"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7
Saint Paul when he wrote these words to Timothy was almost at the last lap of his race. He was encouraging Timothy not to become weary in his own race. We are all in a race, and to be victorious, we have to remember to keep an eye on the prize and stay in our own lane. Can you imagine if you are a runner, and you are always looking in all directions to see how others are doing? How can you win? When King Saul started getting envious of David, his exploits, and the accolades David was receiving from the people, he became such a bad king that he wanted David killed!
I was just listening to Pastor Robert Madu, and he said that nowadays we sometimes look through feeds in Facebook and Instagram to see how we measure up. I was so amused when he came up with these little ditties: "Mirror, mirror in Facebook, Tell me how my life should look!" or "Mirror, mirror on Instagram, Tell me who I really am!" Really? Is this what modern life is like?
I think what we need to do is concentrate on OUR race, and not look at what other people are doing. I can't be like my FB friends who are great at mentoring, or preaching, or making funny jokes! I love my friends who are wonderful cooks, have kids who are doctors, who have PhDs and I refuse to compare myself to them. Let them be the best they can be with the gifts and talents God gave them. I'll just be the best ME I can be with what God has given me! And if we can, let's help each other fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith!
"Your daughter is dead." Mark 5:35
There's only one appointment that every man, no exception, has to keep, and that's with death. We have no choice or control over when that appointment is. Sometimes a person tries to kill himself, and is not successful. There is actually an association that studies suicide, The American Assoc. of Suicidology, and they report that there are 25 suicide attempts for every, and I guess this is the politically correct term, "suicide completion". 92-95% are failed attempts. A lot of those failed attempts are by celebrities: Brigitte Bardot, Drew Barrymore, Elizabeth Taylor, Drew Carey, Halle Berry, the list goes on and on.
But most people want to live. Some don't want to think about death. Some live as if they are not going to die. But I believe the best thing we can do about death is to prepare for it, and to prepare those we love for it as well. Death will not be something to fear if we know the truth about it. If we see our life on earth as a preparation for going though that door that leads to either eternal life with God, or if we reject what God has to offer, some other place which Jesus says will have weeping and gnashing of teeth. Ultimately, we really have to decide, whether we believe Jesus is God or not, that what He said is true or not. That's really the most important decision we will ever make in our life. If we sit on the fence and ho hum about it, we can't prepare well for death.
When my mom died, God gave me this very special gift of knowing in my heart heaven was real. Before she died, I thought I would be devastated, for we were very close. But when she died, I was ecstatic. I knew my mom was where she longed to be. All of us should long for heaven, shouldn't we? The alternative is just too terrible to bear! Are we preparing well for our appointment with death?
"Please do not go on past your servant." Genesis 18:3
In this story in Genesis, Abraham was relaxing at the entrance of his tent, when he caught sight of 3 men standing nearby. Instead of being suspicious about what they were doing there, or getting irritated that they were "in his space", Abraham RAN to greet them and invited them to sit that he may SERVE them food and give them water to wash their feet. The strangers agreed and Abraham ran to ask Sarah to make bread. He had a servant prepare choice steer, and he himself got some curds and milk. There are many verses about being hospitable we can find in the Bible, and Abraham, our father in the faith, certainly practiced it to a large degree.
In Hebrews 13:2, Paul advises us, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." And certainly this became true for Abraham. The three strangers were messengers of God, and told Abraham that in the next year, Sarah would give birth to a son, even in her old age. Just as Abraham was hospitable to the three men, he was also "hospitable" to God's word. Like Abraham, we should create a space for encounters with God, who speaks to us through strangers, friends, family, events in our life, and through His Word. The more we are open to these encounters, the more we will grow and be fed. May Jesus find a place in the inn of our heart!!!
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