Finish the Course

finish the courseAre you equipped today with your survival kit?

This journey we are on called “life” is filled with seemingly-impassable roads, unexpected detours and numerous obstacles. Fatigue and despair will slow us down. The challenges are too great at times, tempting us to quit. Are you using the Word of God to sustain you? It’s the survival kit you can utilize for every issue that arises!

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” These are Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4:7. Paul’s desire was to endure, finish strong and be faithful as a follower of Jesus Christ. His comparison is one which we can all easily understand. The Christian life is often represented as race to be run. We might not all actually be trained marathon runners, but we can possess similar stamina on the mission assigned to us!

A few weeks ago, while cleaning out our attic, I came across a rather large military backpack. It was issued to my husband, Ted, in 1977, when he enlisted with the US Marine Corps. It’s called a “782 Gear” bag; a recruit would sign the standard USMC Form 782 when they took custody of and responsibility for their equipment.

The 782 bag was filled with all the essentials needed to sustain them while out on the field: canteen, first aid kit, food rations, flashlight, blanket, etc. They needed to be prepared for anything, but the goal was to survive. A Marine would never leave his 782 gear bag behind-it was crucial for his very existence.

Our spiritual lives are similar to this boot camp training and its survival tactics. God wants us to endure the hardships, conquer the enemies and ultimately, finish the course faithfully. We are not alone on this journey. God has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit to equip us for the oppositions and afflictions we face. All of the tools we need can be found in the Scriptures, providing us with strength, determination and purpose. If we are faithful and committed to finishing our course, God will bless us and reward us. I like to think that He is at the finish line, awaiting our arrival!

Philippians 4:13 states “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.” Jesus knows all about struggles-He endured the long, agonizing road to Calvary in order to accomplish His Father’s Will. He was beaten and bruised, spat upon, whipped and rejected as being the Son of God. He could have stopped, quit, refused to finish the course. Yet, His love for mankind was so great and His desire to fulfill His Father’s Plan of salvation exceeded the temporary pain and chastisement from the crowds. We can celebrate Jesus’ victory over death because He endured!

(Subsequent blogs will elaborate on the “equipment” in God’s Survival Kit!)

A Love Letter from God

Dear Precious Daughter of Mine,gemstone blog pic

I have been watching you for some time now. I can hear your thoughts and know the deepest emotions you possess. My heart is heavy with sadness and confusion.

Why do you question your appearance?Have you forgotten that I am the one who formed you and fashioned you for greatness? I know the number of hairs upon your head and think about you constantly.
Why are your affections so desperate and reckless? I love you with an everlasting love. I desire for that love to flow through you and give you security, knowing that my love will endure no matter what.
Why do you feel useless and insecure? I see so much potential for you. Do not doubt yourself or lack confidence, because I have made you unique. Your future is full of hope and I always desire the very best for you.
Why do you lack joy and dwell on matters which cannot be changed? Draw close to me, and I will show you the plans I have for you. My promises are sure and will bring comfort. Trust me. I love you unreservedly and will never leave you.
Your Heavenly Father

If you have read this blog, then you have had a sneak preview at what is coming!
My next book will deal with the topic of having a positive, Biblical self-image. I believe that many women–both younger and older–have allowed a pattern of negative thinking and critical assumptions to dictate their actions, attitudes, affections and appearance. I am certainly no “expert” on the matter, but it got me searching through the Scriptures to see what God thinks about it. The tentative title is “What A Gem! Discovering Your Worth and Well-Being in the Lord

To gain more familiarity and insight about gemstones, I purchased The Jewelers Directory of Gemstones by Judith Crowe and found some amazing parallels:

~”Behind every beautiful gemstone is a highly talented designer…” God is the highly talented designer who has created us! How unique He has made each one of us! I love the jewelry theme as a means to illustrate God’s creativity and flawless skill!

~”Much of the beauty of gemstones is due to the way they react when light shines on them.” Light is used many times in the Bible, often to point out that one has been exposed to the truth of God’s Word. Our appearance reflects the radiance of God’s love when we are receptive to His light. That in itself is a thing of beauty.

~”The ‘cut’ describes the factors involved in creating a gemstone from rough material.” Let’s face it; most of us have started out as “rough material.” We are born sinners, in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. His Son, Jesus Christ, paid the sacrifice for us and shed His blood on the cross of Calvary. There is so much hope for us, knowing we are a work in progress, crafted by the Master. How patient He is with us!

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

There is no limit to what potential we have, once we have trusted His Son as our personal Savior. We all are in various stages of growth and development, much like the process of mining a rare and precious gemstone.
Some of us may need more polishing, but isn’t it nice to know that “…marvelous are thy works (Psalm 139:14)”!