03 The three looks

Encouragement for difficult days:
THE THREE LOOKS

“6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
2 Tim 4:6-8 (KJV)

Remember the last words of some well known people through history:
Napoleon: “France – Army-head of army!”
John Wilkes Booth (who shot president Lincoln): “Useless – useless.”
Lord Nelson: “Than God, I have done my duty.”

The final words of people are normally very important. Jesus gave us the great commission right before going back to heaven. The apostle Paul wrote to his very dear friend and spiritual son, Timothy, just before he was about to get executed, and the words are found in 1. Tim. 4:6-8. Here we find an example that is good to follow in times of trouble.

First, Paul LOOKS AROUND and bears witness that he’s ready. He does not say that his life is taken from him, but that he’s giving his life as a sacrifice to the Lord. Jesus gave His life for him at the cross, now Paul is laying down his life as a gift of love to his Master. Most things can be seen as positive or negative. It’s the old “Is your cup half empty or half full?” all over again. Also note that Paul avoids the word “death” which is, for many, a negative word. He is merely “departing” this world and entering heaven, a much better place to be.

Secondly, Paul LOOKS BACK, summing up his life as he has “fought a good fight, finished my course, kept the faith.” It’s hard for many to look back upon past sins, mistakes and defeats, but most Christians can see a red thread in their lives when looking back upon it. Even if the sins are many, it’s good to know that it’s all covered by the blood of Jesus. We all have a course to finish, although our courses are all different from each other. Truly blessed are those who can say with Paul I have fought a good fight. I am a victor in Christ, not a victim.

Thirdly, Paul LOOKS AHEAD towards that “crown of righteousness” that’s waiting for him. Some people are afraid to look forward when their lives are about to come to a close. Paul did not fear his future, nor should we who believe and trust in Christ. Hebrews 9:27 says “ And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” It is true that there is a judgment for all, but believers will be judged at the judgmentseat of Christ to get their rewards, not at the great white throne judgment. As Christians we can look forward to spending eternity with Jesus. What could possibly be greater

Let us now remember to do like Paul did, look around us and see God there, look back on what He’s done, and look ahead to what He has in store for us. There should be many reasons to feel good when we concentrate on God and his providing for us.

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