And now the prize awaits me-the crown of righteousness…for all who look forward to His appearing (2 Tim 4:8).
The place that Jesus is preparing for believers (John 4:2) includes many rewards. Although we are not told what they are, I can’t begin to imagine if the most spectacular things on earth pale next to what is to come.
I am more than glad that salvation is a free gift; that we do not need to earn it. Not one of us could live a sinless life—not the most pious saint, and certainly not me, but we can achieve rewards. The bible calls them “crowns” which I have seen interpreted as rewards, awards and prizes. Anyway, if it’s a reward from God, it’s got to be more than amazing.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:19, Paul explained the crown of rejoicing with these questions—Who is our crown of rejoicing? Is it not you? Can you think of a better reason for rejoicing, a better reward, than by seeing people who are in Heaven with us because we had some part in their being there?!
Studying God’s word, and discovering even parts of His plans for us, gives us just tiny glimpses of His great and incredible love.
I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil 1:6).
A devotional by Oswald Chambers had this phrase, “As sure as God is God and you are you…” It got me thinking about the vast chasm between God and my human nature—His pure heart, my selfish heart; His foresight, my myopic vision; His unconditional love, my fickle emotions.
Quite often, the way He answers prayer is different than the way I would (we can all be glad about that). The more I pray for someone who needs to change, even if it’s legitimate, the more the Holy Spirit spotlights areas in my life that need to change.
Anyway, I’m glad that God is God and that He is still working on me.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Prov3:5).
For a short time, as an adult, I took piano lessons from an old German man, Dr. Wagner (pronounced Vagner). I loved him, but I sometimes I would get frustrated because something was missing. Then one day he remarked, “Mrs. St Clair, you play with your head, not with your heart.”
That was many, many years ago and I have applied that to my life many, many times. Sometimes I act on what I think instead of what is in my heart. But the heart is not always reliable either. What’s worse is when I act from my head instead of in faith.
Over the years, God’s faithfulness has been evident so many times. What may seem logical to me may not fit His perfect plan for my life. I’m glad He acts from the heart when dealing with me, His work in progress.
All glory to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us (Eph 3:20).
I have two thoughts on this verse. When God has answered, “Yes” to my prayers, He has amazed me by doing it in such a way that my limited mind had never imagined. I am reminded of jobs that I prayed for and how He answered with positions I would have never even pursued.
My second thought is that if He had not said, “No” to some of my requests, my life would be a hot mess at this point.
Through His power He is able to do ___*____ more than we ask or imagine. (*infinitely, exceedingly abundantly, above and beyond). And His love is equal to or surpassing that!
Mathew Henry’s commentary on this verse notes that “it is proper always to end prayers with praises. Let us expect more, and ask for more, encouraged by what Christ has already done for our souls.”
Let’s throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Heb 12:1).
What holds us back from enthusiastically following God’s plan for us? In my own life it has ranged from “You don’t really mean me, God?” to “I am definitely not dong that!” From timidity to downright rebellion.
There are many other things in-between that hinder us like guilt, or bitterness, or not moving on from past mistakes, or harmful relationships.
The important thing to remember is that God would never give us a job to do without thoroughly equipping us to handle it. It is not timid-sinful-guilty-unprepared-unknowledgeable me, but rather the Creator who makes grace abound giving sufficiency in all things, and an abundance for His good work (2 Corin 9:8).
You are so valuable that the Creator of the universe and the ruler of darkness of this world battle for you every day!! Although it is spiritual, it is still very real. Just turn on the news and you’ll see it clearly displayed. The weapons are lies and deceit vs. faith and truth.
The most powerful weapon is the word of God—speaking it, absorbing it in our heart, living it. God’s own Son battled the enemy on the mountain, not by His Godly power, but by quoting scripture, the same ammunition that is at our disposal too. It can be used defensively when we’re attacked, or offensively to fortify our heart.
I have included scriptures at the end of this entry as the start of an arsenal to repeat and claim. They’re not magical, but they are powerful:
I can’t ______………..I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength(Phil 4:13).
My life is insignificant…… I am chosen by God, holy and dearly loved (Col 3:12). He has created me anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do all the good things He planned for me long ago (Eph 2:10).
God could never forgive my past… I am washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:11).
I am afraid… When I am afraid, I put my trust in you (Psalm 56:3).
If only I was _______….I am God’s masterpiece(Eph 2:10).
Many of these were already paired by Pricilla Shirer and Nancy DeMoss, but the most meaningful are the ones we find ourselves, those that jump off the page at the exact time when we need them.
Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray (Mark 1:35).
The words of an old song go something like this, “If you’re too busy for God, Brother, you’re too busy.” What a trick of the deceiver overloading us with demands—work to do, texts and emails to respond to, school commitments, church commitments, sports, friends, exercise, and, oh yes, family. Feed your body, feed your mind, feed your soul. And guilt! if we dare let one of those slip.
In her book, Lies Women Believe, Nancy Leigh DeMoss says that God gives us enough time to do what He has planned for us to do. He’s not going to leave out the important people or things, and He knows that we also need to relax and refresh.
Plugging in my phone is an important and necessary use of time—so, also, is plugging into the Ultimate Source of Power to recharge.