Those Who Mourn

Great thought from a dear Brother in the Lord; please visit for much, much more insight and inspiration!

The Life Project

Most of the time, we don’t associate blessing with mourning; maybe we should rethink this… Matthew didn’t actually say what those blessed ones are mourning; it could be the loss of a loved one, it could be the loss of their home or possessions, or it could be the sinful and rebellious state of this world. Maybe it doesn’t matter…

I think it is safe to say that for a person to truly mourn they first had to love; certainly this would be true in the loss of a loved one. It would also be true if a person is mourning the loss of possessions, for if they didn’t love the possession(s) lost, would they actually mourn?

It wouldn’t seem so.

If the person was mourning for the wickedness of this world, wouldn’t that show they loved God a whole lot?

Consider for a moment those who do not…

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Study To Show Yourself Approved

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2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (KJV)

2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (NKJV)

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NKJV)


In August of 2017, I will turn 65 years old and I surrendered my heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ, just before my 17th birthday, so I have a few years of immersing myself into the Living Word of God, the Holy Bible. Even before being “born again/saved” I used to try and read our big ornate Catholic Bible that used to sit on our living-room coffee table.

From a young age I truly wanted to learn its spiritual secrets, but until surrendering my heart and soul to the Lord, it was a mixture of mystery, mysticism and religion that I couldn’t quite fathom. 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

I am now all these years later (and have been for several decades) a teacher of the Word and I have learned several things along the way. Now, this is not an auto-biography of my life in the Word, but rather a setting forth of some tips, as it were, to help those who might want to get more out of their own study in the Word of God.

There are several legitimate ways in which to study and even teach the Word of God, but the two main ones I want to cover are probably your most basic. You might be asking at this point, why even put forth these “tips” as most everybody knows how to read. The truth of the matter is that in my many years of being a minister/servant of the Word of God, I have come across many, many individuals who actually do NOT read the Bible themselves, let alone study or even meditate on it, but rather rely totally upon their Pastor/Preacher/Teacher or some other expositor to tell them what the Bible has to say to them as individuals.

The sad circumstances of this practice is that without studying for yourselves you do not know if you are being given the whole truth, a partial truth or an outright false teaching and with have many pews and seats in our churches today filled with people suffering from this very sad state of events.

Our salvation is a very individual circumstance and we will NOT enter into eternity on the apron-strings of anyone else, teacher, preacher or otherwise! The Bible IS the Living Word of God because it has the ability to speak to each individual heart as well as a whole congregation of hearts. This is probably why, also, the Pastor/Preacher/Teacher has so much responsibility before the Lord for the very words that come forth from their mouths! We have not just been given a calling to express forth the TRUTH of the Word of God, but we have been given the responsibility of making sure we are teaching the truth and nothing but the truth!

As I stated earlier, there are several ways to approach a study in the Word of God. The two I am going to touch on is the Thematic and the Expository way, sometimes referred to as the Contextual way. Simply put, the Thematic is when you have an idea or a subject reference, for example, say you want to study on the Grace of God. You would reference and study different Scriptures and passages of Scripture that deal with that subject matter or theme.

By comparison the Expository or Contextual is when you start with a particular verse or paragraph and you go as the Prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 28:10, “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.” When you read/study/teach this way, everything is in context, everything around a particular Scripture refers to or makes meaning to that central Scripture or paragraph.

Expository teaching forces you to keep your study and/or teaching in CONTEXT and doesn’t allow you to stray from the main theme of the subject being discussed. You can still reference NOT just the text, but the spirit of subject and you can still identify, commands to follow, examples put forth for demonstration, etc. Remember this is ALL of your study and/or teaching, it is NOT just the words you are trying to convey for the words are NOT what brings forth life, but you are pursuing the SPIRIT of the subject; what is really hidden behind the text!

Paul wrote this principle clearly for ALL of us in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Thematic study/teaching is different and especially so in its discipline of the actual study/teaching! One of the main reasons why we have so many false teachings in the church-world today and so many religious fads that people follow “hook, line and sinker,” is because of the lack of discipline in Thematic study and especially from the pulpit or Sunday School Teacher in the classroom.

In Thematic study/teaching you STILL have to take things in context as you do with Expository, BUT, the big difference is, with Thematic, the studier or teacher can pull Scriptures from this part of the Bible and that part of the Bible and without the context of the Scripture(s) used, you can actually make the Bible say whatever you want it to say! It is for this reason that so many will say that the Scriptures contradict themselves or the Scriptures only apply to life in general!

The Word of God as a whole is definitely many-faceted and I/you can read one Scripture today and be really impacted by it and a week from now, see or perceive a meaning far deeper than first realized. This is one of the spiritual aspects that truly DOES make the Word of God, a LIVING force! This is what makes the Word of God, the textual/spiritual embodiment of Christ Jesus, Himself who is referred to as The Word of God! (John 1:1, 14). But – the Scriptures NEVER stray from the context in which they were given and when discerned by the inner spiritual man, they never stray from the context in which they are meant for the individual studying it!

One of the Scriptures I love to use when referring to those studying the Word of God and especially to those who value the TRUTH in the Word, AND equally special to those who might repeat a teaching, is found in the Book of Acts.

Acts 17:10-11, “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

What made the Bereans so noble when it came to the Word of God, is not that they were looking to find FAULT with Paul’s teaching, but rather, they were seeking to confirm and verify the TRUTH of his teachings for their own spiritual welfare! Too many in our churches today, do NOT seek to verify whether the person behind the pulpit is telling you the WHOLE truth, a partial truth or even a fable!! The rely solely on the charisma of the individual, how many others believe what they teach and so on and so forth!

When we stand before the Lord on Judgment Day, He isn’t going to ask us if we believed in everything we heard and who we heard it from. He is either going to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25), or He is going to say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7).

We truly need to take responsibility on how we apply the Living Word of God to our own lives. Teaching from others is important; if it weren’t so important, people like myself and my peers in Teaching Ministries wouldn’t have this type of calling on our lives. But, before any of us can teach, can be a “workman” who is equipped to do the work called too, we HAVE to study, as the New King James Version of the Bible says, we have to be DILIGENT in our study, we have to use the spiritual gift, given freely to all who are renewed in the spirit (born-again), that discernment, which IS a gift, to be able to delve into the treasure that IS the Word of God!

I want you to consider this; the beloved, Apostle John states this in 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” The word prosper also means to profit, which confirms and verifies what the Apostle Paul wrote Timothy in the Scripture listed at the start of this article. The Living Word of God “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped…..”


It, the Word of God, is PROFITABLE, you gain more from it than what you put into it! You come out ahead, you PROSPER, by taking into yourself, the Word of God!! When you read/study the Living Word of God, and you apply the spiritual gift of discernment and you LEARN the truth of that Word, your soul/spirit and yes even human nature prospers from it. For one thing, you GAIN (profit, prosper) wisdom, a commodity that is sadly in very, very short supply today! You GAIN (profit, prosper) in TRUTH! You actually strengthen yourself against falsehoods, both naturally and especially spiritually! BUT – this all comes to you by being “diligent,” or “studying to show YOURSELF approved to God,” and able to walk in this world of spiritual landmines by being equipped in truth and integrity!

The Word of God, when made to be a part of who you are in Christ, by the systematic study of its contents, changes you into a better person in the natural, yes, but more importantly it works an ETERNAL transformation in the spiritual!

Study to show YOURSELF approved to God, study to prove the truth of what others are teaching you, study to profit and prosper in your spirit and soul, for that is where the REAL gain is, and study to be equipped that you might help others who need a steady and sure spiritual hand! Remember what Paul wrote Timothy, the Word of God is profitable, it earns dividends, “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness!” You CAN be equipped in all these areas, through the study, meditation and contemplation of the Word of God!

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Take the Plunge!

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This was shared by Brother Bruce Mills, but Written and published by Sister Patricia Hall. She has some great insights on her blog site, be blessed and visit for more inspiration!!

Delighted in Jesus

FullSizeRender To take a plunge into something that surrounds or covers you is by definition, “to be immersed”. Understanding this concept has made it easier for me to understand the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. As a former director of operations for a non-profit organization, I knew that systems were key to successful operation of the business and if a system was in place long enough it would run productively. The implementation of a system required thoughtfulness, time, and patience. Before the new habits are formed, when things get busy, or panic sets in, there may be a temptation to revert back to the old system, but that will just bring confusion and chaos. To have a successful system you must have confidence in the system and a plan for implementation.  To change over to a new system three basic things are required: The awareness that the old system isn’t working, a decision to change, and the willingness to dive all the…

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His Will Is In The Word

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I was just talking with Susie, my wife about the sadness of those psychic commercials where people are looking for direction and purpose in their lives and I just mentioned if they would only turn to the WORD of God they wouldn’t be disappointed and it wouldn’t necessarily be by knowing what the future holds, but rather WHO holds the Future!!!
This is from a dear fellow Pastor whom I had the pleasure of meeting through online ministry many, many years ago. His writings are direct, truthful and full of the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Please check out his blog for inspiration and teaching!!

Pastorht's Blog

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His Will Is In The Word

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

In this prayer, Jesus prayed twice that the Father would keep His disciples from evil. Then He reveals the way that God will accomplish this – through His Word, the holy scriptures. Anyone who desires to live for God, reject the devil, and reject the world’s system, must know God’s Word.

We must study the scriptures, for they reveal the will of God for our actions and attitudes. To be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, we must be filled with God’s Word. God’s Word is His will! Those who are ignorant of God’s Word will be ignorant of God’s will.

Knowledge of God’s will is foundational in developing Christian conduct and character. There is no way we can fulfill God’s will if we don’t know what it is. The starting point…

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Weapons Don’t Wield Themselves

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From my Sister in Christ, Bette Cox! This week many seem to be focusing on TRUTH and as stated in other posts, the TRUTH should never be a fearful thing to a disciple of Christ who is spiritual renewed, no matter what the source of that TRUTH. It’s time to STOP looking for our ears to be tickled, there ARE SOULS AT STAKE!!
Thanks, Sister Bette for this much needed post on action!

Esther's Petition

GodsWeaponsMadeForYou“The worst thing the enemy can do to a believer in Jesus is to send him home to heaven early.”

Why doesn’t God stop him in his tracks?

It’s obvious that the enemy of our faith is at work in the world, sometimes very close to where we live. We wonder why he seems to be getting away with so many murderous acts, causing so much chaos, turmoil and tragedy.

Reminders of several basic facts:

  • War is being waged for control of this planet, control of the people who live on the planet, and eradication of the people inhabited by the Creator of the planet.
  • God gave control of this planet to human beings. Stopping the enemy is our job. We’re not doing a very good job of it, but it’s still our responsibility.
  • It’s not an even fight, the sides aren’t even close to equal – but you’d never…

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Has the Church Become Empty Salt Shakers?

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A great article by Brother Patrick Hawthorne. Be sure to check his site for other posts, you will ALWAYS get the truth from him; and, we should NEVER be afraid of the truth no matter how it comes!!! Salt indeed!!!

SGM

By Patrick Hawthorne

salt

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should become-tasteless, with what will it be salted? It no longer has strength for anything except, having been thrown outside, to be trampled-underfoot by people. (Matthew 5:13 Disciples Literal New Testament).

Jesus had just begun His teaching in what we have come to know as the Beatitudes.  In carrying on the thought of, “Blessed are..,” He interjects – to those who are present for the message – that they are the salt of the earth; that WE are the salt of the earth.  He then tells them that they are lights meant to shine for all to see.

Of late, my thoughts have been toward the Body of Christ and how we have failed in so many ways.  As I read this particular verse, I could not help but think, “Have we become an army of empty…

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Treasure Hunting

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You know, for all of our “advanced” learning and education, and all of our technological achievements and advancements, it should be no surprise as to why the Bible, the Living Word of God is still so relevant for today. Human nature, never changes; at least without help from our Creator and Heavenly Father’s Hand in our lives.

Ever since mankind left the garden, he has always been pursuing treasure; to either increase his wealth among other men or status and power to appear to rise above others.

Yet the Bible tells us where true treasure lies and it is not in the ground or under a mountain.

Proverbs 8:10-11, “Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.”

Proverbs 16:16, “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

Proverbs 4:1-13, “Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding; For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”
“Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life will be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble. Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.”

Proverbs 11:14, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.”

Proverbs 13:10, “By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom.”

Proverbs 15:21, “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly.”
22, “Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established.”

Proverbs 19:20, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.”
21, “There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’S counsel-that will stand.”

Proverbs 24:3-6, “Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.”
7, “Wisdom is too lofty for a fool; He does not open his mouth in the gate.”

The Bible is a treasure trove and wisdom is the treasure that won’t be corrupted, as Jesus stated in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Just some spiritual “food for thought”!!

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Religion Vs Christianity

I have had this truth on my desk for years. It is an excellent reminder of our place in our Heavenly Father’s hands. He first takes us as clay and puts us on the potter’s wheel to mold and shape us into what He wants us to be. The end result is a vessel, a tool or a utensil to be used for HIS Glory! There are a lot of religions in the world today and the center of those religions aren’t always a person or “deity”, but many times a “thing”!

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Run, Run The Race

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1 Corinthians 9:24-25, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.”

Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:1-3, “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, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”


The Apostle Paul speaks a lot of the analogy between our Christian walk and that of a “race.” Paul, being not just a Jew, but a Roman as well, and as a soldier would have been very familiar with the Ancient Olympic Games. The Ancient Olympic Games had evolved from a “stadia” or a foot race into many other games and especially the horse and chariot races that Paul would have been familiar with.

The races occurred usually during one of two religious ceremonies to honor and deify the ancient Greek gods. It was a time when truce between armies of the region would be called, and politics for the most part would be put aside. But Paul in most of his Scriptural writings concentrated on the actual “racing” aspect of the games.

The analogy is not lost on this age that we also live in due to the level of fervor surrounding not just the modern Olympic Games, but other sports such as Football, Baseball and Basketball to mention just a few.

It should be no surprise then, that the analogy that the Apostle uses, written under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is still very applicable and fitting today! When I was a younger man, I used to run a lot, it was something I was good at. In my early High School days, it was Cross-Country running. I tried hurdles, but didn’t do good, but found out I had stamina to run distances. The thing about a runner is that there is always a reason to run. Whether it is for a goal such as a ribbon or trophy, for health reasons, or even for sponsored donations to help a worthy cause, as the Apostle Paul wrote it was for the prize at the end of the run, the crown as it were.


It hasn’t changed either in whatever you choose to “run” for. There is always a goal, something to be realized upon your finish. Unlike running though in the natural world where our “prize” is a perishable crown as Paul writes, when we are running a spiritual race, which equates for the most part as a long-distance or marathon race, we are running for something that can’t be taken from us, that can’t rust and break down or be destroyed.

Yet with any type of race, there can be stumbles, obstacles, hurdles as it were to climb over or to overcome. I learned early on that even though these “setbacks” can cost me the win, the ultimate goal of any runner is to finish. Paul makes this clear when writing to the various Churches. It’s the goal of the finish, of crossing that finish line where the real reward lies. We can’t look back upon the times we tripped or had to overcome an obstacle for those things are in the past and will always be a part of our past.

I didn’t have family support when I was running in Cross-Country, I was doing it for myself and to a degree for friendship. I always envied the other kids that were running who had a family member on the finish line, cheering them forward. Yet, inevitably, it had to be what was inside that caused each of us to keep moving forward no matter how winded or weary our muscles felt, that goal line was always in front of us until the very end!

The writer of Hebrews reminds us of the same thing when face discouragement or even troubled times in our Christian walk. As Christians, walking a spiritual walk as compared to just a religious lifestyle, we DO have, as the writer says, a “great cloud of witnesses,” who are cheering us on, who have shown before-times that this “race” CAN be won and we CAN successfully cross that finish line, as did others before us!

Discouragement, disappointment may and most likely WILL come, but by pushing aside the burden of those things, we continue to press forward with the goal in sight! We do this by keeping our spiritual eyes focused on what is ahead, neither looking to the sides at what is going on around us, or what we have already passed behind us!

Lately, I have had to re-evaluate MY running to see where my “sight” has been focused. This is what a runner does after every race. He looks back and analyzes what slowed him down or what caused him to stumble. Now, granted, unlike the natural runner who can do race after race, after race, we have one go at this marathon and we HAVE to run it with endurance, as the writer of Hebrews encourages. But, we are able to analyze, by the power of the Holy Spirit within, what is driving or motivating us, what is causing us to slow or to stumble, at all times while STILL in the race!

The only time a Christian “could” lose the race, would be if we were to give up completely. Now, I won’t get into it here, but the Bible does tell us that in the Last Days, there will be a great falling away or Apostasy. Some don’t believe in this Apostasy, or it doesn’t apply to Christians, yet the Bible speaks of it and just like Repentance is turning away from the darkness to the Light of Christ, Apostasy in the sense mentioned is turning away from the Light of Christ back to darkness.

My point is this, the choice to FINISH the race is always in your hands given the analogy of the writer of Hebrews and the Apostle Paul! This is why you lay aside discouragement, disappointment and even the sin that the Hebrews writer says can “easily ensnare” or slow us down!

We do this by first and foremost looking to Christ Jesus who is the Author AND Finisher of our faith AND by considering what He went through at the hands of sinners so that we might obtain the “prize” waiting at the goal-line! Christ Jesus is our sponsor AND trainer through the power of His Holy Spirit! When we consider what He has “put up” for each of us to be able to run, and when we can consider what He went through and we take to heart His teaching, then we have the ability and are equipped to cross that finish line!

We must never assume, no matter how far we have run, or how LONG we have been running that we have arrived, for to assume that we have arrived at the goal before the finish line is to stop in our tracks just shy of the goal! We haven’t, none of us, achieved a perfect course UNTIL we break that ribbon at the finish line and only then have we achieved the goal set before us.

I guess the real moral written here, is to run and to never give up. No matter how weary, we have a constant source of energizing Power available to us in the Holy Spirit. No matter how many times we stumble, we have a Redeemer and Savior that has already run this course against impossible odds and has beat the odds! This was ALWAYS His Father’s plan for us through His Son!

But we HAVE to enter the race and once entered begin running! Here’s a secret to keeping our eyes on the prize; unlike in the natural where the prize is shown as a motivation to those running and seen by all, in the spiritual, we have been told and retold and reminded again and again what that prize will be and the worth of that prize. We don’t actually see it, we have to “visualize” it in the spirit through faith. We have to go from believing what that prize is, in the beginning, to actually KNOWING what that prize is, BECAUSE we are getting closer to the finish line and our vision gets clearer and more focused the closer we get!

The closer you become to your trainer, Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the more you learn and “relate” to the Father and the more you recognize the prize He is offering you, BUT, you have to START running towards that goal!

What we as individuals need to do, is not just to run this race, but while running, we need to encourage one another to keep running. Just like that “great cloud of witnesses” we need to cheer one another on, remind each other that this race HAS been run by others and that the finish line is within each of our grasps.

The day that our feet step over that goal-line, will be for each of us individually the greatest day in our lives and our lives will truly begin eternally right there!!! Unlike when I was younger and envious of the other runners that had a parent cheering them on at the finish line, we are each going to experience our Lord and Savior with outstretched arms, welcoming our final footsteps into our new life! What a PRIZE that will be!!

Hebrews 3:6, “but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”

14 “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, . . .”

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The Great I Am

Thanks to my Brother in Christ, Randy Summers for posting this on Facebook!

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