Posts Tagged ‘Caleb’

Finishing Strong

June 26th, 2018

Anyone can start. Only the determined finish.

”I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Finishing Strong.”

Life is a marathon, not a sprint – a competitive race, not a casual run. The Bible says, “Those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain [the prize].” 1 Corinthians 9:24 NKJ. Finish strong. There will be the Father’s acknowledgment,  “well done,” and a crown of righteousness awaiting you.

Life is best lived when you are moving forward, neither slow nor still. In every season of life, it is important to remember that you are never too young or old to tackle a new challenge. Aging is inevitable. Old is optional. Old is more about a diminishing vision than the number of your years. Solomon warned, “Where there is no vision the people cast off restraints.” Proverbs 29:18. Keep your vision clear, your purpose consistent, and your eyes fixed on God. Whatever your age or circumstance, choose to finish strong.

Caleb was a contemporary of Joshua. Read Numbers 13:26-33 / Joshua 14:6-14. Caleb’s path was straight ahead with faith and spiritual vigor. He served with a Godly momentum, continuing strong in his confidence of the Lord who had the character and power to keep His Word, whatever the passing of time or size of the challenge.

Because the passage of time did not change God, Caleb would not let his age change his faith nor lessen his endeavors. “As the Lord promised . . here I am today, eighty-five years old! . . I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.” Read Joshua 14:10-12 NIV. That is how you finish strong. Caleb chose to live, not accommodating the obstacle before him but by the God who was inside him.

As was the faith of those Old Testament examples, the Apostle Paul kept his eyes focused straight ahead, “One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 NIV. Keep your eyes on the goal. Finish strong.

Live in a manner that dedicates to a Godly focus, commits to a worthwhile purpose, and contributes to the well-being of others. At any age, young or old, everyone has something to contribute that can be beneficial to others. To Timothy, his young protégé, Paul assessed his own journey with anticipation, “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJ. Paul finished strong. What a Godly example for Timothy, the young minister. Anyone can start. Only the determined finish.

Live life every day moving forward in faith and obedience. Going somewhere. Accomplishing something. Making a difference. Building on successes. Benefiting from failures. Excelling today. Building for tomorrows.

Foolishly and frequently unrecognized, some people squander their years, energies, and their life on careers, hobbies, or recreation to the unintended and unrecognized neglect of their soul, as well as things important to their joy and accomplishment – such as family, friendships, and serving the Lord by serving others.

The Apostle Paul’s heart was committed to life in its fullness. His clarity of purpose and priority was fixed. “My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News.” Acts 20:24 NLT. Along the way, his goal was to live every day until his last day with a growing and Godly momentum – to finish his assignment and fulfill his ministry. Is that the way you live for God today, and will you purpose to do so every day?

Paul summarized his life, “The time of my departure has come. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord will award to me on that day – and to all who love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJ. No time wasted. No effort spared.

I want to live that way. I don’t want to finish in a rocking chair. I want to finish with a flourish, full of faith, fully engaged in life, with steadfast purpose and clear-eyed focus. I don’t want to stand before Jesus with need for apology or regret. I may not set a world record as the fastest or best, but I want to be accelerating when I cross the finish line. How you live every day has everything to do with finishing strong.

My prayer for you today is to give life your best, in His strength, until He comes.

Christian Communications 2018

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Different by Design

May 16th, 2012

“My servant Caleb has a different spirit.” Numbers 14:24 NIV

You won’t make a difference until you are willing to be different for the right reason.

My thoughts and comments today are about being “different by design.”

There is much talk about scientific cloning. Amazingly, scientists have found a way to duplicate an animal exactly. But in a non-scientific way, social cloning has been going on forever. People more comfortable to conform, fitting in with the crowd – accepting every fad and fashion without discernment or discrimination. The Creator went to great effort to make you a unique individual, a wonderful one-of-a-kind design, but “in His image and likeness.” Genesis 1:26-27 NIV.

There are a few who go to the other extreme, and refuse to be like, look like, or act like anyone else, without any idea why they want so badly not to be seen as different. Those folk only succeed in being odd or strange, ignored by some and irrelevant to most. But there are also people who stand out in any crowd for the right reason; they know who they are and to Whom they belong. That makes them wonderfully different from many others for all the right reasons.

Caleb was different from the majority, according to God’s testimony of him. “My servant Caleb has a different spirit.” Numbers 14:24 NIV. He knew the reason he chose to be different. He chose to be God’s servant – to do the will of God whatever others chose to do, to live for something more than the moment, to partner with an almighty God who would do “exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20.

The other ten men of Israel came back from investigating the “Promised Land” and said, “We can’t!” The majority is not always right; popular opinion is not necessarily the best opinion. Caleb and Joshua, willing to be in the minority, said, “With God, we can!” Read Numbers 13-14.

When I was a boy and not very adventurous or determined, my Dad would often answer my excuse that, “I can’t,” with a simple, never changing response, “Can’t never did anything.” And of course, he was right. If you think you can’t, you won’t. And even when you can’t, God can if you are willing to obey Him in what you do.

When God told Joshua that there was a lot of Promised Land that still remained to be possessed, Caleb now 85 years old still had “a different spirit.” Read Joshua 14:6-14. Caleb volunteered to take the mountains where the giants still lived. He could, because he knew His God was able.

How was Caleb’s spirit different from others? The Bible explains the one defining characteristic about Caleb, “He has a different spirit and has followed the Lord fully!” Numbers 14:24/Joshua 14:14. There is no greater confidence builder than to know that you are following the Lord fully.

You can’t help but be different, if you are following the Lord fully. You are probably going in a different direction than the crowd. You have different priorities than others. Your goals are eternal. Your values are righteous. You serve a different Master than do they.

You won’t make a difference until you are willing to be different for the right reason – to be a servant of God! Being different is not your objective; it is just the predictable effect of following God fully. With God, you will go places you never imagined, do things you never thought you would do, and become more than you otherwise would be. Without the Lord Jesus in your everyday life, you are going nowhere but just don’t know that yet.

My prayer for you today is that the difference others see in you is Jesus.

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Doing the Diffcult

September 6th, 2010

“I followed my God wholeheartedly . . give me this hill country.” Joshua 14:8/12 NIV

“Doing the difficult is where you find God, who can do the impossible.”

My thoughts today are about “doing the difficult.”

It is natural for a person to want the easier path, but that is not where success nor satisfaction is found. Life’s opportunities are usually tucked into challenging times and situations. Pride of accomplishment is most found in doing what you should when you must, not in doing what you would. Doing the difficult is where you find a God who can do the impossible. See Luke 1:37/Matthew 19:26 NIV.

You will face times that require tough choices, having to choose between what you want to do and what you need to do. The first gives you pleasure immediately; the other is satisfying long term. Always choose the latter. Life will present opportunities with little risk, but those offer only small reward. Take the road less traveled. It will be less crowded because it has greater risk. Most people avoid anything except minimal risk, and in doing so most will miss the greater rewards.

Jesus described life’s choices this way, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 NIV. Don’t get lost in the crowd; follow the Lord. Jesus was describing eternal choices, but the principle is true of the ordinary, everyday choices you have to make, everyday things that may appear as little, even inconsequential, yet those shape your character and create your future in ways you do not notice at that moment.

Those little choices determine the person you will be, the respect and regard you receive, the opportunities you are given, and the success you will have – choosing to do simple, ordinary, everyday things like: being on time, keeping your word, fulfilling your obligations, being considerate of others, saving consistently, giving generously, spending moderately, keeping first things first, living wisely, and always doing and giving your best – especially when no one is watching. The character and measure of a man or woman is not determined by what they do in the big moments of life; those are few. You will be the product of what you did along the way in the routines of each and every day.

Where others turned back in fear, Caleb pressed forward with courage. When others settled for easy conquests, Caleb requested the difficult ones. When some deferred the challenges, Caleb preferred them. Caleb refused to play it safe, or take it easy. Here is Caleb’s choice, “I am just as strong today . . just as vigorous to go out to battle now . . give me this hill country that the Lord promised me . . because He followed the Lord wholeheartedly.” Read Joshua 14:6-15 NIV. Rugged places are for rugged people. Such people carve out victories where others see only obstacles and risk. Be sure that you are “following the Lord wholeheartedly!” God put a bit of a Caleb spirit in you!

My prayer for you today is that you prize achievement more than you fear risk.

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Never Stop Climbing

June 2nd, 2010

“Give me this mountain that the Lord promised me that day.” Joshua 14:12 NIV

Other people don’t steal your dreams; usually a person gives up on them all by themselves.”

My thoughts today are, “never stop climbing.”

Life is about dreams and goals – God shaped and God sized – and the adventures that result. Joshua and Caleb were quite a pair. They stood out in their generation. They seemed to always take God at His word. Others looked around for some other indication of what they should do; Joshua and Caleb listened to God, and then obeyed. It was forty-five years earlier when they were ready and willing to go into the land God had promised to Israel, but others’ voices of doubt and fear loomed larger than their voices of faith.

But there’s always another day with a new opportunity. Your dream is still possible unless you allow regrets and doubts to steal your dreams. Can you even imagine holding on to a dream for forty-five years, with little encouragement along the way except for your own stubborn faith in God and yourself? Can you see yourself eighty-five years old and still ready to tackle the mountains where the giants and their fortified cities held control?

Caleb had no illusions that it would be easy. If anything, it could be harder than when he was younger, but the years had allowed him to see a lot more of what God could do with people who would believe. Our younger granddaughter, when asked about a family occasion she could not remember, said, “I can’t see myself there.” Until you can see yourself “there” – reaching your dream – you won’t believe that you ever will be “there.” That’s how and when you can lose your dreams; you lay them aside to be practical about life. Other people don’t steal your dreams; you give up on them.

What had Caleb been doing all those years in between? Listen to God’s description: Caleb, “wholly followed the Lord.” Joshua 14:9/14 NKJV. I would suggest that you will never lose your way if you are following the Lord with your whole heart. There are mountains of success and moments of satisfaction that are yours, if you are willing to never stop climbing.

A second and third thing about Caleb is this: “So I’m asking you to give me the hill country that the Lord promised me . . if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.” Joshua 14:12 NLT. Caleb knew what the Lord had promised him, and he recognized that only with the Lord’s help would he accomplish that. You have dreams that will never be fully achieved until you truly believe and know they are from God, and you rely upon His strength, and not only your own. With God beside you, never stop climbing until you get where you were going.

My prayer for you today is that your dreams become more real to you every day.

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