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JESUS, THE PIONEER AND PERFECTER

kathylarkman,
_MG_9161_2015

Sharon Durant, contributor for today’s blog

Hebrews 12:1-3
“… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (NIV)
I love this description of Jesus. It reminds me that, like pioneers going off to America or Australia, he has gone ahead of me and blazed a trail. The future is not a terrifying landscape, uncharted and unknown. Jesus, my pioneer, went there first. And even better, he finishes every job he starts, because he is the ‘perfecter’, too, adding all the final touches to present me as perfect in Him.
Jesus is the pioneer because he is the only one who has died and been raised into new life. He is the pioneer who gives us the Holy Spirit. He is the pioneer who is even now in heaven with the Father.
If I fix my eyes on him, I can follow his pioneering trail. Whatever I face in my life, I know that he was there first:
Rejected by those you love? Jesus was rejected first.
Physically suffering? Jesus suffered first.
Abandoned by friends? Jesus was totally deserted first.
People tell lies about you? Jesus was wrongly accused first.
Feeling the pain of giving things up? Jesus gave up everything.
But the path Jesus has set for us to follow is also pioneering in other areas:
Want to please God? Jesus shows us how.
How to get to heaven? Jesus himself is the way.
Staring at Jesus all the time gives me the best example. Whenever I’m unsure, I can look to him for the way forward.
But sometimes it’s an overwhelming example because I can’t live up to it. This is why the second half of the verse is so amazing. Not just an example, Jesus is the “pioneer… of our faith”. He went ahead of us, making a way for us to have faith.
Jesus’ death and resurrection is the pioneering treatment for our heart disease, so that we can confidently say, ‘Yes Father God, I believe your promises, that in Jesus Christ you will save me, keep me, transform me, glorify me, just as you promised, because you keep your promises; you sent Jesus and he died and rose again just like you promised.”
Jesus is also the ‘perfecter’. He doesn’t just start off the work of faith and abandon us to become holy by our own efforts. He stays with us and sees the job through. He perfects us. He doesn’t leave us half-finished but sticks with us right to the end – just as he promised, “I will never leave you, nor abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
So fix your eyes on Jesus. He goes ahead of us and he sticks with us to the end. You won’t have to look far to find him. He is always speaking to us in the Bible, through Christian songs and friends, and his Holy Spirit lives in us. He leads us through whatever joys and sorrows come our way. We can be confident that our faith is not misplaced – God keeps his promises – because Jesus the pioneer went there first and Jesus the perfecter sticks with us to the end.


DON’T GIVE UP

kathylarkman,
lesley-grindrod

Lesley Grindrod, contributor for today’s blog post

Sisters, like it or not, if we’re alive and breathing right now, we’re all part of a huge marathon race – a race that will not be over until we take our final breath. The course is full of twists and turns, mountains and valleys. There are many hidden obstacles, challenges and even giants on the way, many opportunities to fail; trip up; fall over; be hurt, humiliated or discouraged.
Hebrews 12:1 says we should “… run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.” (The Passion Translation)
I’ve often asked the Lord why my life’s marathon seems to have been so full of obstacles and challenges. I’m not alone – I’m sure we’ve all had times when our race has felt particularly tough and we’ve pitifully cried “Why me, Lord?”
I remember on one of these occasions He led me to the Old Testament stories of how the Children of Israel took possession of the Promised Land. He showed me that to get into my ‘promised land’ I’d have to navigate my way through some wildernesses and fight some pretty ferocious battles. And that my attitude and responses to those obstacles would have a direct bearing on how long they lasted and what fruit they produced!
keep running the raceSo sisters, I have a question for you. In running your race, do you see your daily challenges as obstacles or opportunities? I believe the Lord wants us to see obstacles as a call to strengthen, not to quit! Between you and anything significant there will be giants in your path. No one is immune to problems. Even the lion has to fight off flies! Louisa May Alcott famously said “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
James 1:2-3 says “…. When it seems as though you’re facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience all the joy that you can. For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.”
Let’s refuse to become discouraged by temporary setbacks. If you’re encountering some hard bumps, don’t worry – at least you’re out of a rut! Circumstances are not your master – Jesus is! As we run our race, we may encounter puddles on our path, but those puddles can actually be telling us where to step. Remember our Saviour has promised to be our constant companion and guide, even through the darkest of valleys.
The Apostle Paul wrote “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.”
So keep on running sisters – the entire hosts of heaven are cheering for you!

 


JONI EARECKSON TADA- REFLECTIONS 50 YEARS ON

kathylarkman,

Joni E Tada character quoteOne of my contemporary heroes of the faith is Joni Eareckson Tada. She has exemplified to the world through the years the amazing grace and godly perseverance that our Lord has given her.
This last Sunday (30 July), marks the 5oth anniversary of her diving accident which left her a quadriplegic at the age of 17.

She has written a reflection of this milestone. As Grace Place contributors are reflecting on running the race God has marked out for us with godly perseverance, I thought it fitting to share it. Just click on the link below and take the time to read and ponder. May you find comfort, hope, and a deep peace from our Lord through this precious sister.

Love, Kathy xo

JONI EARKECKSON TADA-REFLECTIONS 50 YEARS ON

 

 

 

 

 

 


Conference Conundrums!

Ruth,
Barazani town

Barazani, with a dried-up Lake Eyasi behind

Barazani: the town reminded me of an old wild-west movie set, although with a lot more poverty.  A number of ramshackled shops lined the rough-roaded street and the one main café in the town consisted of a small plastic-covered shed and a couple of charcoal stoves.  Youths hung about in the ‘pool hall’, many of them with glazed eyes and looking decidedly bored, a sure sign of unemployment in a town which is known for its seasonal onion farming!  The words on the gate of my accommodation read ‘Florida Guesthouse’ and outside loitered a couple of stray dogs.  I knew in that instance that I was not in for a luxurious stay and that this was anything but Florida!  Maybe the room rate of £2.80 per night should also have raised an eyebrow, but alas, this was indeed the best that Barazani had to offer.  Thus began the IBM conference season back in early May!  I’ll let my diary entry for that night set the scene:

The Florida Guesthouse

“My room is 3×3 metres.  There’s no desk, no chair, no cupboard; just a bed with a multi-coloured chequered sheet on it!  There is electricity; it’s been in the town for a couple of years now.  There’s also running water, even when the shower is turned off!  Drip, drip, drip – onto the tiles.  The remedy is to pop next door and turn off the water supply to all of the rooms!  There is a window – but less than a metre away there’s a brick wall, so the view isn’t exactly ‘lake district’!  There’s no mirror in the small bathroom, so shaving should be fun, and to get to the squatty potty, I have to pass under the leaking shower!  Four glorious nights of this!  If I’m honest, I’m not relishing it and would rather be elsewhere, but I am here to do a job, and the job will be done.  I feel woefully inadequate going into this and, being as this is the first of the year, I am not sure how things will go.  How will the pastors respond to nine sessions of my Swahili teaching this week!?  Father God, I need your strengthening hand on me this week.  Please fill me with your Holy Spirit, enable me to teach your Word, and grant me fluency beyond the natural.”

Well, the conference did go very well and the pastors seemed keen to tackle the subject: “Show me a leader with integrity.”  In fact it was a hot topic that grabbed their attention and the questions and head-nodding (in agreement, not sleep!) revealed that this was definitely a timely subject that needed expounding.  On the final afternoon we were also able to encourage the local AIC pastor by visiting his small unfinished church building and praying for him and his family.  Their story, accompanied by tears, revealed that they were going through some very tough times and I left the church astounded, wondering how this guy has been able to cope in this isolated northern outpost.  His house made the Florida Guesthouse seem like the Ritz – or at least like a Travelodge!  As I lay in bed that night listening to the call of a distant hyena, and trying not to itch my 120+ bed-bug bites, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was I had to be grumpy about!

The house where trees live, Lindi

Whilst the Barazani conference is our most northerly venue, the second conference of the year took place in our southern-most venue: the town of Lindi, not too far from the Mozambique border.  One of my guidebooks describes Lindi as follows: “With one eye closed, you can even imagine that the main beach served as a resort of sorts, but today the beachfront benches are all broken and they probably go for weeks at a stretch without being perched on by a tourist.  In the town centre numerous colonial-era buildings are ruined or heading that way, whilst the old derelict German Boma has nothing in it except trees”!  The conference, although small in number (12), went well, but the humid coastal temps meant that, at one point, we had to move out of the tin-roofed church and under some nearby trees to get some much needed breeze!  Whilst some relief was found, the nearby wailing minarets seemed to become a tad louder!  The only issue to report was that, on one morning just before we were due to start, I was summoned to present my passport at the local immigration office and told that I had committed a crime by staying in the town without obtaining prior permission!  Whilst my Tanzanian colleague graciously asked if he could pray for the very officious Muslim official, I sat in the corner biting my tongue and zipping my mouth for fear of a longer confinement!

Our most recent conference (July) was actually on home turf, as we decided to hold the Pwani event at Sanga Sanga, instead of Dar.  Thankfully, with Sanga only being 12 miles up the road from our house, there’s little to report on the travails of travel!  The only drawbacks in trying to hold people’s attention at this venue were the nesting sparrows overhead and the stunning views of the Uluguru mountains!  We had to position the seating so that the pastors wouldn’t be mesmerised all of the time!  We met in the main upper room of the new conference centre, which as yet doesn’t have windows fitted, but the sparrows, the views and the breeze certainly made it memorable.  There was also some great singing during the three days, and it thrilled the soul to hear those African voices, especially as there wasn’t a keyboard or an amplifier in sight!!

The seminar room with a view!

The one thing that did stand out for me personally was how tough the first day was.  I taught three sessions but it felt as though I was wading through treacle for much of it!  I was aware of a lack of inner enthusiasm; the ummpphh was missing, and I stepped away from my homemade lectern a bit dejected.  Was it simply an off day, or was cultural fatigue showing through?  It could indeed be a bit of both, but my team leader Tony helpfully reminded me that what we’re doing at IBM and the subject that we’re teaching is bound to rattle the cage of Satan.  He is very much opposed to seeing teaching on integrity in the Church and, as we know, he comes to steal, disrupt and discourage us in our work.  Thankfully, days 2 and 2 went much better.  The ummpphh was back and I felt that I was more expressive in my Swahili teaching than I had been before!

Mum & Dad Lancs ‘gift-wrapped’ – literally!

Parental Visit!  The very next day Ruth and I headed to Dar to pick up my parents who had flown in for a two-week holiday.  One of the first things to be unwrapped from their luggage was…… a pork pie!  It’s strange what you long for when away from your home culture.  Following the Lancaster tradition, our holiday did not consist of much ‘sit-at-home’ time, and we packed a lot into our time.  We swam in, or rather were battered about by the eight-foot waves of the Indian Ocean!  We spotted scorpions, sea-snakes and storks – literally thousands of them!  In fact the bird list was certainly added to as we toured the National Parks of Tarangire, Manyara, Arusha and Mikumi.  We also spent some time in Tabora with a pastor and his wife who run an orphans and widows project, and came away humbled at the welcome we received by people who literally had next to nothing.  Another sobering moment came as we travelled back from Tabora and observed a disabled women crawling across a busy main road on her hands and knees.  Other more amusing journey sightings included a goat standing on the top of a speeding petrol tanker, and a man walking down the street with a pig on his shoulders!  We also gave a lift to a man who told us he had been walking for three days because he couldn’t afford the bus fare of £1.70 to get to his home town.  We had just driven his ‘three days’ in a little over three hours!  Never a dull moment on the roads of Africa!

Life in Ruth’s Lane!  Every year AIM’s female missionaries in Tanzania get together for a time of retreat.  This year’s retreat was held in May on the coast south of Dar es Salaam.  Kathy Larkman, our pastor’s wife from Corsham Baptist, came to speak on ‘Christ’s Love Compels Us’.  It was a special time of relaxation, catching up with friends, praying with each other and having a few laughs too.  Unfortunately I had again been suffering from a few boils, and a large abscess on my side distracted me somewhat from the retreat.  I was able to have a small surgical procedure at a clinic in Dar before we headed home to Morogoro.  Thank you to everyone who prayed for me during this time – it has healed up nicely now and added to my collection of scars!

We’ve had lots of visitors at Sanga Sanga over the last few months, including two large AICT children’s camps.  We converted the pump house into a temporary dorm to add to our capacity!  It was lovely seeing the children enjoying the fresh air, space and their Sunday School lessons.

One of the highlights of the year so far was the visit of a work team from our church in Corsham who came to help build a shower block on the campsite.  Nine folks came and joined with our local team to lay bricks, mix cement and plaster walls.  Some of the nine were returnees from last year’s group but some were new and had never visited Africa before.  They coped really well in the unfamiliar environment and even picked up a few words of Swahili.  They were very focused on their task and at the end of the trip the roof was on – a great achievement!  We are so thankful to our church for sending them and for raising the funds to build these much-needed facilities.

I had a few days of holiday at the end of May when my friend Rachel from Tearfund/Oak Hall days came to visit.  We had 3 nights on Zanzibar and a day on safari.  It was her first time to Tanzania so it was lovely to show her our ministry and home life here.

Cookery course students

One part of my role that I very much enjoy is spending time with the staff at the Retreat House.  Francisca, the housekeeper and cook, is a bright spark who has all sorts of ideas about generating funds for the Institute.  One of them was to hold a cookery course for Tanzanians who work in western households in Morogoro.  She already knew how to cook a few western dishes but we had great fun one afternoon when I was able to teach her how to cook chilli con carne, spicy chicken and guacamole, among others.  It means we are able to offer a more varied menu to our guests at Sanga Sanga.  The cookery course itself was a big success and we have plans to hold more in the future.

Diary Dates & Prayer Requests:

1-5 Aug:               Ifakara IBM pastors’ conference (Steve)
16-30 Aug:           Hosting, speaking and leading on Oak Hall’s first Tanzania trip!
20 Aug:                Ruth’s birthday!
5-9 Sept:              Magambua IBM pastors’ conference
18-22 Sept:          Ruth teaching an English course at Sanga Sanga
25-30 Sept:          Mbeya IBM pastors’ conference
12-17 Oct:            AIM Tanzania conference in Dar es Salaam

There’s always room for one more bag!

We’re praising God for a busy few months at Sanga, for safety on the roads, for plans that have come to fruition, for teaching that’s gone well, and for a great holiday with Mum & Dad.

We’re also thankful for our home church and band of faithful supporters who have enabled us to be here for four years now!  Yes, it really is that long!  On 11th July we celebrated our four year anniversary here in Tanzania.  Thank you to those who support us through prayer and finance.  We couldn’t do what we’re doing without your support.

Please pray for Steve as he continues to teach at the IBM conferences on the subject of Biblical leadership and moral integrity.  The next one starts on 2nd August.

Please pray for Ruth as she handles bookings at Sanga and manages the Retreat House staff.  Pray that we would be able to move forward into completing the conference centre build.  Things are certainly happening but on a slower basis, although we’re now in a position where we can use some of the rooms.

Please pray for us both as we host and lead the first ever Oak Hall Tanzania trip in August!  Obviously, we’d love for this trip to be a success and for the guests to go away having had a real taste of Africa and a taste of mission.

Please pray for us both (and our team mate Cath Swanson) as we continue to plan for the AIM Tanzania Conference in October.  We’re looking forward to welcoming a certain Bob Hunt as our speaker, and we’ve now got a children’s team all lined up!

As always, Dad needs help with his phone!

Visits from family and friends are wonderful but also tend to make us long for home—we sometimes wish we were going with them as we wave them off at the airport.  Pray that we will be fully focused on our calling to Morogoro and that our hearts and minds will be guarded by the One who called us.

Many thanks.

Steve & Ruth

ALL THAT HINDERS…FEAR OF BEING DIFFERENT

kathylarkman,

As we continue to consider areas where we may be hindered in the race God has marked out for us, can you relate to the hindrance of the FEAR OF BEING DIFFERENT AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST? I have personally struggled with this big time in my earlier years and it even rears its ugly head every now and again now.

I have always wanted people to like me. I want people to approve of me-think I am cool, “with it”, on the cutting edge of …..well, anything. In other words, I don’t want people to think I am this weird Jesus fanatic like we read about in the news. I don’t want to be associated with “Christians” who either live depressed, legalistic “can’t do anything fun” lives, or be the one no one wants to be around because I give the smelly fragrance of self righteousness and judgement. I have said, “I don’t like others to be uncomfortable and I don’t want to put people off.” What is wrong with this picture? Excuses. Self-justification. It reeks of “all about me,” also known as pride.

As followers of Christ, we want to be discerning and use wisdom with the world. But many times, I fall into the trap of Satan’s deception. The fear. The pride. I stay quiet. I don’t share the hope I have through Christ. I try to blend in. I don’t stand up for Christ and HIS values and ideals when given the opportunity; or when I see His honour and majesty of who He is being tarnished or blasphemed.

This is the deal: Christ calls us to be different! And, it isn’t about us. It is about Christ. All. The. Time. Being a follower of Christ is not an add on in our lives. Christ teaches us a set of values and ideals which is distinctive from the way of the world. He calls us to be different; to be counter-cultural. We are not to get our cue from those around us, but from Him, and so prove to be genuine children of our heavenly Father. All through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus carries this theme to be different. He gives the Christian value-system which is as relevant today as it was then.

Being a follower of Jesus Christ lays the trajectory for all of life’s choices. It can be very difficult at times. I have failed miserably many times. I was sidetracked for many years. My heart deceived me!(Jeremiah 17:9) and the serpent deceived my mind. (2 Corinthians 11:3) Sisters, If our minds tend to negotiate, to compromise the gospel, to justify our disobedience, we must be aware of this deception.

Our Lord is gracious and compassionate, and has rescued us through Jesus Christ our Lord! He helps us in our struggles. He will help us to throw off the hindrance of pride and fear of being different than the world around us! He helps us to be salt, light, and hope to a broken world. We must encourage one another to CHOOSE to give to Him our all in humility and a teachable spirit every day. Let’s encourage each other to dig deep into the word of God which will equip us through the Holy Spirit.

Let’s run together, the race God has marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith! Let’s embrace being different!

Love, Kathy x

fear of man

 


ALL THAT HINDERS

kathylarkman,

woman w rucksack

…Let us throw off anything that hinders…” Hebrews 12:1b

Ed and I enjoy hiking. In our 9 years of marriage, we have walked parts of Brecon Beacons, Derbyshire, Cornwall, and of course, around our patch in the Cotswolds.
I remember one particular walk we did which circles around Castle Combe. We were on the last stretch walking uphill. It was about ¼ mile from our car. I came SO close to giving up; to ask Ed to go and get the car and pick me up! But I persevered uphill that last little bit. To reduce the weight off my back, Ed relieved me of the burden of my rucksack and carried it for me. This “hindrance” being taken away, I was able to persevere to the “finish line” to the car!

This visual picture reminds me of those things which might hinder us; those things we need to “throw off” in our race God has marked off for us. There may not be specific “sin”, but there may be lots of “stuff” in our lives which may be eclipsing or impeding our running the race. What might that look like? I would say it is anything that slowly pushes God to the periphery of our hearts and off His path. What instantly comes to my mind are: BUSYNESS. DISORDERED PRIORITIES.

I know that I have struggled with these at times throughout my race with the Lord. They took me off course. They got my heart and mind off of what really mattered. I began to major on the minors of life. My busyness came from disordered priorities which stemmed from self absorption and selfish interests. I was allowing my activities and my children’s activities to crowd out sitting at the feet of Jesus. My gospel foundation was being compromised and starting to deteriorate. My choices were becoming more like the world and less like a follower of Christ. My lips were saying Jesus is Lord, but my children saw the reality: that Kathy was Lord. And as the children grew older, my children began to follow my example. I didn’t understand why they were not interested in the things of the Lord until I looked in the mirror of my own busy, disordered life. Yikes.

I am NOT saying that activities, interests, and hobbies are wrong! Far from it! They are wonderful and God’s gift to us in bringing healthy outlet, enrichment and growth. It is when they become a hindrance to our race in Christ that He has marked out for us; when they push godly pursuits to the margins of our lives where God becomes a accessory or an afterthought of our week.  That is what I did in my earlier years. Please don’t do what I did.

Throwing off hindrances to our race is crucial, not only to maintaining our spiritual foundation, but in building it. Let’s take off those rucksacks that hinder us on the race God has marked out for us. Are you taking consistent time to sit at the feet of Jesus? Do your priorities reflect what you say you value the most as a follower of Christ? Can you discern God’s priorities in your life? If any of the answers to these questions is “no,” then it is time to address the hindrances of busyness and disordered priorities.

I will pray for you and please pray for me blog sister. May our Lord Jesus guard our hearts and minds of anything which might compromise our spiritual foundation; which might hinder us from running the race with godly perseverance!

Love, Kathy xo

 

 

 

 

 


Godly Perseverance: A Heart Issue

kathylarkman,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

Last week on Grace Place, we began the first of our summer reflections on godly perseverance from Hebrews 12:1-3. So true to my Father’s relentless love for me, I learned a lesson this week which is the very foundation of running the race with perseverance:  Godly perseverance can only be sustained with a pure heart.

Let me explain: Last week my scheduled activities were heavy, temperatures warm, and there were also many opportunities to “one another”- listen, share, comfort, encourage and sometimes challenge. I found myself wilting; not only with the heat, but with my heart.

My attitude began to suffer. All my sinful “selfs” began to rear their ugly heads– self-pity, self-righteousness, self- justification, pride. I began to complain to the Lord; maybe not vocally, but in my heart. I was persevering in ministry for the Lord wasn’t I? But does all of it really make a difference? I don’t see much fruit.  I just want to be home with my feet up! Besides, I don’t have much energy and I don’t like THAT one bit! Yikes! Not a pretty picture. On the inside, my heart was whining and rebelling like a spoilt child.

I was later reminded that my attitude was not unlike the older son in the parable of the prodigal son. The older son felt hard done to. He felt he had persevered for his father in his work and loyalty and received nothing in return. But as the father in the parable reminded the older son, (Luke 15:11-31), my heavenly Father reminded me of His great love, patience and faithfulness.

As I read of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, I was greatly convicted. They followed the invisible God, clinging to his promises, knowing God could be trusted to keep them. Today, we have been given so much more this side of the cross! All of God’s promises are yes in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor. 1:20)

Through my tears, I repented of my sinful heart. Peace and rest flooded my soul. I realized, AGAIN, that there is the bigger picture of God’s promises going on beyond what I can see in my little world. You know, sisters, our perseverance may be spot on, but if our hearts and motives are not in line with God’s heart, we will suffer, become disillusioned and weary. We must persevere, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because of Jesus-for His purposes. His glory. Our good. Although we may never see the fruit as we read in Hebrews 11, we can have full assurance that God’s promises and purposes will come to pass in and through us because of Jesus, the author and perfectereyes on jesus of our faith.

Will you help me to keep my eyes on Jesus as I persevere in HIS name; not in MY name?

So where is your heart with what God has given to you to persevere with this week?

I am praying for us all reader, that we will fix our eyes on Jesus as we persevere for Him.

Love, Kathy xo


Run With Perseverance The Race Marked Out For Us

kathylarkman,
Kathy Larkman

Kathy Larkman

“..Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2a

Ed and I had the opportunity to attend Wimbledon a couple of days ago to watch Andy Murray play Alexander Bublik. It is so amazing to witness such a high level of competitive tennis! I can only imagine the sacrifices he has made in the name of the game-the preparation and training, both physically and mentally; to consistently persevere day after day. And this is BEFORE he even walks on the court to play his matches! Andy has persevered over the years. He has pressed on. He has dug deep on those days when he didn’t feel like it; when he lost a match; when he was injured. We are drawn to and inspired by people like Andy who persevere. How do I know that he has persevered? The proof is in the fruit. Andy is ranked number one in the tennis world.
running the raceA definition that I think describes well what perseverance is: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, especially in spite of difficulties or discouragement. Determination, tenacity and patience also are closely related qualities.
So, it is interesting that the Hebrew writer speaks of the analogy of “running the race.” Paul also uses this analogy in Philippians, Galatians, 1Corinthians, and 2 Timothy. He was from a culture where the hearers could relate to what he was trying to convey about the Christian journey because sporting events were as important then as they are today. If we are inspired by those achievers in sports and feats of courage, how much more as followers of Christ should we heed those who have persevered in the faith in living out their lives for the glory of God and sharing the hope of the Gospel! This is the highest calling; a grind of day in and day out selling out to God as we persevere and press on.
Through the summer months, we will consider godly perseverance: What does scripture teach us about perseverance? What is the fruit of godly perseverance? How does God enable us to grow in it in our everyday lives? Like Andy in his world of tennis, let’s run the race that God has marked out for us in such a way as to take the prize!
My prayer for us this summer is that we will learn to persevere more and more,  and that we will keep our eyes fixed on the author and perfecter of our faith, our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the meantime, stay cool and drinks lots of water in these warmer temperatures!

Love, Kathy x

 


WE ARE COMPELLED BY CHRIST’S LOVE

kathylarkman,

2 CORINTHIANS 5:14 NLT “Christ’s love controls (compels) us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” 

PONDER THIS:

God calls us to live lives compelled by Christ’s love; but what He calls us to do in our weakness, He then enables us to do by His grace through the Holy Spirit. What does this look like? This side of heaven, we don’t know the mechanics of it. But it happens.
But God has given us His promise:
Romans 5:5b “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

Paul wrote these words out of long and deep experience. It would be easy to imagine he was made of different stuff than us; that he found relationships easier than us because he was an apostle. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. He gives us abundant evidence that relationships could be difficult, painful, even tearful for him. But He learned that God’s grace really is sufficient, and God’s Spirit really does enable us to minister Christ’s love for one another. And He tells us again and again that God’s grace and God’s Spirit are for us too. He wants us to know that in Corsham, as in Corinth, what Christ’s love compels us to do, His grace then enables us to do.
So, we can hold together in love in ONE ANOTHERING.


HOPE TO SEE YOU TONIGHT!

kathylarkman,

WHAT? Last One Anothering Bible Study-HOLD TOGETHER IN LOVE

WHERE? Corsham Baptist Church – Church Hall  

WHEN?  7:30PM, 26 JUNE 

WHY? To enjoy friendship, cakes, and spiritual food!

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