by Julia Bruce
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” — 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Paul’s ministry is just about over. God had called him to take the gospel to the Gentiles and his missionary journeys had done that. Churches had been planted. He ensured each one had a pastor to over see the congregation. At the closing of 2 Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy and says, “I am already being poured out as a drink offer, and the time of my departure is at hand.” Paul would soon be persecuted and put to death for his faith in Christ. For the sake of the gospel, he would forfeit his life and he was martyred in A.D. 67 by decapitation.
In this, his last letter before his death, Paul recognizes that his time on earth is running out and he tells his “son in the faith,” “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul’s unwavering faith and unyielding love for the gospel, even in the face of adversity and persecution along 4 missionary journeys, is the reason we have churches throughout the world. (Click to tweet) But what fight? What race?
As Christians we fight on a battlefield every day – whether we recognize it or not. To the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote: “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12). The fight we are in is a spiritual one and if there was ever going to be a time after the resurrection that Satan and his demons would fight hard to end and stamp out Christianity, it would have been just as it was trying to get going. (Click to tweet) The days, months, and years following the resurrection had to have had some significant spiritual warfare. We still have spiritual warfare going on around us every moment of every day. Because we do fight these battles, Paul told us in Ephesians 6 about the Spiritual Armor God gives us to that we are prepared to do battle.
The Greek word agonizomai is translated into English as “fought.” It means “to engage in conflict.” Paul was fully aware of this spiritual battle going on. It is a never-ending battle against evil – against Satan. And the only way to do battle is with our spiritual armor on and ready for battle. Yes, Paul had fought a good fight. They may have ended his life in AD 67, but his earmark in history provided the gospel message to the gentiles and everywhere he went, he established churches and appointed a pastor.
He not only fought the battle, but he ran his race. You will never find a verse that has Paul even talking about quitting the ministry. He never quits and He never lost his zeal for Christ after his Damascus Road experience. He doesn’t experience compassion fatigue or burnout. He knew that his source and help came from God. (click to tweet) What began on the Damascus Road led him across 9 ancient world countries. Along the way he He completed four missionary journeys while also contending against false teachers who would distract the church and keep them from the true faith in Christ. He endured persecution and prison and now death is just around the corner. Yet he says in Romans 8:37, “Yet in all these things we are more than conqueror’s through Him who loved us.”
Not only did Paul fight the good fight, but he also finished the race.” He had no regrets. He had done what God had sent him out to do. Even chained to Roman soldiers and in prison, Paul continued doing what God had called him to do and he won some of the solider to Christ and even some of the elite Praetorian guards. Each one of us today also has a “race” to be finished. God has a plan and purpose for you. He has a calling for you. We often hear pastors say they were “called by God” to preach. Maybe God has called you to be a missionary in your secular line of work. Maybe He has called you to tenderly care for the aging adults at the senior’s home. Maybe He has called you to stand out with honesty and integrity at the car lot or repair shop. Maybe He has called you to bring light to the world as an electrician. You don’t have to be in ministry to be “called by God.” If you are a Christian, then He has called you. The question is, how are you running your race. At the end of your life, will you be able to say, like Paul, “I have fought the fight, I have finished the race?” Would you have regrets or would you have the contentment of Paul?
Paul also stated that he had “kept the faith.” To understand this, let’s back up to verse 5 of 2 Timothy 4. In this verse, Paul writes:” But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Because of his faith, Paul experienced persecution. He wrote to the church in Rome: “Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long;
we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:35-37) And even now as death was looming into Paul’s near future, his faith didn’t even trip up a little bit. He kept the faith. What about you? When times get difficult does your faith stay strong or are you filled with anxiety? Do you begin to doubt God’s promises or do you praise Him in the storm?
Lastly, because Paul had fought the fight, ran the race and kept the faith, he looked beyond the moment that would bring the end of his life on earth to that glorious moment when Jesus would personally step forward to give him a “crown of righteousness” as a reward for his faithful service. The Bible tells us there are five crowns to be awarded to believers: the imperishable crown, the crown of rejoicing, the crown of righteousness, the crown of glory, and the crown of life. The Greek word, stephanos, is the English word, “crown.” The Greek word is from the name of Stephen who was martyed as Paul stood by and watched and condoned prior to his conversion to Christ on the Damascus Road. It means, “a badge or royalty, a prize in the public games or a symbol of honor.” In Paul day, this “crown” was a wreath or garland of leaves placed on the winner’s head when winning a contest in the ancient Greek games. Paul uses it here to indicate this reward to those “who love the appearing of Christ.” This crown is specially designated for those who longed for Jesus’ appearing and lived holy lives in anticipation of His return.
I don’t know where you are in your race that God has set before you. Maybe you’re young with your whole life ahead of you and you think there will be time later in life to run your race. Maybe your about in the middle of your race, but you are stressed out, burned out, and ready to throw the towel in. Or maybe you’re somewhere along the way but trying to raise the kids, take care of the home, get the bills paid, and work full time. You are so exhausted and tired that just reading about a race right now is more than you have the strength and energy to think about. Maybe, like Paul, your race is almost done. Have you fought the good fight? Have you ran your race well? Have you kept the faith? Will Jesus be waiting with the crown of righteousness to place on your head?
#verseoftheday #ahearttoknowGod #wholeheart #IwillbetheirGod #Jeremiah #WCM
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This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :
- How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
- Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
- Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
- How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
- How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
- Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.
During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.
Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.
About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
#GLMWcouplesevent #GLMWbook #intentionalmarriage #Godlymarriage
T-shirt Fundraiser Event: We have a product line of Christian apparel and accessories available in our Teespring Store and our Spreadshop Store. You’ll find tee shirts, hoodies, tanks, socks, leggings, tote bags, mugs, iphone cases and more. Here’s a peek at what’s new:
We’ve added a fall line to our Spreadshop Store! Order today because it will be gone soon as we gear up for the upcoming Holidays. Christmas items available soon.
Thanksgiving items will be available on November 1.
All proceeds go to the advancement of Wellspring Christian Ministries.
Thank you for helping us grow!
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Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.
Or call us at 904.524.8073
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Affiliate links for The Case for Christ by Lee Stroble:
|The Case for Christ, Updated and Expanded, Mass Market||By Lee Strobel / Zondervan||If you were a journalist, how would you investigate the top story in human history? Join the award-winning former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune as he cross-examines scholars to uncover incontestable evidence supporting Jesus’ claims. Includes updated archaeological material, an interview with Strobel, and more. A powerful defense of the Christian faith! 464 pages, softcover from Zondervan.|
By Pure Flix Entertainment, LLC
A hard-driving journalist, Lee Strobel was exactly where he expected to be at work: on top. His award-winning investigative reporting recently earned him a promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. But things weren’t going nearly as well at home where his wife Leslie’s newfound faith in Christ went against everything Lee believed—or didn’t believe—as an avowed atheist.
Utilizing his journalistic and legal training, Lee begins a quest to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to save his crumbling marriage. Chasing down the biggest story of his career, Lee comes face-to-face with unexpected results that could change everything he knows to be true.
Starring Mike Vogel (The Help, Cloverfield), Erika Christensen (Parenthood, Flightplan), Faye Dunaway (The Thomas Crown Affair, Chinatown), and Robert Forster (The Descendents, Jackie Brown). Rated PG. Approx. 113 minutes.
Includes Blu-ray, DVD and CD
- “The Heart of The Case for Christ” Featurette
- Intro to the Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC
- 11 Music Videos from “The Case for Christ” Album
- Interviews with Lee & Leslie Strobel, Cast, and Crew
- Deleted Scenes
- English and Spanish subtitles
Bonus CD included:
- The Case for Christ – Songs Inspired by the Original Motion Picture