Friday, December 29, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: A life lesson learned from receiving a "starter"

Fight to the Finish
A devotional by Patricia Russell

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”
— 2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT)

Several years ago, my sister-in-law offered me a “starter” to take home and bake.

It was a mixture of a few ingredients that would eventually be added with other ingredients to form a loaf of bread. The interesting thing about this “starter” was that that each person who received one were challenged to share one with someone else so they too could make their homemade loaf. This was not the first time someone had shared their “starter” with me. It was actually fun to take it and finish the process of making a loaf.

This process had me thinking about what it means to be a “starter” in life. Many of us start things. We’re great at getting people together to form the team but the team is only as successful as when they move forward on the plans that they came together for in the first place.

I remember my son saying to me one day, “Mom you’re great at starting things, but when are you going to finish something?” At the time his words stung me like a mosquito bite! Rather than getting uptight, I stopped and thought carefully about his words. He was seeing a behavior that I needed to address.

Starters are great at pulling ideas together and people to help carry the ideas forward. But the true version of success is when you’re able to keep that same energy and actually finish. It is an endeavor that cannot be done alone. We need each other. We need a community to carry forward the plans and ideas. Oftentimes I’ve had to speak to myself, pray, journal and bounce ideas off others to not quit. It’s easier to quit than it is to finish, and I want to be a finisher.

The Apostle Paul in what would be a farewell letter to his mentee Timothy, gave him a list of things to keep in his mind as he carries out his ministry. Paul is not shy in telling Timothy that the mandate he was given to preach the gospel is not easy. It has come with adversity and testing. However, he has pressed through. He has not quit. He states he has “fought a good fight”. He has fought through depression, discouragement and even disillusionment when times were tough.

Can you relate to what Paul has experienced? I get the feeling many of us have had to decide many times whether to give up, throw in the towel and like the referee in a boxing match, start the countdown to declare our most formidable opponent (Satan) the winner. Are we going to give up or are we going to get up from where we left off and keep moving?

Jesus Christ told us that here on this Earth, we will have troubles and hard times. He didn’t stop there though and leave us without hope! Regarding the troubles of the world, Jesus said in John 16:33 (NLT), “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Reading those promises from God, let’s remind ourselves that we’ve been declared the winner in the fight of this life because Christ has overcome any and every challenge we will ever face. As my son challenged me, I challenge you to not quit. Fight to the finish line because you only get awarded the prize when you finish what you started. But don’t worry, God will be with you all the way!

Let’s Pray: God our Father, we thank you for reminding us through Your Son (Jesus Christ) that greater is He that is within us than he (Satan) that is in the world. Remind us that this Bible truth means we have your power, your presence and everything we need in Jesus to overcome the troubles of the world. Help us to get up and keep moving forward despite the challenges we face. We love You and thank You for this reminder today in Jesus’s wonderful name we pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Believe for It” by CeCe Winans. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Patricia is a worship leader, songwriter, speaker and compiler of her 2020 best-seller anthology Stronger Resilience: Stories to Empower the Mind, Body and Spirit, as well as Lord, I Trust You: Words of Encouragement, to encourage readers and share life lessons during her cancer journey. 

Patricia writes, speaks, and teaches on the power of God’s Word to heal and empower you to become all that you are purposed for. She has travelled internationally and shared her gifts with audiences to encourage, empower and share life lessons through word and song. Patricia has sung on national television broadcasts and shared the stage with several respected speakers including Anne Graham Lotz and Rev. E.V. Hill.

Her greatest joy is being married to her husband, Wayne, for 33 years. Together, they serve the community through their local congregation in various capacities. They have two adult children, Raquel and Benjamin. As a two-time breast cancer overcomer, Patricia coaches others to develop resilience and live life to their fullest.

Patricia has released two gospel music recordings: “Draw Me Nearer” and “Lord, I Trust You”. In March 2022, she launched her podcast “Becoming Resilient” which can be downloaded wherever you get your podcasts and watched on YouTube.

When not reading or studying, Patricia loves to eat Thai food and spend time with “Lucy”—her daughter’s Yorkie-poo who has taken up room in her heart.

Connect with Patricia:

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