Archive for February, 2011
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
The Apostle Paul often uses athletic imagery to describe the attitude necessary to overcoming the present circumstance of pain, suffering, and adversity. The key to victory when these obstacles is to press on. No amount of complaining or crying out about the unfairness of life will make them go away. The only way to defeat these enemies is to “press on”…one more step; one more day; one more minute. Soon, and very soon, if we have pressed on, we will find ourselves having past the pain of the moment and arrived to the prize at the end.
“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” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
Imagine yourself as one of eight runners at a track meet, crouched at the starting line, staring down the lane in front of you to the finishing tape that awaits the winner. Each runner is taut as a spring waiting for the gun to sound because each realizes that only one will win the race and take home the prize. When the gun sounds each runner gives maximum effort; straining every muscle, fiber, tendon, and sinew that they might run victoriously the path that is set before them.
As followers of Christ, we have the path set before us of how we ought to live. Through the power of God’s Spirit dwelling within us, we run this path with a greater passion, desire, and determination than any olympic athlete would run their race. This is because they run for a perishable crown and we an imperishable.
The prize is set before you. Each day brings a new leg of the race. Run well today.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
The confession of our faith extends beyond the mere declaration of our lips to the action of our lives. One of the ways we stimulate and encourage others in their faith is by our presence in the assembly of God’s people. By our faithful, rhythmic, habitual worship
attendance and participation not only does it contribute to our growth, but we become agents for changing the lives of others. Our personal faith is never just about us.
Confess your faith by going to church today.
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
Can there be any more significant words in scripture? Can any two words better communicate the significance of God’s loving grace and mercy? Is there any better combination of words to explore the future that God would have in store for us? NO CONDEMNATION! Though the Accuser would try, and while whispers of failures past might make lingering attempts, and while our enemies would certainly try, the work of Christ Jesus and the promise of His Word come to say, “NO!” “THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION!” In Christ Jesus there is only life. Live it! Experience it! Share it!
Blessings for another day of no condemnation.
“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
In relationships, families, in the classroom, or in the workplace every facet of life operates more efficiently and effectively with a plan. Oh, I know that life never goes as planned, but where there is no plan to at least point us in the direction we would like to go, we are left to flounder and wander aimlessly. A plan is a well intended approach to living life that offers a good start toward an ever unfolding future. God has a plan for you. It is a plan for your good. It is a plan that when embraced gives hope for the present tense of today and the certainty of a future prospered by God. The plan of God is not a mystery but plainly revealed in His Word; it is a life of simple obedience lived in accordance to His teachings. Study the plan; work the plan; live the plan. Herein lies your future.
Blessings as you plan your day.
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long, and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:17-18).
Being rooted and established in the love of Christ enables us to continue on beyond the shame and guilt that would seek to hold us hostage each day because of our failure to “measure up.” The reality is that we have never, and will never, measure up. This is the beauty of the Gospel and the uniqueness of our faith–God’s love acting through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son for the accomplishment of what we cannot achieve in our own life. If you are paralyzed by the failures and sins of the past it’s because you choose to be. Once you get a grip on the magnitude of Christ’s love it will transform your approach to living life.
Going into your day knowing you are gripped by His love.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…,” (Philippians 2:5).
What is your attitude as you face a new day? Decide now what it will be. That’s right, right now. Don’t wait on the circumstances of the moment to determine your attitude–the unexpected pop quiz, dealing with an unreasonable supervisor, indifferent coworkers, strained relationships, and other endless possibilities. Over such things you have absolutely no control. The one thing that remains for you, and only you, to control is your attitude. In an out-of-control world it is the one thing you can
Predetermine your attitude right now. Don’t wait!
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth” (Isaiah 42:16).
While we are blind and unaware of what the new day holds in store, we need not enter in with fear or dread for the One who said, “I am the Light of the world,” illuminates the path before us. And not only this, but as we walk and abide in Him, we become a light for those who live in darkness; for He said, too, of His followers, “You are the light of the world.”
Blessings for a well lit day.
“I will run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free” (Psalm 119:32).
Running to the cadence of one voice is so much more freeing than trying to run and respond to all the competing voices that vie for our attention. To declare Jesus as Lord simplifies life; what life will be about; how we will approach life and what we will give ourselves to. Instead of seeing our lives as being fragmented; stressed because we are pulled in so many directions, we discover freedom by bringing all things under the umbrella of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. By this approach one of two things occurs: either the the things we put our hand to are done with a greater excellence or, they are eliminated from our life completely because they are deemed irrelevant to the call of Christ upon one’s life.
Run Free today.
“I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1).
When it comes to going to church, have you ever had the “don’t won’t to’s”? But then you made yourself go and you were glad because otherwise you would have missed out on what God said to your spirit in the course of the service.
But there is another side to your decision to go and not miss. By your actions and presence you encourage others and allow them to participate in the gladness of being in the house of the Lord.
Blessings for a glad day of worship.