Personally, I'd rather go the distance, choosing a good cross-country-runner's pace so to speak. You know, with a runner's tempo that's right and appropriate according to how I was specifically designed or gifted to run. Sure, rather than me choose an all-out sprint, then get winded and bail out early. Why do that? Finishin' well with Jesus as Lord needs to happen in my life! It must become imperative for each of us really. We can appropriate grace for this. Being "spiritually well" and running well with Him.. this beats runnin' ill. Yup, there's no time for runnin' spiritually sick, or for quitting now. What does the Bible say? It says...
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." —Hebrews 12:1-2
Back in the day.. in the ancient Greek games (perhaps you've seen old drawings of these) a judge would stand there at that finish line, holding out in plain sight, the laurel leaves that would be rewarded to the runner who finished really well -- the victor. As runners paced themselves and approached that final stretch, no matter the training.. they felt absolutely exhausted, totally spent, perhaps even in agony with their legs and feet, and just feeling as though they couldn't go another step towards that tape if ya will. But suddenly there was the prize in sight.. that prize they each had dreamed about.. and then a new burst of energy would kick in. What is the mental-illustration behind the phrase "looking unto Jesus"?
Well, we see it clearly in Hebrews 12:2. And we meditate upon this snapshot. We as those who have learned to stand up for Christ, and have learned to walk.. as He walked, and then learned to run.. all of us need to keep our eyes dead-bolted on Jesus Christ until the end. Remember when He said "it is finished" as he did just that? Our ultimate prize is Him -- seeing His face, up close and personal. Yes, our prize is the privilege of standing before our first-love (Jesus who ran to win and gave it all for us at Calvary). It's receiving the crown of righteousness that He, with compassion, will gladly give to us.That is why we pause to pray, and why we study the word. This is why we (with His anointing) keep seeking Him trying to live pure and godly lives -- holy lives! This is why we try to tactfully reach other sinners for our Lord. It isn't for spiritual brownie points like we can earn em -- we don't. It isn't for the applause of church people or other people. It isn't for any notoriety or fame. It's so that we can hear Christ say to us on that final day,
"Well done, good and faithful servant."
No, we can't earn grace or our salvation. It's because He has already freely provided it. But we want to daily please the One who laid it all down.. willingly laid down His innocent (completely sinless) life for you and for me. Ultimately, we want to be able to respond something like,
"Lord, I love you and I took this life that You gave to me ..for a world-changing purpose.. and tried to do something good with it. I asked for wisdom and applied your word as best I could.. just to make a difference, just to glorify you. Here it is. I now offer it back to you."
Life here can be tough, pretty rough, even brutal at times. Have you been rejected or lost some loved ones? Think about Him. "Looking unto Jesus.." He did. Looking to Him.. these endearing and challenging words.. keep us goin'. Three good words. Sure they do, don’t they? Be earnest and sincere! Go tell.
Face it. Believers can get discouraged at times. People will let you down. Some try to tear you down. They can disappoint you. Work, churches and companies can too. People might not appreciate your hard work ..with that high pay : ) or even notice your efforts at times. The Holy Spirit sees.
Them not bothering to get it -- to understand your real motives, they might criticize all they don't (or in some cases won't) understand. And that is when we need to remind ourselves, Hey, I am not running my race for this person or for that person. I am running in this race to win, to glorify Christ.
Wasn’t It You Who Signed-Up For The Endurance Training?
But Caleb spoke up and requested this land he had already surveyed. In response, Joshua his leader granted Caleb this request he’d asked for. And this old man proved he had not yet exhausted his courage, his spiritual stamina or determination, for then he said:
What? Is this old man, Caleb, just a bit senile? Nope, not at all. When others were lukewarm and cold spiritually Caleb was bold as a lion. he was spiritually balanced. Caleb had biblical faith inside and really wanted to finish well. Ask.. what ministry do I have today? When can I take time to get alone with the Lord? We each can minister to Him ..alone, first.. and we can effectively minister to others as well. The need is great! It’s no time to quit now. Take territory so to speak. Run.. and win souls!
Caleb was a practical man. He longed inside for Hebron. He clearly expressed his faith and acted on it, not on presumption. Others had looked back, but not Caleb. He stayed focused looking forward. He had a vision. Clearly saw what God had for him. Some people wanted to please themselves at this point, but Caleb wanted to please the Lord.
Be like Caleb. Run in fellowship.
Do you want spiritual longevity today? Then move forward with Christ as your Lord. Seek Him today.. seek to grow in the word (there's not spiritual growth apart from the word). Do what you can. Never look back or quit even if you feel like doing that. Prioritize ministry, but not ahead of your relationship time with God. Keep on goin’, but not for others' applause or for bucks. God notices you, ain't neglectful at all. He will reward. Run in fellowship with on-fire believers too.
F R A N GELISM -- YOU KNOW SOMEONE NAMED FRAN OUT THERE, RIGHT? GO TELL! GO TACTFULLY SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH YOUR FRIENDS, WITH YOUR RELATIVES, WITH YOUR ASSOCIATES, AND WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS TOO!
People are lonely. People are empty. People feel guilty.. uh yes, cuz so many really are. We've all blown it at times and their conscience is working. People are afraid to die. Bring the Gospel to em. Be empowered by your love for Jesus! Would you pray something like...
It’s all for You, Lord. Wanna run well and know you well. I do! Wanna make you well known. Worldwide, starting where I'm at. I have this moment. I have you and today. I will keep on goin' in my lane not cheatin'.. and with my eyes dead-bolted on You. It’s my choice, therefore fill, refill and guide me. I need your wisdom. Yes, please bless, empower, use, and keep me for your glory. Amen Jesus!
The Bible says, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." Daniel 12:3. Maybe you currently don't like your circumstances or neighbors or work situation at all? God can give you love for people. Ask. Perhaps God has you there for such a time as this. "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:32.
If there is anything honorable, muse on it, appropriate it, live it, tell it.
All these things below are aspects of Christ's character. Yes, what Jesus is like -- talk with and think on Him -- walk like He walked.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8
What beats..what's better than feelings when you have important choices layin' before you? Easy, the Bible can help us make really good decisions in line with God's will for our individual lives. Why not get the green light on the timing and approach? Yeah, why not pray first, look up and inquire early, search out fitting passages in there that really relate to what you are contemplating, planning, thinking about doin'. Good advice acquisition and then acting is effective. Think it well on through. What has the Bible and it's Author helped you decide and pull off before?
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure."Psalm 40:1-2
"Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." ~ James 1:21
Say His Name – powerful! When we prayerfully memorize scripture and take it to heart with a mind to wisely apply it, that’s way powerful too. Man, then it’s easier to fight off temptation – I mean resist the sin, like in the moment when you or others think it might be pleasurable. And it might be for a short time, but we are to hate sin!
The wages of sin is death. Yeah, that’s why.
Ask yourself.. which scripture have you memorized to help fight and resist sinning where you have perhaps fallen in the past? Good idea. Refresh your mind with that one again.
Avoid the filthiness, trashcan stuff. Instead of tear down, go build people up in the Lord.
Build up! Fact, you're either a constructionist or an obstructionist. Some people are born again and some are born against -- yup. I say.. fight for your family and friends, not against em. Pray and encourage them.
And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work.
So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah.
Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.
Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet wasbeside me.
Then I said to the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, “The work is great and extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall.
“Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” ~ Nehemiah 4:14-20 (he built a wall in love to protect people)
Word up, life -- it’s fresh. Christ has risen from the dead.
Yup, and when He speaks there is power. When His name is mentioned, same thing, Buckeroo.
Power. I love to simply speak His name. That one (and there’s only one..) that many daily use as a curse word ..and have no idea why they use it.
I wanna be and stay sold out to Christ. “I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food.” ~ Job 23:12
Not just any words from some mouth (mine are worth about a nickle each). The words of His mouth!
The evidence of regeneration, the evidence of true repentance, the evidence of biblical saving faith, is a changed mind that leads to a changing life.
Repentance, means to change.. yup, first to change your mind and then your life. No change, not real repentance. It’s to agree with God. Ir’a food for anyone who has sinned. Listen, none are saved without true repentance and faith in Jesus. Simple as that, none can earn righteousness.
Got migrant questions? Have you been thinking about the Solution for these Wanderers? I have been -- Christ it's still the answer. "For, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" Romans 10:13-14
"And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." Daniel 12:3
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:32
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38
God wants to use you while here.. yep, He longs to use each of us. Spread the Gospel as He leads you.
May I ask you a personal question, believer? How do you think of life here? I think of our lives here in terms of a dot and a line. Sure, thus signifying two phases. Our present life on earth is the dot. It begins. It ends. Believers can make an impact -- we can witness by life, attitude and conversations here, but it’s a brief time.
However, from the dot, a line extends that goes on forever. That line is eternity, which Christians will spend in heaven what's the Living Word of God. Right now we’re living here in the dot. But ask.. what am I really living for while here? The shortsighted person lives for self -- the dot. The person with perspective lives for the line.
Though many countries have really bad policies that hurt those Lands. Though some won’t change though we do our best to change them (EU Lands seem irreversibly lost in some ways). Though it’s a complete mess in so many places, we each can become part of the Solution, peacefully.. rather than part of the problem -- sure, even refugees can do that in the Lord. Duh, I challenge each of you to think all this through. Yes, even meditate upon and wisely apply the truth.
Been watching all the migration issues from Syria and the Middle-East..with Bible in hand. Ask, Lord what is your will for me? How can I help in Your Great Commission plan? Been watching so many enter Western Europe. So many have entered into the USA -- yes, into several Western Lands. And there’s been much talk about the possibility of Turkey joining the European Union, opening the doors of Europe to millions of Turks. Nevertheless, the real migration will originate in Africa.
People living in Africa today..how many are there? Not even 1.3 billion. And by 2050? Well, 1.3 billion more. A total of 2.5 billion people would live in Africa. Although population growth in Europe is purely due to immigration, Africa’s population will double thanks to its high fertility rates. What will the consequences be?
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise." Proverbs 11:30
The population in Africa will double in just over three decades. That’s ginormously massive.
Back in 1980 only 477 million people lived in Africa. Compare that to the 1.2 billion today and you see it has almost tripled in the years from 1980 to 2018.
It appears that the African share of the total population will rise from 17% to 40% in this century. Will the Christian churches be ready to win them?
The expectation is for Africa by 2100 to grow by 3.2 billion people. That number is growth only – meaning the total population would be 4.5 billion. The total global population is expected to grow by only 3.8 billion by 2100.
This means the total population is expected to be the current 7.6 billion, plus 3.8, forming a total of 11.4 billion. The African share of the total population will rise from 17% to 40% in this century.
Africa’s fertility rate is a whopping 4.7, versus a global average of 2.5. In the EU this is a meager 1.5! This means the average African woman gives birth to 4.7 children; and this is the source of their population growth.
You know how God loves us all equally -- we all must know this! Life here is really short compared to heaven. We must live with this in our heads. I want you and these valuable people in Heaven one day. We all should want what God wants -- Christ died for us and rose again!
Niger has a GDP per capita of only a dollar a day. Their fertility rate, either due to or despite, is above 7. Despite the country only having a population of 20 million today, by 2050 they are expected to have 72 million.
The projection for 2100 puts them at 209 million. These predictions are also due to an expected drop in child mortality, and an increase in life expectancy. Against poverty, where parents have multiple children as their safety net for old age. By that logic, the 960 million in Niger alone by 2100 that is mentioned in the Guardian article seems rather unbelievable.The prediction of 72 million by 2050 however, takes all those variables into account already. It is a trustworthy prediction made by the UN themselves.
The world has experienced a drop in fertility from an average of 5 to an average of 2.5 since 1960. We attributed most of this to an increase in wealth and a reduction of child mortality. As we became richer, children were no longer needed as a safety net.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."Ephesians 6:18
They Want A Brighter Future Abroad.
All can be sure of one in the Lord.. so let’s think further ahead. Yes, about earth and our home in heaven. Let’s think about how God can use us to help people find Christ so they one day arrive there.
Since 2010 a million Sub-Saharan Africans have moved to Europe. President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, has already warned that millions more will come within the next five years if Europe does not take action.
Most people are well aware that even though life in Africa has improved, it’s still not great. And definitely not as comfortable as Europe.
I often do not agree with Emmanuel Macron or his policies, but the President of France has said, “The migratory phenomenon we are facing will be historic”. Yes it will be and hugely-massive. We can agree on that. I want the citizens of Europe to survive this -- want all people to. So I say all of us believers really need to pray now, be ready and act in faith.. winning these traveling individuals to Jesus Christ. Yes, many politicians have been traitors. Yes, the governmental policies are irresponsible. Yes, many of these so-called refugees are dangerous, but Christ said go tell. He wants us to act wise as serpents and gentle as doves. And He taught us that He alone is the way, the truth and the life -- that no one comes to the Father except through Him. That's why we go! Yes, the message of Islam has saved none, and will save no one. For all, the Gospel message of the Bible is the only message of salvation.
Pray believing.. trusting the Lord. “THIS IS THE CONFIDENCE WE HAVE IN APPROACHING GOD: THAT IF WE ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, HE HEARS US.“1JOHN 5:14 Facebook.com/shareJesus