efforts are wasted–we don’t give up; that’s just the trick of the enemy to create doubt in the minds of those who are determined to stay the course.

We continue the fight for justice against tyranny by keeping one another encouraged.

When we feel overwhelmed by news reports that appear to take a turn; we back up, rest and refuel the drive that led us here in the first place--ready for the next fight.

Wisdom is the principal thing and with all our getting–we must get understanding of all we read, hear, and see that could alter the direction of our fight. We cannot be deterred by minor setbacks and lies yet uncovered or by those who refuse to speak truth when asked. We must believe that there are others who will uncover all truth and even if the truth uncovered is not what we expect, we must be prepared to accept–the whole truth and nothing but the truth–no sugarcoated lies, no half truths, no white lies, no little lies and certainly–no alternative facts.

Though there may be many battles and all not won–we can rest assured that in the end–the war against tyranny, hatred and bigotry–will be won with Jesus on our side. We just have to stay in the race–no matter what!

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Ecclesiastes  9:11 NIV

 

Remember Those Who Gave Their Lives!

Remember how short my life is,
how empty and futile this human existence!

No one can live forever; all will die.
No one can escape the power of the grave. Psalm 89:47-48 NIV

The psalmist (Ethan) makes a statement that while not intended for us in the 21st century, is nevertheless applicable to all at all times, especially those who lives have been lost in wars.

Freedom–from men and bondage of ideologies–comes with a price and that price is the lives of all who dare to fight for freedom.

Today, is the day that we should remember all those who have given their lives in wars, that those of us remaining may know freedom and learn to live in peace. However, where there is no peace, there will always be strife and where there is strife, wars simmer until they explode into battles that end–with many of us missing and remembering loved ones, who did what we could not or would not do–continue the fight for freedom.

This is the time to remember those who were willing to die in wars for freedom that we might live in peace.

The Revolutionary War–freedom from the dictates of England.

The Civil War–economic liberty and trade between the states and the liberation of slaves from taskmasters who did not understand humane compassion.

World Wars I and II–assisting those on foreign shores in order to maintain the freedom of America.

Korean and Vietnam Wars–attempts to liberate others so they would not be subject to dictators who only thought about themselves.

All the Battles in the Middle East–that are yet on-going–providing an avenue for people to live their lives according to their beliefs and not the dictates of others.

Some of the wars were necessary, and some questionable, but the fact that many men and women chose to give their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy in this country, makes the day worth remembering them and inspiring us to never lose sight of what America and Americans stand for–liberty and freedom for all. Remember those who died for us to have freedom and then think about what we do with our lives–with purpose.

Let us all work to restore peace in this land and not make their deaths, futile and serving no purpose, honoring all and respecting all as God would have us to do.

No Need To Fear!

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” (Nahum 1:7 ESV)

In this time of uncertainty–weather patterns, rumors of war, unrest in so many nations, and economic turbulence–many people are fearful of what lies ahead. Nahum, considered one of the minor prophets by most theological standards, reminds us that The Lord is good and for all who trust in Him, there is no need to fear anything! Hallelujah!

No matter what the elements conspire to do–rain, snow, earthquake, arctic air–though uncomfortable for a time–we who trust in the Lord, who know He is good and takes care of His own, have no need to be concerned.

No matter how many government leaders fail to do what is most beneficial for all of its citizens, or how greedy they get–none of God’s children have any reason to fear.

No matter how rocky the ride gets with the economy with its constant surges and declines, we who are in relationship with God, rather than religion, have no need to concern ourselves with the outcome.

When we lean not to our own understanding, but trust–emphatically–in the love and knowledge of God and truly belong to Him, we can have peace when all others are in an uproar over current events.  When Wall Street rumbles with gurglings of uncertainty, we can rest assured in the God of our Salvation who will provide everything His children need. When greed and avarice entice and inspire stupidity in the minds of those who have been elected to govern the masses, we can sit back and relax (while praying), and know that in the end, all will be as God has ordained it.

What we have to remember–more than anything else–is that “perfect love (unconditional) casts out fear.” While the world is shaking its collective head and wondering what the end will be, we can know with quiet assurance that all will be well, if we proclaim in our lives and for the nations. “It is well and all will be at rest in their spirits and in the natural.” We have no need to fear–anything–the enemy attempts to use against us!

Father, in the name of Jesus, help us develop perfection in our love walk with others so we can encourage all to love and not fear! Thank You for loving us enough to give us chance after chance to get things right with You and for always being our stronghold in times of turmoil.

Lust and Pride!

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (I John 2:16)

John continues to write to the Body of Christ, from the isle of Patmos, in the same manner in which the Gospel of John is written–up close and personal.

In the first part of this passage of scripture, we see the love of Christ in the words he uses to specifically address all in the churches. He states, “I write to the children (those new in the faith), I write to the fathers who have known (those with experience with the love of Christ and will of the Father), I have written to those who are strong in the faith” (tried by experience and overcame) [I John 2:13,14 paraphrased]. Why care so much about those in the church? John wanted to remind people that although their sins had been forgiven, they should not get caught up in the ways of the world, for it they did, they would fall again into wickedness.

Now, notice he did not say–don’t love the people in the world; he said, don’t love the world (the ways of those who don’t know The Lord). And then he explains why–the lust and pride that leads people astray. Lust–intense and uncontrolled sexual desire; overwhelming cravings that dictate behavior. Pride–having an inordinate opinion of self and one’s own superiority.

When we refuse to exercise discipline in a Godly manner, our behavior lacks self discipline and people end up doing whatever they want to do–to gratify selfish desires, without regard for others. When we think that we are superior to others and we are not, we set ourselves up for failure because we are not willing to admit, we do not know everything there is to know and we refuse to learn from others. These are the two greatest obstacles that leave many suffering, on the path of self-destruction.

Uncontrolled sexual behavior leads to diseases, emotional upheaval, mental instability, and shortened lifespans.

Feelings of superiority lead to wars, confusion, and chaos–the ego leads to destructive behavior.

The warning from John–don’t get caught in the things of the world that have nothing to do with doing the will of the Father. There is no sustaining victory in life apart from God. What some might experience–is a temporary situation at best–and permanent destruction at the other end of the spectrum.

Love the people of the world–unconditionally, but don’t get caught up in the world’s way of doing things because of misplaced desires and cravings and feelings of superiority. The Word tells us that when a person thinks more highly of themselves that they should, they have only deluded themselves–not those who can see–clearly–what force is guiding them. Shake off the shackles of lust and pride and receive the love of God and know victory in Jesus!

 

Before The End!

There are many people attempting to identify the “end” of life as we know it.  That shouldn’t surprise us.  People have been predicting the end for hundreds of years and we’re still here.

In the gospel of Mark, we are told that many things will happen before the end actually occurs. Some of those things mentioned, have happened and are happening, but we haven’t reached the end, yet.

Mark 13:5 -13 is my focus for today. Jesus was warning the disciples about what “people” would do:

1) Many will come in my name, saying, “I am he” and deceive many (the end is not yet)

2) We will hear wars and rumors of war ( the end is not yet)

3) Nations will rise against nations, kingdoms against kingdoms, earthquakes and famine throughout the land (the end is not yet)

4) Followers of Jesus standing trial for their beliefs (the end is not yet)

5) The Gospel must first be preached to all nations (are we there yet?)

6) Brother will betray brother, fathers will betray children, and children will rebel against parents causing them early deaths (the end is not yet)

7) All who  profess a belief in Jesus and call upon His name, will be hated (the end is not yet).

We, who believe and are willing to confess and profess the Gospel of Jesus Christ have nothing to worry about; we just need to persevere, remain steadfast, immovable in our faith and we shall be saved–from the turmoil the end brings!  Hallelujah!

A lot of things will happen before the end occurs. But we can look forward to the end with joy in Jesus Christ, knowing we have a destination and destiny to receive the crowns for our faithfulness and as long as we continue along the path He has set us upon, we have nothing to fear! Jesus is Lord and we are saved!