I have embarked on a new challenge!
God spoke to my heart and this is day 2 of my new challenge. Day 2 is harder than day 1, and I anticipate more “challenging” days ahead!
However, if you do not take your foot off first base, you will never get HOME!
Yes, I am using a Baseball analogy because it fits perfectly into the CHALLENGE God has called me to. If baseball doesn’t resinate with you, go ahead and change the analogy to your life and situation. Maybe it’s going the next mile on your run, maybe it’s signing up for the next class that will get you closer to your goal, maybe it’s …you fill in the blank.
For me the analogy that fits is BASEBALL.
That diamond that begins at HOME, and beckons us to do our best to round the bases…First, Second, Third, and then HOME!
You see for me, I was raised by a professional baseball player and was blessed to understand the game. But regardless of your level of “understanding”, the image it represents, helps us understand the biblical principal of “Going Home.” We begin our lives here on earth and everything we do in-between gets us closer to “HOME!” Our Real Home, Our Eternal Home, Our Forever Home, HEAVEN!
Now granted, in my apology of baseball, you start on the same home plate that you end up on if you get all the way HOME. But by crossing Home Plate after getting to first base, rounding second base, and crossing third base, you “SCORE” when you reach HOME!
It is no different with us in our lives. God gives us life, He has a purpose for us and He puts us on Home plate. When we acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior we run to first base. This is where my analogy breaks down a little. After you believe in Jesus, you have “progressed in your life,” you are on first base, and you can chose to stay there and Jesus will call you Home. But my analogy picks up again as I pose this question, “Will you score?” Will you have earned any “bases” along the way? Will you have any RBI’s, (runs batted in), as you “sacrifice” your success on base for another. Will you have any “earned runs”, when you have worked hard for something and made it happen? Will you have “Bunted” in order to put your “team” aka others, ahead of yourself and possibly earn a run for them?
Yes, I could go on and on, but you get my point.
What will you do with your life between home and HOME?
In second Corinthians Paul makes it clear that we have an eternal HOME in Heaven!
“We have a building from God, an eternal house in Heaven, not built by human hands…so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”
II Corinthians 5:1,4
We are encouraged by Paul that our eternal HOME is preferred!
“We live by faith and not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at HOME with the Lord.”
II Corinthians 5:7-8
So why then all this talk about “HOME”, when my Blog Post is titled, ‘CHALLENGE ACCEPTED?’
Because I am convinced that what I do with my life between home, and HOME, matters. And that when God ‘challenges” me to live this life for Him better, I need to accept the challenge.
Challenges come to all of us and they are wrapped in very different packages. The beautiful part about our God is that He is personal. He created us and He knows us intimately. All the In’s and Out’s of us. The good, the bad and the ugly parts of us. The amazing Truth is that He loves every part of us! He has saved us and our salvation is secure if we have placed our trust and Faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
However, my topic today goes beyond our salvation. Does God care, really care, what we do with the rest of our lives? Does He care how we live the “in-between” parts of our lives? Does it really matter if we run from first base to second base? And when we get to second base, does it matter that we get to third base? When and if we get to third base, we are pretty tired and worn out! Does He really care if we make it all the way to Home Plate?
I believe He cares very much that we do. I believe Paul makes that Truth clear in II Corinthians 5:10,
“For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
The judgement seat of Christ is the one We, Believers, will appear before. This is when we will await to hear our Lord and Savior say to us,
“Well done Good and Faithful Servant…” Matthew 25:21
What we do between our life here on earth and our life forever in Heaven DOES MATTER.
So, now that I am convinced of that, back to My Challenge!
I want to live out my life for God to the very best of my ability. Even as “CHANGE” comes into my life, that gets more and more difficult. CHANGE is not easy for any of us. It produces stress in and of itself, weather or not that CHANGE is positive or negative. It’s just the way our bodies were built, and add to that the aging process. Regardless of the age you are at, the aging process has set in. A baby ages daily as they go from complete dependance to gaining independence each and everyday. And we, no matter what age we are, are in the same boat. God created us that way. More physical proof of us beginning life here in our earthly HOME, and running toward our Heavenly Eternal HOME!
I have taken a long time to set up my newest CHALLENGE from God. That is for two important reasons!
Number 1, because I believe that God is never done using us for His Kingdom until He returns or calls us HOME! He cares about what we do with our time here on earth that He has given to us!
Number 2, because I in no way want my CHALLENGE to become your challenge unless God gives it to you as well. I feel God asking me to write about My Challenge with you, but I in no way want my Blog to turn into a Blog about “ME!” I do not want to write about a diet or exercise plan that I think you should follow. I do not want to write about a lifestyle I think you should live! I only want to write about what God is working on in me, and pray that He uses it to encourage you in your walk with Him!
I am a private person and would prefer to keep my private “challenges” to myself. But if He is encouraging me to share them with you, then I want to be found faithful.
So, here we go! God has called me to accept the Challenge to increase my trust and dependance on Him, to lead like Him, and to be as healthy as I physically and naturally can be so that I am able to be used by Him for as long as He chooses to use me.
There are three steps involved in my challenge:
Step One, I have accepted God’s Challenge in my life to not just write and post my Blog every week, as I have done for the past year and a half, but to also include a VLOG post. I have goose bumps just sharing that news with you. I am nervous! My family, mainly my beautiful daughter-in-law, has encouraged me to do this for quite some time now. I have hesitated for many reasons, but the greatest one being vulnerability. You not only have the venue to critique me verbally but also physically! Not an easy challenge for me to accept. But if I am to remain true to my commitment to use my God-given gifts for His glory, then I must. My scripture verse over my blog is Ephesians 4:15 which says,
“Instead, speaking the Truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him, who is the head, that is, Christ.”
I believe God has gifted me to speak His Truth in Love. I have been faithful in part of that, I believe now He is calling me to be faithful in the rest of it! This is truly asking me to increase my trust and dependance on Him. I cannot do this on my own! I will trust in Him and depend on Him!
Step Two, I have accepted His call to Lead Like Him, to Lead Like Jesus.
We have begun a new ministry in Northern California. We can only accomplish it through God’s divine filling and leading. He has called me to “Lead Like Jesus.” I have begun a daily devotion and Bible study on ‘The Life and Ministry of Jesus.’ There is no better way to lead God’s sheep than by following The Good Shepherd.
Step Three, To be as healthy as I physically and naturally can be. God created my body and He created healthy foods for me to eat to keep it operating at peak performance. He also created me to move! God did not create me to be immobile, but rather He created me to be mobile. So, I have begun a 30 day challenge in eating healthy foods only, and exercising each and every day with a purpose.
Friends, I am only on Day 2! I can tell you that at this point I have been successful. But I have a long way to go! I cannot do it on my own strength, and there may be days I fail. But my God is FAITHFUL! He has called me to a Challenge and He will get me through it!
There are many ways that we go through CHALLENGES. Sometimes we are successful, and sometimes we fail. But if they are accepted for the right reasons, if they are given to God to be used for His Glory, then they will be fruitful! They will produce fruit in our lives that will carry us around the “bases” of our lives and bring us closer to our eternal Home with Jesus. They will allow us to hear those beautiful words in full…
“Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. COME AND SHARE YOUR MASTERS HAPPINESS!”
The sweetest words you and I will ever hear are those spoken by our Savior to us. And not only to hear Him tell us we did well with what He gave us, but now enter in to your Masters Happiness!
Our earthly Home is temporary Friends. Our goal is our eternal forever HOME with Jesus!
How will we chose to live our lives here on earth in-between? What “Challenges” given to us by God will we accept? And on a sobering thought, What “Challenges” given to us by God will we not accept?
Our time here on earth is short! It is but a blink of an eye compared to Eternity!
Let’s commit to accept the Challenges together that God gives us!
After all, our Coach is PERFECT!
WE sit in His “coach’s box!” His record is undefeated! And He has already won the Victory for us!
What do we have to lose?
Speak Truth Love