Meet the Authors.

Sarah Burlingame is passionate about Biblical truth. Her diverse church background has taken her through Mainline Methodist, Evangelical, Charismatic and Roman Catholic circles. Her calling as an intercessor led her to receive a certification in Advanced Spiritual Warfare from LMCI (Liberating Ministries for Christ International) . Sarah has served as a small group leader, worship planner, liturgical dance leader and online ministry coordinator. She holds a M.S. degree in Education and lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and their youngest son. Her older sons reside in northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York. They attend North Rome Wesleyan Church.

Joanne Reinhart asked Jesus Christ into her heart at the age of nine in a Sunday school classroom in Maryland. Her journey with the Lord took her through various careers, colleges, and universities. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Art/Dance, Theology, and Education, and a M.S. degree in Educational Administration. Her passion for the Lord is evidenced through worship, dance, and teaching. She was liberated into her spiritual gifts and callings through the teaching resources of LMCI . Joanne has danced and taught at Christian conferences and various churches in PA and VA. She currently lives in Florida and attends church at His Heart Ministries: Donna and Jack Rigney, Pastors

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fortitude to Finish (Part 1)

The apostle Paul compared this journey we call life to a marathon. He used this illustration when addressing the church in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (AMPC)
Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours.  Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither.

Below is a quote from The Woman’s Study Bible (NKJV) that explains these verses:
The Greeks hosted the great athletic festivals of the Olympic and Isthmian games.  The latter were held at Corinth and were therefore familiar to the recipients of Paul’s letter.  Contestants in the games participated in ten months of mandatory training.  If they failed to complete this training, they were barred from competition.  The major attraction at the games was the lengthy race, [marathon] and that was the illustration Paul used to depict the faithful Christian life…. He admonished the Corinthians to do the same so that they, too, might attain the eternal prize.

While the marathon/life analogy makes perfect sense to us intellectually, we know that there are many of us who need a more relevant grasp of how to press in so we can attain that crown. Seriously, wrapping your mind around running a marathon my not be very helpful if your hip hurts or you have bills to think about or you’re worried sick about your child because of some bully at school. “Yes Paul, I get it….. but, today my head hurts because my spouse is out of work and there isn’t enough money in our checking account to pay the rent.”
So, what should be our daily mind-set when faced with the obstacles of poor health, lack of finances, strained relationships, or whatever? Can we forget the past (even words spoken against us or hurtful actions)?  How can we continue to look ahead at a future that is unknown?  Is there a light at the end of our tunnel of seeming failures?  Perhaps there have been a few victories, but how can we continue to go on?  Paul shares his secret for continuing the race we face daily in Philippians 3:13-14 (TLB): No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.

Where is our daily energy focused?  How can we ‘forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead’? What is this eternal prize that we can attain?  Can we continue to finish the race set before us for only heavenly rewards in the future?  We would like to tell you about these eternal rewards and how to attain them in our next blog, Fortitude to Finish (Part 2).  Yet, there is also the truth of the ‘now’ reward of being in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ that we can have each day.  These promises in the Word of God give us the ability to ‘wait on the Lord’.  For when we do, we will be strengthened to finish the race and overcome any obstacle that is thrown into our paths.

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

~ Sarah & Joanne

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