Rejoice, Again Rejoice!

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Psalm 118:24; Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

There are days when I can rejoice in my Lord and in my grace-bought heart, but feel I’m stuck in a dark pall with my mind. The nagging of besetting sins clouds my outlook and dampens my cheerfulness, and their weight drains energy even as it whispers tsk tsk you can never rise above this. In the struggle, my heavy soul cries, “Wretched man! How long, o Lord? Who will deliver me from this body of death?” But then I remember, rejoice always! Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ my Lord! (Psalm 6:3; Romans 7:15,18-25)

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Think of Paul, who wrote these letters from prison, having learned contentment in all circumstances. He sang, he encouraged, he looked for opportunities to share good news even in the worst of times. It is our heavenly calling to shrug off the clothes of complaint and depression and don the garments of praise! Wherever I go, whatever I am doing, life is full of the presence and beauty of God in which to rejoice. (Isaiah 61:3; Acts 16:22-34; Philippians 4:11)

Do we delight when we awaken each new day that the sun has risen again, that air fills our lungs? Do we take time to enjoy the colors and sounds of creation, savor every bite in our meals, the nuances of love and expression in conversations, the working and meandering of the human mind, the quickening of the heart upon seeing a loved one after a long absence, or hearing one smile over the phone? Are we rejoicing that we have water to drink and let run through our fingers, that laughter is the sweetest of shared music? Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. (James 1:17)

Where am I stuck in a rut, going through the motions of work and duties and even relationships with no thought for the joy they afford, no contribution of joy to situations and individuals? What is my countenance displaying? How am I bringing joy to others by word and deed or through prayer? Do I address others in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with my heart? Even if I do not actually sing in conversation, is the music of praise a theme in my speech? When alone, am I deliberately rejoicing in God, and again, rejoicing more?  Practice will become habit, and habit a way of life. In Him we can daily rejoice for giving meaning to our hours, we can moment by moment give praise for His bountiful kindness, mercies, victories. (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16)

Father of lights and delights, You are worthy of my rejoicing. May your joy, the fruit of your spirit, be contagious through me and always point to you, the source. (Galatians 5:22)

Deep Love, Multiplied

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” Jude 1-2

The wind was diagonal this morning, making herringbone the surface of the pale blue-green water. A pair of dolphins swam directly toward and then beneath me, perfectly side by side, parallel to the beach, oblivious to the angle of the current above. Digging hard, I pushed against the air to the rhythm of its lapping the liquid through which I moved, acutely aware of the natural forces around me. Deep underneath, it is calm, the place to go for refuge, the place for exploring at leisure, the place to be held.

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The vastness of the ocean, with the wideness of its limits, the power of its currents, and the calm in its depths, illustrates, in some measure, the love of God. Wondrous in its weight to uphold me through every storm, wild at times and difficult to understand, its surging is always toward the shore, its fullness always offers calm in the hidden space. Though gales of doubt and self-consciousness blow, and tempests of emotion or irritation buffet, and tides of grief, responsibility, inadequacy, weakness may crash and overwhelm, deep in the water there is a refuge of peace, and God always leads toward His good. Jesus bids me deep with Him, to rest, to swim in freedom from fear, to know Him in ways I cannot while choking in the froth of worldly din.

Where am I wont to feel inundated, overpowered, overcome? Am I bobbing distressed in rough waves, trying to keep my head above water but gulping incessant input, noise, demands, too much busy busy? When will I face and recognize the coming fierce tide of earthly stress and dive down deep before it hits, finding calm in the certainty of God’s love and Jesus’s keeping? Poet Priscilla Leonard once wrote, “On the far reef the breakers recoil in shattered foam, while still the sea behind them urges its forces home. Its song of triumph surges o’er all the thunderous din; the wave may break in failure, but the tide is sure to win.” (John 16:33)

“O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!                                                                                                                 O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean vast of blessing, tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!” ~Samuel Trevor Francis (1834-1925)

My Lord, to be beloved by You and kept for You leaves me lost in wonder, love, and praise. You have multiplied mercy, peace, and love to me; may I so multiply these to others that they, too, might know Your calling, and love, and keeping.

Incidence, not Coincidence

The Lord of hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.’ This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” Isaiah 14:24,26-17

Where in life is there coincidence? In God’s sovereign economy, nowhere; there is none. Where do we claim “it was just meant to be,” but credit “fate” or “stars’ alignment,” “karma” or “gut feelings,” and not acknowledge that this is true because an overarching benevolent Ruler is at the controls of all of life? Just as we have a web of invisible radio waves and fiber optics at any moment in time transversing our airspace, we live in the midst of the supernatural. Unlike our modern technology, though, God’s rule always works, is never disrupted, and always accomplishes what He desires. His power never fails.

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God, the Alpha and Omega, sees the beginning from the end, and superintends history and elections and kings and kingdoms according to His always-good plan. He raises up, He brings low. He uses good leaders and evil leaders to accomplish His purposes among people and nations. He is orderly and measured, never capricious or arbitrary. He prescribes every incidence, and what many chalk up to chance or luck never just happens. (Exodus 9:16; Psalm 75:7; Isaiah 44:28; Revelation 22:13)

Jesus came to earth to fulfill perfectly God’s plan for Him as our Redeemer, and He finished His work. All things were created by Him, through Him, and for Him, and in Him all things hold together. If He sustains all by His power, no occurrence is out of His control. (Mark 14:36; John 12:27; 17:4; 18:37; 19:30; Colossians 1:16-17)

God’s word proves true and can be trusted. All He says, He is faithful to accomplish. Not one of His words falls to the ground without purpose or fulfilling His intention. God’s word never fails, and lasts forever. (Psalm 18:30; 33:4; Isaiah 46:10-11; 55:11; Matthew 24:35)

What difference do these truths make in the way I view difficulties, health issues, challenging relationships, disappointments, tragedy? When situations or fears or sin feel out of control, can I ground my reaction in my unchanging, all-powerful LORD of hosts? If there are no coincidences, can I not take comfort from God’s ordering of my days and weaknesses and heartaches, guidance from His inspiration, instruction from conviction? When something does not turn out as I expected or desired, do I trust He is not surprised, but rather purposeful and wise and has divine reasons for all that transpires? His sovereign reign means I can face each day and every incident with hope and security, absolutely trusting His goodness. (Romans 8:28)

Lord of lords, increase my faith as I look to You to accomplish Your perfect will in every aspect of life. Give me eyes to see Your invisible hand. Help me to keep silence before Your holy throne and trust Your appointed times, and Your timing, in all things concerning me and those I love. (Habakkuk 2:3-4,20; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Peter 3:8-9)

Boundary Lines

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Command the people, When you enter the land of Canaan (this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance, as defined by its borders), your south side shall be from the wilderness of Zin alongside Edom, and your southern border shall run from the end of the Salt Sea on the east. And your border shall turn south of the ascent of Akrabbim, and cross to Zin, and its limit shall be south of Kadesh-barnea. Then it shall go on to Hazar-addar, and pass along to Azmon. And the border shall turn from Azmon to the Brook of Egypt, and its limit shall be at the sea. For the western border, you shall have the Great Sea and its coast. This shall be your western border. From the Great Sea you shall draw a line to Mount Hor. From Mount Hor you shall draw a line to Lebo-hamath, and the limit of the border shall be at Zedad. Then the border shall extend to Ziphron, and its limit shall be at Hazar-enan. This shall be your northern border. You shall draw a line for your eastern border from Hazar-enan to Shepham… down to Riblah on the east side of Ain. And the border shall go down and reach to the shoulder of the Sea of Chinnereth on the east. And the border shall go down to the Jordan, and its limit shall be at the Salt Sea. This shall be your land as defined by its borders all around.” Numbers 34:1-12

Moses would not be entering the land with God’s people, but he was to instruct them about the specific geographic boundaries in which they would settle. It was a new, unknown land to them, but their LORD knew it, (He had created it!) and had gone before them to prepare their forever home. So there would be no confusion, He spelled out in detail where they were to take over and settle in this land of promise. (Genesis 1:9-13; John 14:3)

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How gracious is our sovereign God to outline the boundaries in our lives. He knows us by name, and has determined the places we live and work and serve and thrive. He gives us freedom in the choosing of our industry and ministry, where we might move and how we will live, developing us as His followers to seek Him in every decision. Yet He also provides great comfort and security for us in that He has fingered our borders and the number of our days with His grand purpose. Ah, indescribable high God! Contemplating the mystery of His sovereignty can only elicit thankfulness, wonder, and praise!  (Isaiah 43:1-3; Acts 17:26-28)

We may chafe at our current borders, or a past we cannot change, but remember, the Lord over all has drawn them personally for us and promises a delightful future. He Who is presently working all things according to the counsel of His will has granted us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places and guaranteed our eternal inheritance. (Ephesians 1:3,11,14)

Divine Master, the lines have indeed fallen for me in pleasant places, and I have a beautiful inheritance, because of Jesus. May my life honor You, my King. (Psalm 16:6)

 

Recounting the Journey

These are the stages of the people of Israel, when they went out of the land of Egypt by their companies under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the Lord. They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month, [and camped at Succoth]. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians... And they set out from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. And they set out from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, and they camped before Migdol. And they set out from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and they went a three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah. And they set out from Marah and came to Elim; at Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. And they set out from Elim and camped by the Red Sea. And they set out from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin… And they set out from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. And they set out from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai. 

And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of Egypt. And the Canaanite king of Arad heard of the coming of the people of Israel. And they set out from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah…  And they set out from Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. And they set out from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho.” Numbers 33:1-3,5-11,14-15,38,40-41,47-48

On and on went the wayfaring, tent camp after tent camp in at least 41 places over forty years, and each place, though together a singular journey looking back, was significant. Setting his life in order, Moses kept careful account of where God had led and provided for His people, documenting the journey for generations to come. From their victorious escape from slavery in Egypt to the place of vision at the edge of the Promised Land, he named every wilderness, oasis, arid thirst, joyful provision, threat from without, and sorrow.

Long road ahead, Barefoot Ranch TX

Taking time to recount our journey with Him is a healthy exercise in gratitude. God has given human emotion and thought for processing how He has been intricately involved in what has been, teaching us to trace His hand and providential influence in all of history. In every wandering, misery, longing, expectation, assuaging of thirst, He is present. He Who superintends time and the measure of our lives deserves to be magnified above our in-the-moment perspective. He is Lord over all, from beginning to end, lavishing the deep valleys, wildernesses, mountaintops, and every step in between, with His abiding grace and faithfulness. (Psalm 90:1-2)

Lord, You Who have been faithful thus far will be faithful to the end. Cause me to love You more each day of my sojourning. (Deuteronomy 7:9; 1 Corinthians 1:9)

Jealous with His Jealousy

And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. Therefore say, “Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.”’” “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.” Numbers 25:10-13; Exodus 20:5

While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.” The heathen Moabites harassed the Israelites with their wiles, and beguiled them into sexual impurity and idol worship of false gods, and their jealous God would not have it. They were His betrothed, and He would not let them pander to another lover, so He executed harsh judgment through His brave servant Phinehas. What moves me in this story is the peace that was brought in this ugliest of sin and harshest of judgments, peace through atonement wrought by righteous jealousy. (Numbers 25:1-3,18)

Do I grasp God’s jealousy for me, and relish it, or balk at the high expectations that attend His love? His righteous jealousy is vastly different from what we as humans feel. The motive is what distinguishes His love-filled desire over our souls for goodness and abounding joy from our coveting, often in impulsive or passionate desire, for our own temporal pleasure. His jealous yearning over us is great proof of His amazing, boundless love, yet again and again we can shirk Him to be free unto our own devices, shaking Him off and dashing ourselves onto the rocks of emptiness and purposelessness.

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How jealous am I for my great God and His glory? For my loved ones to live for Him and be untainted by the world? Do I pray with fervency, jealous for God’s honor in our government, churches, communities, homes, and marriages? How brave am I, how do I live distinctly, knowing my loving God is jealous for me, that He is constantly interceding for me and wooing me away from sin? (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)

To serve the present age, my calling to fulfill:
Oh, may it all my powers engage to do my Master’s will!                                                          Arm me with jealous care, as in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare a strict account to give!”  ~Charles Wesley (1762)

Lord, make me a Phinehas, wholeheartedly and jealous for You and Your people. May the way I live each day not only guard, but promote Your glory among my world.

Whose Friend Am I?

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:1-8,10

James sets forth a spectacular dichotomy between good and evil, contrasting our unbridled passions against right thinking, adulterous relationships against faithful ones, greed against self-control, the world against God, pride against humility, resistance against submission. They are always at war, and always stir up the vilest conflict and turmoil both within and around us. Like a tug-of-war, we can want to do (and think and desire) what is right, but the snarky, scrappy enemy is always playing games and pulling hard at our resolve. To beat him, we need to put up a fight, dig in our heels, lean back on God’s “more grace,” and resist him.

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Am I a friend of the world, or friend of God? What evidence is there in how I speak of others, respond to others, pray and interact, whose friend I am? How do the ways I plan, behave at work, spend my time and spend my money, identify my allegiance? If I claim to be God’s friend, are there areas where I arouse His jealousy because I am flirting with a lesser comrade? Where do I need to lay down selfish desires to win, to have, to be recognized, for the greater exaltation that comes from humility and purity of heart? As the world tenaciously pulls at my attention, can my will succumb to my Lord’s more alluring (and vastly superior) love? Where do I need simply to let go of the rope, and turn, and walk into the arms of my Savior? (Philippians 2:1-8)

“Do not love the world or the things in the world.” “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” 1 John 2:15; Matthew 6:24

Lord, I bow before You to be cleansed, purified, and set aright in my allegiances and affections. May I ever delight in You, that the desires of my heart are fulfilled in You alone. Thank You for making me Your friend forever. (Psalm 37:4; John 15:13-15)

In the Day of Trouble

I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying. You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I consider the days of old, the years long ago. I said, ‘Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.’ Then my spirit made a diligent search: ‘Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time?.. Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?’ Then I said, ‘I will appeal to this,  to the years of the right hand of the Most High.’ I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. You with your arm redeemed your people. Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock.” Psalm 78:1-2,4-15,19-20

These have been days of trouble for several loved ones, for many I do not know. Trouble does not discriminate. Deep pain with erring children, recurring cancer, torn marriages splitting families, unjust accusations that can ruin reputation and livelihood, devastation from natural disaster. The psalmist cries, and cries again, convinced that God will hear, yet weary of trouble and unable in restless sleep to find his song in the night. Feeling helpless, he pours out his beleaguered soul, then in an act of his will, appeals to his God’s character. Through all His years, He has been faithful, working wonders in might and holiness. This is the God he would choose to trust, this the One Who could lead him through the sea again, unseen, mysterious, omnipotent, his Deliverer.

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What troubles assail today? What choking heartache, niggling resentment, empty alone, deep regret, practical impossibility, or oppressive fear is clenching my lungs, taking my air, weighing down with impossible burden? Cry to God! He knows every trouble, and all pain associated with them. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” He Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever has from the beginning worked marvelous deeds for His people. Remember the miracles of old, the answers to prayer that surprised and amazed! Recount His past faithfulnesses, and trust Him again! One day, all will be well; in this we can take heart. (Isaiah 53:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 10:23; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:24; Revelation 7:17; 21:3-4)

Trustworthy God, there is none like You! It is good to be near You, my refuge, my very present help in trouble, my peace, that I may tell of all your works and lift high Your praise. (Psalm 46:1; 73:28; John 16:33)

Heard, Seen, Touched, Proclaimed

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—  the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” 1 John 1:1-4

John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” had loved Him deeply in their three years together, and was compelled and inspired by the Holy Spirit to write about the fellowship of love Jesus offered His people. What was real experience to him in his relationship with his Savior, involving all his senses, he would proclaim in writing for God’s people to have forever forward, awakening a divine fellowship among them that would also last forever. (John 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20)

As in his gospel, John begins “from the beginning,” reaching to eternity past to establish the unique existence of Jesus, and his message spans eternal life from then through present proclamation to forever completed joy. Now, he could not hold in his amazing experience with Jesus, but wanted to proclaim it with all who would believe and know it also. He has an urgency because it was the greatest gift any could know. (John 1:1)

Pink:white blossoms against blue sky close-up, Nagiso-Machi, Japan (A.T.)

What is my daily experience with Jesus? How often do I take time to recount, and thank Him for, the ways He has revealed Himself to me, showing up in a present flood of peace, appearing in a friend or a note in the mail, or captivating me with a piece of His magnificent creation? Am I attentive enough to hear Him speak through a situation, or clearly through His word, or one of His people? When He touches me with a firm hand of correction, or inexplicable comfort, what is my reaction? How receptive am I? In what ways have I seen Him work in answer to specific prayer, in the invisible through changed attitudes or the quelling of an agitated spirit, in spite of me? Are my senses awake enough to hear, see, and touch my Savior when I meet with Him?

Once I know the sweetness of His fellowship, how can I help but share it with others? How am I shining His joy and bringing others into His fold?

Break through my nature, mighty, heavenly love,
Clear every avenue of thought and brain,
Flood my affections, purify my will,
Let nothing but Thine own pure life remain.                                                                               Thus wholly mastered and possessed by God,
Forth from my life, spontaneous and free,
Shall flow a stream of tenderness and grace,
Loving, because God loved, eternally.”  ~Emily May Grimes  (1868-1927)

Ever present, indescribable, inexpressible Lord, thank You for the gift of loving fellowship with You. As You have made Yourself real to me, may I make You real to others, that they also may know Your deepest, everlasting joy. (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Racing to the Finish

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” 2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1-3

My husband and I recently participated in a paddleboard race, and anticipating maneuvering alongside others, at least early on in a restricted area, I reminded myself that my motive was to enjoy the ride, not come in first. As we prepared to launch, I noticed the other (all younger) paddlers, wearing elaborate gear, were on “racing boards,” some even equipped with timers, and I realized they had a very different motive than I: to WIN. It was a beautiful, warm morning, and we dug hard through the sun-dappled bay rippled with breeze and edged with colorful boats and eager locals who had come to cheer us on. As we made the final turn, my husband urged me to push to the end, and although it is hard to’ sprint’ on a wide board in perky water, my tired arms kept on, the welcome staff at the beach in sight. It is exhilarating, even if exhausting, to race to the finish.

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I see the Christian life not so much as a race against others as that toward the finish, perhaps the completion of one service or the closing of a season, but ultimately the day when we will be greeted by our Savior. Pushing hard for a pace can be good, stretching us to press on and work wholeheartedly, without letting up. We often expend ourselves to go farther and more efficiently with others around us heading in the same direction. In all the effort, there is joy in the journey; along the way God has many and varied treasures in store- measures of strength, delightful discoveries, newfound insights- that are ours for the receiving and enjoying if we keep our eyes open, our cadence constant. And finishing well, at any assignment or task, especially alongside someone we love, brings great satisfaction.

Whatever race before me, specific duty or lifelong pursuit, how consistent am I in fighting the good fight, keeping the faith? When I flag in zeal, faint in heart, or lose sight of the joy set before me, will I look to Jesus, the One Who has called me to this faith-life and is writing my story? He has determined the finish line and awaits with glory.

Lord, with all my breath and energy and focus, in the days and years You have given, may I run, serve, and love with perseverance, may I worship with all I have, to Your praise and glory. All crowns are Yours.