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Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

Verse 24: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

In the summer of 1980, a young man went abroad to Europe and to England as part of a 100 piece student ambassador orchestra. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and he thoroughly enjoyed the 3 week trip. However, the route home had some bumps in it; you see, that was about the time that the air traffic controllers union in the United States went on strike. This impacted air travel all across America, and for connecting flights coming to America. The student orchestra’s plane was delayed 8 hours returning from Europe. While in the skies over the Atlantic, he heard rumors of what flights were still on, and which ones were cancelled. He was nervous, because this trip had been his first time flying ever! Arriving back in New York, he and his travelling companions found their return flight to Atlanta cancelled, but made it on standby at a rival carrier. All the while, the young man prayed that they could make it back to the South, because he knew his parents could come get him, if he was stuck in Atlanta. To add to this drama, he literally had to race across Atlanta airport; he arrived within 5 minutes of his connecting flight being on-time to leave to Birmingham! Never was anyone so glad to finish this race to get home as this young man.

Well, that’s the best earthly analogy I can think of when reading Paul’s words here. The apostle is talking to the Ephesian church elders, possibly for last time, and is giving them instruction and teaching. Though the Holy Spirit has told Paul in stop after stop along his missionary journey that he will suffer earthly conflict and inflictions, Paul still strives in his mission to the Lord. He wants to be a good finisher in God’s eyes, striving to minister in Jesus’s name, even up to the point of death. Now, that’s commitment!

Fellow Christian, strive to finish strong today in your race for God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”

As we approach the end of the current year and prepare for the new year, take a moment and think about somewhere you visited in the past or some experience you had that left an indelible, permanent memory in your mind. For me, those memories include when I got married to my wife, the birth of both of my sons, and the passing of my long-lived grandmother. As far as places visited, they would include: my first Sugar Bowl game to the New Orleans Superdome, my first visit to Disneyworld, my only trip to New York City as a teenager, seeing the different cities of Europe on a band tour, and seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Now expand that list in your mind and see if you remember every sensory trace of one of those moments. I remember being in Jordan-Hare Stadium as a member of the Auburn University Marching Band and being on the field for pregame of my first college game: AU hosting Texas and seeing all those screaming fans (mind you, I went to a small high school and was from a small town…the combined populations of both filling a couple of sections). I remember yelling to my fellow band-mate not 3 feet in front of me at a night game versus Florida, with the decibel meter roaring through the roof (even 3 feet away on the field, he couldn’t hear me!). The smells of the ocean of beach trips as a child, and the feel of salt water. In each of those and many more memories, there is some sense of wonderment, some aspect of “is this really happening?”

I purposely left off one memory just to emphasize it here: the day I accepted Jesus in my heart as Lord and Savior. Truly, this was a life-changing moment for me. In the verse above John is writing down all the things shown to him in the vision. Backing up to verse 10 (NIV translation), he hears “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them” praising God. A football stadium full of people is NOTHING compared to all creation praising Him! This is what we’ll be doing when we get to Heaven: praising God and being in His presence physically and spiritually for eternity. Now, that will be a memory to fill the senses!

This concludes the 4-1-1 study; I hope you have been blessed in some way through the study of these verses. After a short hiatus, we’ll resume in January 2015 by going through the book of Acts.

God bless you in the new year!

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