4:7 AGAIN

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV)

Today I continue my series of running devotions for My TEA CUPP for Athletes & Runners Book & Journal. I pray these will be a blessing to you and you will be encouraged to PRESS ON!

Has God put a dream and passion in your heart? Is there something you really feel called to do or achieve that can bring Him glory? I had a dream like that. When I was 18, God gave me the dream to run a marathon, but then life happened and I forgot that dream for a time. But God didn’t forget, He let me live out the dream over 34 years later!

I ran my first marathon with God’s help in Bozeman, Montana last fall. My goal was to run it in 4 hours.  After 8 miles my legs were hurting, at 18 miles I was ready to stop, but I pressed on. At 22 miles some fellow hollered that I could break 4 hours if I kept going, so I kept going, but crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 7 minutes. 

I was so thankful to Jesus to be done, thankful to be close to 4 hours, yet a bit disappointed to not have made my goal.  But later, when sharing a meal with my family, I asked my college son Kevin to look up the reference for “I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith.”  He found it in his smartphone BIBLE.  The verse comes from 2 Timothy 4:7, 4:7 just like my time, 4 hours and 7 minutes. It was then I knew that God had His hand in the entire race, I was in His will.  

My times are in Your hand… Psalm 31:15 (NKJV)

A week after my marathon, I visited my daughter in Wisconsin and heard the joyful news that she was expecting again. After two miscarriages, this was a miracle from God. We prayed for my daughter and her baby all winter and made plans to visit as her due date of March 31st approached. We arrived on March 22, ready to help in any way we could. March 31 came and went with no baby. A week later, we were still waiting for Baby Robin to arrive.

In the wee hours of April 7th, my daughter went into labor. Around breakfast time, she and her husband headed to the hospital. I thought this baby would surely be here by lunchtime. With big sister Kennedy off to her appointment with her Nana, I headed out for a run. As I was running, this verse from Second Timothy came into my head. I realized that the date was April 7, 4/7. I also realized what the verse said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” And as I was running I screamed out to God, “No! My daughter’s race is not over! Help her deliver this baby! Bring them both home healthy and strong!”

Dinnertime arrived and there was still no baby. Baby Robin was just too big at 10 pounds, 15 ounces. The doctors decided to do a C-section and finally Baby Robin was born. My daughter finished the race of delivering her baby. Praise God!

I’ve often thought that running is much easier than delivering a baby. If I wanted to, I could stop running at any time (though I rarely do that, but it’s nice to know I have that option). But when you go into labor to deliver a baby, there is no stopping or turning back. This baby is on the way!

Today’s TEA CUPP: Praise Jesus for babies! Praise Jesus for being our strength for running races and delivering babies! Praise Jesus for His Word, as in 2 Timothy 4:7, that encourages us to finish the race, keeping our faith in Him. Keep fighting the good fight, dear runners. Read your Bible, say your prayers, and run your workouts. Keep the faith!

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
Psalm 139:13-14 (NKJV)

Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:16 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

A Robin in Spring

…Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)

Robins are often the first sign of spring. On April. 7, 2020 at 7:37 p.m.,  Robin Hemingway came into the world, making us delighted grandparents once again.  Robin joins his big sister Kennedy who is just turning four-years-old and battling T-cell lymphoma cancer.  After two miscarriages and Kennedy’s cancer, winter is finally over, spring has arrived.  Joy has finally come in the morning to our daughter Kallie and her husband Reed.  Praise Jesus!

Many may not know how Robin got his name.  Last September when 3-year-old Kennedy found out she was going to be a big sister, she announced, “The baby’s name is Robin.”  They didn’t even know if this baby would be a boy or girl, but Kennedy insisted the name was Robin.  By Christmas, Kennedy’s parents knew they had a boy on the way, and decided his name would be Rory.  But Kennedy and her preschool friends were all still planning to call him Robin. When Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer on February 1, Kennedy’s Daddy decided she should have naming privileges for the new baby.  So Kennedy got her wish and the baby’s name became Robin!  

And Robin is the best name for this baby born in spring who is bringing joy to so many. Already his sweet cries are like a song bird, filling their home with music. And like Robin Hood of old, he has come to restore the joy that was stolen by the false king. Robin is hope and promise wrapped in a baby blanket.  Isn’t that how God sent the Savior to Bethlehem? As I hold this sweet bundle, I keep humming the words from the hymn, He Lives…

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy He gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days, because He lives (Ackley, 1933)
 
 

The line “uncertain days” is so true for our world today, as many are sick or quarantined from coronavirus, without jobs, wondering when life will return to “normal.”  But just as this baby Robin, and every baby born gives us hope for all humanity, Jesus gives us hope, because He conquered sin, death, and the devil, and rose in victory on Easter.  Jesus was born out of the the grave on Easter morning, so that we also can be born again to eternal life through Him. Because of Jesus, we can face tomorrow. 

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives (Ackley, 1933)

Easter always follows Good Friday, joy follows weeping,  dawn follows the night, and spring always follows winter, so we rejoice this day! A Robin, often the first sign of spring, has come as a promise to this precious family.  Summer is on the way.

So today I give you photos and Bible verses to bless your day!  

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God. Psalm 84:3 (NKJV)

There is a son born to Naomi… Ruth 4:17 (NKJV)

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 (NJKV)

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 1 Samuel 1:27 (NKJV)

And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Luke 1:14 (NKJV)

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified[ you
Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40 (NKJV)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3 (NKJV)

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 (NKJV)

But You are He who took Me out of the womb;
You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.
I was cast upon You from birth.
From My mother’s womb
You have been My God. Psalm 22:9-10 (NKJV)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)

While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease. Genesis 8:22 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Every time you see a robin this spring, remember this special baby and the gift of eternal life God has given you. Rejoice, oh friends, the long night is over!  Jesus has won the victory!

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers!  I pray you are blessed by these devotions.  Thank you also for praying for our granddaughter Kennedy. She still has two years of chemo before her and needs prayers for eating more and walking again.  God’s blessings, Jennifer Grace

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.