I have finished the race

2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV)

16 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

 

As a long-distance runner I have always loved Paul’s analogy of the Christian life.

A journey that is not a quick dash but rather a long-haul, pavement pounding, heart-wrenching, soul-enriching marathon.

One that takes plenty of preparation, planning, and bucket-loads of perseverance.

To be able to come to the end of my own days and say, like Paul, that despite everything life threw at me I still managed to keep the faith would be quite an achievement.

Yet it’s one I’m aiming for, training for, and hoping for.

Knowing that by Gods grace I will finish the race, and finish strong.

Kim+

prayer : help me to persevere, keeping the faith no matter what

action : encourage a fellow brother and | or sister in Christ to persevere

equipped for every good work

2 Timothy 3:17 (ESV)

16 … that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

 

It’s Scripture, God’s very breath, that helps us stay on the straight-and-narrow.

Guiding us like ‘a lamp to [our] feet
and a light to [our] path’ (Psalms 119:105).

Sometimes the instructions and commands are explicit, specific.

Other times it’s necessary to understand God’s will, His very nature, in order to find our way.

Like a cryptic crossword His purpose may not always be clear at first. It takes time and effort and persistence to come to a greater (if not complete) understanding of His intent.

But it’s well worth the effort. And His gentle prods and corrections are invaluable.

How else are we to do good work if we lack His guidance? And not just some but every good work.

Kim+

prayer : thank you LORD for teaching, reproofing, correcting and training me

action : help me to do good works

breathed out by God

2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…

 

What a wonderful image of the Word of God: His very breathe.

It brings to mind the beginning of time – when ‘the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters’ – just as God spoke and formed the universe (Genesis 1:2).

And as such we should never take His Word for granted. Never suppose to be above it. Never presume to fully understand it.

What we should do is seek to read it daily. Day & night.

Ponder it. Unravel it. Obey it.

Because it is the ultimate way we can know God’s mind.

His will. His grace. His love.

Kim+

prayer : thank you LORD for your Word

action : delight in and meditate on God’s ‘law’ day & night (Psalm 1:2)

the LORD will come in fire

Isaiah 66:15-16 (ESV)

15 “For behold, the LORD will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment,
and by his sword, with all flesh;
and those slain by the LORD shall be many.”

I think we often forget that the LORD is a God of judgement as well as mercy.

And that His judgement will be harsh but fair (Romans 2:2).

Fire is considered a means of purification; a way of cleansing and refining. Like the process of melting down gold to separate the good bits from the bad bits and in so doing create a pure metal.

Because God hates sin, because He is angry with man’s ungodliness and unrighteousness (Romans 1:18), He will one day act to destroy those who sin: to ‘slay’ those who turn their back on Him.

In some ways it is a “fire & brimstone” message.

And we should all sit-up and take note of it. Because no one – not one of us – is guilt-free.

We have all – every last one of us – rejected God and “gone our own way” (Isaiah 53:6).

Yet that’s where Jesus comes into the picture …

Kim+

prayer : thank you LORD for your justice and mercy

action : confess my sin before God, repenting, and seeking His forgiveness and mercy

abstain from the passions of the flesh

1 Peter 2:11-12 (ESV)

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Abstaining from sinful desires is easier said than done.

Whatever our resolve, all know that we give into temptation. Why else would we need a saviour?

However, He too was tempted like us (Luke 4:1-13): to give into the hunger that gnawed deep inside (v.3); to reject God the Father and take what was rightfully His (v.7); to put God’s word to the ultimate test (v.9-11).

But He didn’t. He refused to be goaded by Satan. To be lulled by his empty promises and scheming deceptions.

Instead, Jesus Christ returned again and again to God’s word to sustain Him (v.4, 8 & 12). Putting His trust in God the Father alone. And not in the Prince of Lies.

Sadly, we are not nearly as strong. Yet it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do the right thing.

So that our deeds may also ‘glorify God’. And in so doing, help others to repent & believe so that they in turn will ‘glorify God’.

Kim+

prayer : make me strong enough to withstand temptation yet humble enough to admit my sins and accept your forgiveness

action : during this time of Lent please help me to make a conscious effort to walk closer with you God and abstain from the passions of the flesh

now you have received mercy

1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

How great it is to receive mercy.

The overwhelming relief. The love and gratitude we then feel in return.

How can we possibly repay our maker? What can we do in return for our redeemer?

Whatever it might be it can never be enough. The debt is too great.

Yet we’re told all our debts to God are forgiven. We are absolved of the need to repay Him.

Leaving us free to serve Him as we ought. With a clear conscience.

As one who is ‘chosen’. One of His ‘people’. Part of His ‘royal priesthood’.

Made ‘holy’ in His sight. And thus set apart for His good purposes.

In part, to show grace and mercy to others.

And what better way than by sharing our faith through ‘proclaiming’ His ‘excellencies’.

Kim+

prayer : may I fully appreciate the gift of ‘light’ and my rescue from ‘darkness’

action : help me to ‘proclaim’ boldly and faithfully